Boundaries as Connection Points: Expanding systemic design methodologies through an “elastic toggling” process -126


Haley Fitzpatrick and Tobias Luthe

Artificial boundaries continue to disconnect us from our inner selves, each other, and the broader biosphere we inhabit. One example of this inability to transcend boundaries is highlighted by sustainability science researchers: the conundrum in current transdisciplinary research on the overemphasis of complex problems themselves rather than the collaborative processes needed to address them. Systemic Design (SD) offers promising co-creative methodologies to better design such complex collaboration processes and reimagine boundaries as points of connection rather than separation. However, despite the broad, transdisciplinary focus of SD, there lacks a more expansive integration of diverse methods and practices that stem from different ways of knowing and being. Therefore, this presentation aims to demonstrate how a proposed process of “elastic toggling” between diverse worldviews, methods, practices, and contexts can be operationalized for broadening awareness and participation in sustainability transformations. As part of on-going PhD research in Systems-Oriented Design, initial findings will be presented on how the process is being iterated and applied across three international mountain communities. The process uses different practices and approaches ( including co-creative gigamapping, synthesis maps, social network analysis, adaptive waves framework, land use analysis and immersive place-based experience) in the attempt to weave together design, science and transformative praxis. Throughout the PhD research thus far, this “elastic toggling” process allows for iteration and adjustment between each of these approaches, in both an emergent and structured manner, to adapt to the ever-changing contexts and increasing complexities of engaging in real-world communities. Along these lines, this contribution aims to expand the discussion around SD methodologies by unpacking the boundaries around the usage of primary vs secondary data, different knowledge types, qualitative vs quantitative methods and the co-creative vs individual data collection and analysis processes. The hope is that such critical dialogue around these topics can help mobilize greater synergies across different ways of knowing and being to activate more inclusivity and interconnectedness in collective sustainability transformations.

Keywords: knowledge systems, mountain communities, narrative, complexity, social-ecological systems, immersive experience

Pre-proceedings drafts are available for RSD11 participants to review. The corresponding paper number is at the end of the title. The papers have been peer-reviewed, and the authors have made revisions. Following RSD11, authors will have a final period to revise their work from the feedback received at RSD before the proceedings are formally published.

Posted September 2022 content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20XX). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) Symposium.