What is the significance of the brand called Seoul to you?Portland, New York, or Berlin Personally, I have never been to Portland. However, since a few years ago, lifestyles that is known as ‘YOLO life’, and ‘Kinfolk life’ have emerged, and Portland, was mentioned as one of the representative cities. Portland was perceived to be a city that acknowledges open mindsets and lives, as well as one that is filled with a feeling of relaxation while being a little slow, and not a city that is artificially made and attempts are made for improvements and change. Of course, this is the result of successful city branding. This is why I am treasuring the Portland mask that I received as a gift from an acquaintance who recently visited Portland. Another keyword that is currently being mentioned as much as ‘design’ is ‘branding’. Branding is a topic that is widely used and with importance almost at the level that it can be applied from branding products to corporations, and from individuals to cities and countries. This proves that it is not something that simply ends after having experienced and consumed it, but there is a growing interest and understanding about who I am, what I am consuming or experiencing, and for what purpose. Thus, the example of Portland that I just mentioned before is very strong even if it is a small experience. Our experience in recalling a certain image, brand or a representative spot immediately after hearing the name of a certain city like New York, Berlin, Milano, Davos, or London is the result of city branding (whether we are conscious of it or not). Seoul Design International Forum that was held through Zoom on March 31st was both timely and appropriate in that ‘city brand’ was chosen as the design paradigm. In the forum that was held under the theme of ‘Design trend and direction of policy’, ‘Value of Experience Design in City Brand’, in particular, (Speaker: CEO Choi So-hyun of Perception) triggers us to think about what is required for ‘city branding’ while pointing out the context and meaning of city brand to us, in the current times, where there is a deluge of ‘branding’.
The Process and Outcomes of the COVID-19 Design ChallengeInsights and Applications for the Post-Corona Era; The start of a design challenge related to COVID-19 Design has great power. Design has the power to motivate people to do many things, such as taking action, creating products and services that make life simple and rich, and deriving a whole new experience. Designers basically carry out design work assigned to their organizations, but in addition to these daily tasks, they have the power to solve the world's biggest problems. I expressed these ideas in the keynote speech last August at the Design for America Summit, where I urged designers to solve the biggest challenges facing the international community through a bold approach. And it wasn't long before the COVID-19 virus outbreak, which had effects worldwide. I thought that there must be a solution that designers can bring to meet the huge challenge of the Corona crisis. After discussing how we should contribute to this challenge by making a difference together with like-minded people like World Design Organization’s Srini Srinivasan and Rebecca Breuer and Liz Gerber of Design for America, we decided to launch the COVID-19 Design Challenge and bring the designer community together. Our starting point was to reach out to designers in each community and ask them what challenges they might face with COVID-19. Altogether, there were over 180 challenges, and they were recorded on Post-it notes and categorized according to themes. We grouped the related ones together and marked them on the priority grid in order of high impact and urgency, considering whether it is a task we need to address, what impact it will have, and whether it can affect urgency and resolution.
Generative Social Distance Design: The Optimisation of Building Layouts for COVID-19Social Distancing Lab Project I would like to talk about the ‘Social Distance Research Institute’ project, which ended about three months ago. Former Senator Ted. Kennedy said, “What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.” As I worked on a technical research project centered on isolating people during an epidemic, I personally hoped that the shared experience could revitalize the community and rekindle a sense of social cohesion. What is social distancing and how does it affect transmission? The prevailing view of the modern scientific community is that maintaining human-to-human distance is an important factor in reducing the rate of respiratory cross-contamination. The principle of air transmission is that droplets are emitted when people talk to each other or cough, and if people who are within 2 meters of each other inhale it, it is easy to be directly infected with the virus. Therefore, reducing the distance between people increases the risk of infection, and almost all countries have been able to directly reduce the number of deaths by introducing social distancing measures. These statistical data indicate that social distancing measures were effective in reducing the number of confirmed deaths, which is a result showing that social distancing is a key response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the global economy, not just on human life.
Challenges and Tasks of City of SEOULThere are numerous definitions of universal design by experts and scholars. Among the definitions, I think The University of Buffalo defines universal design best: "A design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation.” Universal design is not a result, but rather a process of making. In this context, through various projects, the city of Seoul is implementing universal design that involves the public, solves everyday problems, and ensures that no one is marginalized. Each and All, between individuality and versatility, how can a design for a particular person become a design for all?
Universal Design for Public SpaceKorea's aging population has increased rapidly since 2000, and it is expected to become a full-fledged aged society around 2018. The Third Basic Plan for Aging Society with Low Fertility, announced on October 18, 2015, includes various plans, such as reviewing the age classification for elderly from 65 to 70 years old. This shows that the aging of the population is recognized as a full-fledged social phenomenon, and that policy preparations are in progress. The concept and principle of universal design as a social phenomenon As awareness of our aging society increases, the application of universal design is also increasing. The first attempt at Universal Design was initiated by the Danish Parents' Association for Disabilities, and later emerged in 1970 as Barrier Free Design and Inclusive Design. The term ‘Universal Design’ was first introduced in Korea around 2000. The concept of universal design was defined by Ron Mace, director of the Universal Design Center at the University of North Carolina, as "designing products, spaces, or buildings that are considered for use by as many people as possible." The same concept was called Barrier-Free Design in Japan. Europe uses the terms Inclusive Design and Design for All. Universal design is an environmental safety design that provides a convenient and fair opportunity for anyone, regardless of age, gender, nationality, or disability, and covers a wide range of areas, including education, culture, information and services.
