It would probably be fair to argue that as a discipline, geography is under the radar within many realms of design. Whilst geographers are familiar with working alongside architects, planners, policymakers, local stakeholders, to name just few from my own personal experience, the great strengths of geography often remain hidden, or least, undervalued.
Whilst this is due to a series of complex reasons, I would perhaps suggest that this is in part, the way in which geographic research is disseminated. I have become increasingly conscious that there is a need to discuss my developing research amongst a range of professions and disciplines, both to improve the quality of my research, but also to create discussion between different people.
This would most likely be quantified in terms of ‘impact’. I expect that the discipline of geography will increasingly seek to have wider impact in order to sustain itself, or indeed “stay relevant” (a phrase I’m hearing an awful lot of late). I don’t consider this to be a bad thing. I believe that geography and geographers have a whole host of useful ideas, tools and methods which can help explain and critique interactions and social habits within, across and over space and time. It may sound vague, but with the ability to look at a range of scales of human interaction, over and between spaces/places, this ambiguity, represents the possibilities of geography.
Is work and research becoming increasingly collaborative? Multi-disciplinary? Or as was suggested by Prof Alister Scott at the Great Regional Debate 2012 at Millennium Point, trans-disciplinary? I quite like the last suggestion.
Steering this back towards the practice of design, this was put quite nicely by Ian Oas at InformeDesign, created by the University of Minnesota. (http://www.informedesign.org/_news/geog01_07.pdf) The short introduction has got me thinking which is always considered useful. I recommend giving it a quite read.
To be continued… (*dramatic*)