Congresos de la Universitat Politècnica de València, Systems & Design: Beyond Processes and Thinking

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Rural development and sustainable innovation how systemic design approach can contribute to the growth of marginal regions
Miriam Bicocca

Última modificación: 17-07-2016


The objective of the project is to reach sustainable development in rural areas through Design Aapproaches. Sustainable means that matches the three dimensions, people, planet and profit. Sustainable development consists of goals and strategies that together provide alternative tracks to conventional development, offering improved livelihoods to the poor in ways that promote both their empowerment and the conservation or improvement of key natural resources so that the basis of productive activities can be maintained into the future (Lele 1991; Pretty 1998). The topic of rural development is relevant becouse of the quantity  of people, poor or extremely poor, living in rural territories. More than 3 billion people live in rural areas. Design rarely deals with rural development and with the definition of a system that can facilitate the growth and the development of the territory. If it does, it usually focuses on products or services. The most important futures, which globally all rural areas share in common, are remoteness and isolation. Many rural sociologists argue that small structure and cooperation are important strengths that contribute to ethic and social identity. The central role that play territorial context and relationships in the Systemic Design Approach (SDA) makes it a very effective approach to support and encourage rural development in a sustainable way. Applying the SDA, it is possible to manage local resources and local products in a way that allows the economic strengthening of the farmers and communities that live in the territory. The Systemic Design team of the Deparment of Architecture and Design (DAD) of Politecnico di Torino has been engaged for years into the develop of the Systemic Design Approach, that can be summed up by five principles (Bistagnino, 2011):

Output > Input: the output (waste) of a system becomes the input (resource) for another one

Relationships that generate the system, each one contributes to the system

Auto-generation systems sustain themselves by reproducing automatically

Act locally: context is fundamental because it values local resources (humans, cultures and materials) and it helps to modify local problems in new opportunities

Man at the centre of the project: Man is connected to social, cultural and ethic environment

It is essential to start from the current state of the art, that allows to define strengths and weaknesses, before to design the system, made of flows between actors.

Palabras clave

Systemic Design, Rural Development, cooperation

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