Universal design of Yokohama City Current events in designThe evolution of universal design in Japan Yokohama City is an area with a population of 3.77 million. Its area is about three quarters of Seoul, and it is divided into 18 wards. It started with a population of 500 150 years ago, and after the port was established, the population increased. However, the rapid population increase between 1960 and 1970 caused problems in urban development. Yokohama is currently a city with a significant aging population. Although this is a problem for Japan as a whole, based on the analyzed data, the population growth trend of Yokohama City is expected to peak in 2019. After that, the proportion of the elderly population is expected to continue to increase, and it is expected that one-third of the total population will be elderly by 2030. Looking at the map showing the aging population, it is like looking at the history of how Yokohama's housing development has taken place. The beginning of universal design in Japan was triggered by the Tokyo Olympics 50 years ago. The Tokyo Olympics, held in 1964, introduced the use of pictograms to solve the problem of communicating with foreigners. In 1965, Braille blocks were introduced, and actual installation began in 1967. In 1969, awareness of the need to make the city accessible to wheelchairs increased. Braille blocks were first introduced in the provincial cities to the western part of japan, which is also the case with barrier-free access in Japan, which started in provincial cities rather than the capital.
A Call For OptimismWhat Design Can Do Approximately 10 years ago, Denmark designers organized the design group What Design Can Do. It is a design studio that leads and forms various initiatives. Moreover, it has developed into an international organization with principal offices in six countries at present. Focusing on establishing international design community, What Design Can Do plays an active part in providing solutions for significant issues in today’s society. As we all know, the climate crisis is the most significant assignment for humanity in this era. What Design Can Do focuses on climate issues to consider deeply how design can fulfill social responsibilities and contribute to society.
From Ideas to Implementation, Transforming Limits into Opportunities in DesignAn inclusive city through practical design solutions With plummeting global population, we are heading toward an era where people establish their own worldviews. Wouldn’t we be able to embrace the city we are living in today a little more if we realize our ideas into practice and talk about the warmth of the world? Let’s talk about the seven key words of love, memory, enjoyment, respect, imagination, value, and nature.
The Necessity of Introducing Pedestrian Application for the Visually Impaired to Build a Smart City Based on Universal DesignAccessibility means that disabled and non-disabled people can use all services and products equally, and it can be said that it is in line with universal design that pursues design for everyone. So, how can people with disabilities communicate externally? They are being helped by various assistive technologies. Assistive technology refers to all products, equipment, software, or systems that help individuals with disabilities to achieve their full potential. As the concept of assistive technology becomes universal, the paradigm for disability has changed. As a representative example, screen readers and electronic information terminals are assistive technologies that help visually impaired people to communicate, and include screen readers and electronic information terminals. With technological help, visually impaired people can independently perform various tasks, such as searching the Internet and writing documents. Today, these assistive technologies are being applied in a way that provides convenient services to anyone rather than being a technology only for the disabled. For example, audiobooks, which existed in the past as a service to help visually impaired people in reading, are now becoming universal as a technology for everyone, as it has become one of the types of reading that non-disabled people can choose according to their needs.
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Accessibility Information Map for the Mobility Disadvantaged PersonsCities comprise artificial or non-artificial combinations of countless roads (lines), facilities (points), and spaces (planes). Living in such cities, we find the most efficient and fastest way to reach a facility or space. When driving a car, we use a navigation device that informs us of the optimal or shortest route considering real-time traffic volume information and road types (narrow and curved or wide and straight roads). When walking, we can use pedestrian guides on commercial maps such as NAVER Map, Kakao Map and Google Map. When using pedestrian guides, people often prefer the fastest and shortest route, even if there are steep slopes or height differences caused by stairs. If there is no difficulty in walking, slopes and surface materials that may cause inconvenience are obstacles that can be overcome.
Mini studios for meditation at the center of busy city; Calm City & BEtime in New YorkEveryone wants to live well, mentally, and emotionally, and build and maintain healthy relationships with families and other people in life. Also, people value intangible achievements in life and strive to live a better life each one desires. Unlike in the past when people wanted to have more material wealth, indicators for “living well” have changed, so people in modern society started to recognize the importance of balancing material wealth and emotional wealth, which increases attention on how to live well and plan well for the end of life. In addition, the world’s population is aging quickly and causes various social problems including a change in the demographic structure, family breakdown, increase in single-person household, etc. and new controversies arise, which is shedding a light on not only living well but also dying well, a concept around better quality of death at the final moments of life. In Korea, the concept of dying-well or well-dying was discussed as part of living well which was one of 30 major programs proposed for the study to establish a Basic Plan of Social Problem-Solving Design of Seoul Metropolitan City (2021-2023). The proposal established a master plan of key projects about developing a probe-kit that would facilitate reflection on past moments in life and digital content and improving citizens' mental health, and Seoul City is working with various institutions to promote “dying well” in the society to help citizens prepare for a meaningful end of life.