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Guest lecture: Ezio Manzini​

What design can do (to collaborate to) to enrich the democratic ecosystems?​

Welcome to a lecture with one of the world´s leading expert on sustainable design, Ezio Manzini, October the 4th at AHO!

About the lecture: 

In the face of a democracy in crisis, in all its forms, and convinced that democracy's core principles are more valid today than ever, the lecture proposes the following question: can design help to update and upgrade the ideas and practices of democracy?

In order to start this discussion, the lecture proposes an overview of the different ways in which design can support democracy (design for, of, in and as democracy). Moving from here, and keeping in account the lessons learnt form the past 15 years of social innovation worldwide, a scenario is proposed. It is the scenario of the project-centred democracy that, in short, can be described in this way:

Imagine democracy as a space that gives people the freedom to meet and collaboratively design their lives and their world. A hybrid, physical and digital space equipped to give these conversations and co-design processes a better chance to get concrete results. 

This project-centred democracy permits a new form of citizens’ participation which enriches the democratic ecosystems with a new component: one which, interacting with representative democracy and the new forms of direct democracy made possible by digital technologies, feeds them with meaningful ideas and offers new arenas for conversations for action.
The lecture outlines how this kind of democracy can regenerate the democracy as a whole and, in this framework, the very special role design expert in promoting and supporting it.


Ezio Manzini is perhaps the world’s leading expert on sustainable design, with a focus on scenario building toward solutions encompassing both environmental and social quality. At the Milan Polytechnic is Director of CIRIS (the Interdepartmental Centre for Research on Innovation for Sustainability), where he focuses on innovative processes in the system of production and consumption and, in particular, on the relationship between product strategies and environmental policies in the perspective of sustainable development.​
For more than two decades he has been working in the field of design for sustainability. Most recently, his interests have focussed on social innovation, considered as a major driver of sustainable changes. In this perspective he started DESIS: an international network of schools of design specifically active in the field of design for social innovation and sustainability (http://www.desisnetwork.org ).
Presently, he is Distinguished Professor on Design for Social Innovation a Elisava-Design School and Engineering, Barcelona; Honorary Professor at the Politecnico di Milano; and Guest Professor at Tongji University (Shanghai) and Jiangnan University (Wuxi).
In addition to his continuous involvement in the design for sustainability arena, he has explored and promoted design potentialities in different fields, such as: Design of Materials, in the 80s; Strategic Design, in the 90s (starting a Master in Strategic Design); Service Design, in the last ten years (starting the specific courses in Service Design).
Most recent books: “Design, When Everybody Designs. An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation”, MIT Press 2015 (translated until now in 7 languages); and Politics of the Everyday. Bloomsbury (February 2019)



Dato: 4 oktober, 2018
Tid: 13:00

Sted: A2 Sverre Fehn auditorium
Adresse: 29 Maridalsveien

Kontakt: Linda Blaasvær