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Gabriel Harp

Bangalore, India

Design Ecologist

Member since May 22, 2007

  • on being a design biologist

    Communication, Industrial Design

    If biology seeks to answer the question, "what characteristics of living things?", then design biology tries to understand how the processes and artifacts of living systems help define design opportunities for humans and other systems.

    I've adapted this definition based on how Elizabeth Tunstall defines what it means to be a design anthropologist. However, whereas the anthropological approach is (perhaps) more concerned with meaning, I think the design biologist is at least as concerned with function. The reason for this is that there has to be a certain level of integration for living systems to continue to cooperate, behave, or evolve dynamically. Therefore, if we are designing a product, understanding what the consequences of the product's lifecycle are for humans and other living organisms is crucial if they are going to sustainable.

    Any thoughts on integrating the discipline of design and biology (sans the so-called "intelligent design" propositions)?

  • Network_177_

    I'm relatively new to this network and not yet familiar with all of the customs. Perhaps this is why I'm finding many of the categorizations that structure the site somewhat troublesome. For example, on my profile I'm asked to rate my interest in various "design" disciplines (fashion design, communication design, industrial design, and audio/visual). Call me crazy, but I think there is possibly a conflict here with the underlying intent of the site.

    I certainly recognize that the predominant modes of design training rests in these disciplines. However, it stands to reason that many designers aren't trained to be designers in these traditions. Take this and compound it with the notion that design is a cross-cutting process that, for instance, might be better described in terms of, oh let's say, teaching and learning design, empathy design, sustainable design, scalable design, systems design, and/or behavioral design. I suppose I'm more interested in the conversations that can happen when we approach problems from a perspective of common ground rather than the traditions that have brought us here. Is there a way to move beyond these industry-centered skills categorizations into skills and methods that can bring us closer to the social themes we are here to affect.

    Semantics is everything.

  • Public Health, Complex Systems, and Design

    Community, Industrial Design

    On May 30th - June 1st I had the opportunity to attend a symposium that linked together the concerns of public health professionals and those who study and model complex systems. The symposium was hosted by the <a href="">Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health </a>and the <a href="">Center for the Study of Complex Systems</a> here at the University of Michigan. The meeting brought together a very diverse groups of individuals. This provided me the opportunity to have substantive discussions with a range of individuals working in public health policy and implementation. <a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href=""><img style="float:right; margin:0 0 10px 10px;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 220px;" src="" border="0" alt="" /></a>These interactions helped me gain a recognition for the scale (and complexity) that individuals and organizations face when attempting to solve problems on local and global scales. Among my many encounters, I was able to converse and share ideas with a Professor from Brown University that studies nursing home policy, a graduate student from John Hopkins that ...

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design