At UIC, I teach a course called, Design and Governmentality. The purpose of the course is to introduce art and design students to transdisciplinary knowledge between design and political science, particularly how Policy is Designed as framed by the work of political scientists, Anne Schneider and Laura Ingram.
For their final projects, the students decided to produce policy proposals, as opposed to information campaigns as they assumed. Policy experts, designers, and peers evaluated the students’ policy proposals based on their clarity in conveying the problem and solution, feasibility, and overall performance. The students brought their designerly approach to the assignment. They diagrammed their problem and solution to edit down to the most important elements of their policies. They applied their information design skills to create compelling policy presentations that enabled both lay person and expert to contribution to discussion.
The value of teaching designers about the context of Policy as Designed is that they gain the knowledge to understand how policy is created, its social contexts, and issues. Through this knowledge, designers are better able to aid in the Design of policies to address the inequities embedded in policy formation and implementation. They will also be able to design policy artifacts, communications, and experiences that compel, include, and enable lay citizens to Design policy themselves.
Their solutions were innovative because they pushed themselves really hard to think outside the general policy box of instruments. Being artists and designers, they were not hampered by the toolkit of policy instruments. Most importantly for me is that the student's developed the confidence to contribute to policy formation as citizens.
Below is the summary of the student's policy and solution. Their presentation documents are available on my blog
Group 1: Policies to Support Self-Governance
01_Daniel Diprizio Keep the Air Free
Problem: Government imposition of standards for controlling youth access to the Internet.
Solution: Enable parents to establish own enforceable standards and penalize parents, though family community service activities, whose children violate those standards.
02_Leilah Rampa Find Your Way Act
Problem: Transit navigation systems does not take into account the variability of people's information needs.
Solution: Develop Chicago Public Navigation Institute to fund and support neighborhood research and development to improve transit navigation information systems.
03_Jonathan Sangster Free Speech Zone Abolition Act
Problem: State and local interference with Protest Free Speech through zoning, permits, and laws.
Solution: Establishment of consistent Federal guidelines for protest free speech, removal of laws and permits used to curtail free speech, and creation of special Protest Police Force trained in handling protests and protecting protester rights.
Group 2: Policies for Children's Wellness
04_Chris Kalis Building by Design
Problem: Lack of funding for Chicago Public Schools to improve the library learning environment for students.
Solution: Create a "Extreme Makeover" public show that allows designers and architects to compete for the best makeover designs of public schools in collaboration with businesses, students, parents, school boards, and communities.
05_Sara Bassick Talk to Your Daughters
Problem: Possible implementation of mandatory Gardasil vaccination for girls will not reduce controversy or communicate to girls in appropriate manner.
Solution: Develop information policy that locates and times the information about the vaccine in both the school as part of sex education/health education and the doctors office to provide differentiated experience for girls.
Group 3: Policies to Support Diversity and Inclusion
06_Dan Elliott Bring Back the Beat Cop
Problem: Racial profiling injustly punishes people of color and leads to lack of trust between police and communities without necessarily reducing crime.
Solution: Ban racial profiling, old and outdated laws that policy can use to pull people over, and community digital survellience cameras. Replace them with beat cops by offering training and incentives for policy to move into high crime neighborhoods.
07_Grav Weldon Operation Transformation
Problem: Eliminate in both adults and children the mass psyche of prejudice and promote cultural and racial tolerance and justice.
Solution: For adults, develop a large scale tolerance information/propaganda campaign. For children, Federalize the schools and the equalize the apportioning of funds per student, increase busing to achieve diversity metrics, have school uniforms and cultures of exhange, and set up intercultural arts programs.
08_Gretchen Schulfer Immigration Piggy Bank
Problem: US Immigration and Citizenship Services are increasing the naturalization fees for immigrants by 66% to $480, creating a barrier for immigrants to lawfully gain citizenship.
Solution: Audit the USICS to find inefficiencies, have AIGA and UPA develop design standards to reduce errors, and establish micro-lending Immigration Piggy Bank to allow people to sponsor immigrant fees.
Group 4: Policies for Building Community
09_Dave Pabellon Now You See Me, Now You Don't
Problem: There are block zones which consistently are not counted in the US Census, leading to lack of trust and lack of knowledge about how Census benefits local community members.
Solution: Develop locality based visualizations of Census data that is accessible to citizens and is sent in a mailing to each citizen.
10_Michael Ruberto Growing Money on Trees
Problem: There is a lack of research and information about the effectiveness of complementary currencies for building up small local economies.
Solution: Develop research on the effectiveness of curriences as well as develop information campaign standards to communicate value of money, complementary curriences, and its local value.
11_Jessica Schnepf Get In, Get Out
Problem: Current City of Chicago Homeless efforts does not focus on providing everyday services to the homeless on a voluntary basis.
Solution: Support the establishment of systems for local volunteers to provide educational and health services to the homeless on a daily basis through the coordination of efforts.