TECHNE 14 (2017): Architecture and social innovation
Essays and Viewpoint

American Design Activism

Renata Valente
Dipartimento di Ingegneria civile, Design, Edilizia, Ambiente, Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
TECHNE 14 (2017): Architecture and social innovation

Published 2017-11-27


  • environmental redevelopment,
  • participatory design

How to Cite

Valente, R. (2017). American Design Activism. TECHNE - Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, (14), 147–157.


The paper gives an overview of the evolution of North American design culture centered around the implementation of inclusive processes aimed at overcoming urban, physical and social barriers, and addressing environmental degradation and injustice. Design activism is analyzed in theoretical terms as conceived and taught in the major North American universities and its impact assessed with reference to how its tenets have been applied by designers and large city administrators. Conclusive reflections concern the outcome of these technical expertise and urban area management practices, and include considerations on the role of socially responsible designers.


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