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Pittsburgh, USA

Transgenerational collabor­ation


This 21st-century context demands a systems viewpoint and the discipline of cybernetics, which offers a unifying epistemology and rigour for engaging with the intersection of purposeful living systems and taciturn non-living systems. As designing is an intentional system, cybernetics has much to say about 21st-century design methods, which in turn must influence how designers train and practise. Creating conditions for designing that are participatory and inclusive requires a focus on designing for conversations in order to respond equitably and effectively to global challenges.


Effective action must emerge from framing and argumentation rather than analysis and problem-solving. Problem-finding and problem-definition must arise in conversation with all stakeholders. All must share the intention and hope of dampening harm rather than the illusion of erasing it.


Today’s world demands that designers share an understanding of complex adaptive systems. Their design challenges exist in the nested complexity of systems within systems within systems. We must see today’s world differently —presumptions about knowability and predictability no longer apply. At the same time, the domain of design is no longer that of products and services but of the consequential experiences of living beings embedded in the physical and social environments that sustain them.

#NewMacy collaborators have contributed many papers, presentations, and workshops and organised full tracks for RSD12 and RSD11.

SDA Groups

Colloquies for Transgenerational Collaboration, presented at RSD12-Pittsburgh, are the design outcome of the Carnegie Mellon University project-based special topics seminar Collaborations for Wicked Challenges, which was open to Graduates and Undergrads in Spring 2023 and taught by Paul Pangaro, Visiting Scholar, School of Architecture & School of Design.


Kate Doyle,
Paul Pangaro,

SDA Groups


Wicked challenges of the present day are foremost on our minds, from climate change and population growth, totalitarian regimes and terrorism, economic insecurity and systemic inequities. The challenges are many and recursive: to fathom complicated situations, define scope, evolve our thinking, and build prototypes—all while fending off blocks to progress and discouragement to passion—leading us to question:

How do I see the world? What do I desire? What do I want to change?

Contributions to the topic of transgenerational collaboration explore the fullness of transdisciplinary collaboration could be framed within the following concepts; however, different approaches are welcomed and encouraged.

Talks: Cybernetics

Talks: Cybernetics

Claudia Westermann | Shucen Liu, Larry Richards and Claudia Westermann | Puli Li, Pille Bunnell and Claudia Westermann | Ruoxi Li, Tom Scholte and Claudia Westermann | Annan Zuo and Frederick Steier


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