Making design responsible for solving global problems

A declaration signed at the World Design Forum defines design as “an agent for sustainable solutions” that facilitates change.

Photo: International Partners of the Summit Meeting Steering Committee / Facebook

declaration outlining design’s responsibility for solving global problems has been adopted at the first World Design Summit in Montreal. A group of international organizations representing designers, architects, and urban planners signed the Montreal Design Declaration last week. According to the document, design should be used to resolve and overcome economic, environmental, and social challenges all around the world.

The World Design Summit positions itself as the first of its kind and was attended by UN agencies and over 600 professional associations, design schools, and stakeholders.

The declaration calls for action in nine areas: design advocacy, development of design metrics, development of design policies, development of design standards, enhancement of design education, responsive design, responsible design, vigilant design, and the recognition of design’s value by all the stakeholders of civil society. 

Photo: International Partners of the Summit Meeting Steering Committee / Facebook

“We have come together to affirm the fundamental role of design in creating and shaping the world around us, now and in the future,” the text of the declaration reads.

Defining design as “an agent for sustainable solutions” that facilitates change, the declaration calls for development of design policies and standards and seeks recognition of design by leaders and decision-makers.

The declaration states that in a world increasingly impacted by machine learning and artificial intelligence, designers must help ensure that the impact of algorithms and technology are ethical and inclusive of social, cultural, and ethnic diversity.

The signees hope to give design an effective, united voice and “inspire designers – too long the servants of producers – to better serve humanity as the ambassadors of the end-users: the citizens of the world.”