Introduction to Design Equity
Copyright Year: 2018
ISBN 13: 9781946135506
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
Conditions of Use
The book is wide-ranging and comprehensive covering a wide-range of categories of design equity issue areas including health, transportation and information equity challenges, as well as discipline-specific design equity challenges (i.e. within... read more
The book is wide-ranging and comprehensive covering a wide-range of categories of design equity issue areas including health, transportation and information equity challenges, as well as discipline-specific design equity challenges (i.e. within the field of landscape architecture).
As a practicing professional urban planner and urban planning University Instructor, I found the textbook to be very accurate, up-to-date and relevant in explaining to the reader the nature and challenges of overcoming design inequity and achieving equity. The book is unbiased, focusing on real-world factual examples and proposing area's of focus within professional disciplines to hopefully implement design equity in urban communities.
The content is up-to-date and very relevant to the current issues of urban ineguity challenges across America. The book is additionally relevant in that it focuses on real-world past and present challenges in the Minneapolis-St. Paul twin metropolitan areas, of particular societal focus at this time. The text is arranged so that periodic updates and additions should be relatively easy and straightforward to implement.
The book is well-written in lucid, accessible prose. However, some of the paragraphs in the later chapters (i.e., Chapters 7 and 8) that focus on technical issues and explanations are exceedingly long; given that the majority of readers are being exposed to these detailed discipline-related explanations for the first time in an academic setting, I'd recommend breaking-up many of these lengthier paragraphs into shorter paragraph groupings.
The text is effectively consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
The textual structure is definitely well-positioned to be divided as needed into smaller reading sections, both chapter-by-chapter and within each individual chapter. I was very impressed with the author's structure in this sense. Given that there are so many sub-topics under the wider urban umbrella of design equity planning, this book follows both strong "micro and macro" approaches to design equity that would allow useful and effective modularity as needed by an instructor, groups of students or the individual reader.
Perhaps the book's greatest strength is organization. As I mention above, Design Equity is a very multiple-issue area of urbanism and the author does an excellent job of presenting the topics chapter-by chapter (as well as within each chapter) in a very logical, clear fashion.
While the interface overall works very well, there is the occasional line of text within some paragraphs that are visually compressed/narrowed, making it necessary to carefully repeat reading those particular lines of text.
There are no grammatical areas, either regarding general text or particular technical terms that I noticed.
On the contrary, the one of the goals of planning for design equity is to both challenge and overcome systemic insensitivity and lack of inclusion that is at times historically inherent in the urban design equity process. The book is an excellent academic primer for understanding and overcoming these issues to incorporate inclusiveness, equity and diversity in our local community and neighborhood urban design processes.
In sum, I find this book to be a very useful text and information source due to three significant strengths. First, the author's approach of explaining to the reader in the early chapters the general concept of design equity history, challenges and failures both past and present in our cities. Secondly, the book's shifting in the latter chapters into the specific design equity topical issues areas of health, transportation, information and discipline-specific design equity challenges and issues. And third, including at appropriate points in certain chapters relevant past and present design equity real-world examples from both St. Paul and Minneapolis. Also extremely useful is the ability of the reader to directly connect on-line to cited footnote sources via electronic link, a significant advantage to this book being available in the on-line electronic format.
If introductory them maybe it should not be comprehensive. I was not reading for comprehensiveness. When searching for an open text on basic design I discovered this book. I teach a basic product design class. I include Design Thinking as one of... read more
If introductory them maybe it should not be comprehensive. I was not reading for comprehensiveness. When searching for an open text on basic design I discovered this book. I teach a basic product design class. I include Design Thinking as one of the tools I want the students to learn. A good summary with a short video is at https://www.ideou.com/pages/design-thinking.
Dr. Miller’s chapter 7 is, “What is Design Thinking and What does it have to do with Equity?” I read most of Chap. 7 then returned to Chap. 1 then back to finish 7. After 7 is was back to 2 and then 8. I realized my approach to her book was like the Design Thinking process, non-linear. Jean-Luc Godard’s quote, “a story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order.
For my needs comprehensive could be a deterrent for the student. I can use all or part of her explanation of Design Thinking as it refers to equity. Her arguments for equity in design remind me we are flawed humans. We can have good intentions but not know enough about our clients needs even when we try.
The contents page worked both on-line and in PDF. I am of an age which I will always appreciate an index. Searching a document is just not the same if you cannot remember the precise words for which to search.
Design Equity of cities and public resources is not my area of expertise. It did give my privileged self a good head-slap to think more about how this affects the humble manufactured product which is my area of knowledge. How do I consider equity in all the work I do? If I am using Design Thinking to help with Human-Centered Design then how do I know I actually understand a client who is different from myself?
The author has made me think more about how to work with clients for product design. My hope with such a text book is that an annual check of links will be made. A great way to take advantage of being on-line rather than just in print. As I write this review, African American hair is in the news both for a short film Oscar nomination and because a high school student is being told to cut his dreadlocks. This subject is going to remain relevant for many years if not the rest of our history.
I appreciate that this text is short and to the point. Introductory really means, “introductory”. Junior and senior high school students as well as college students will be able to understand and absorb the author’s statements.
All the sections feel consistent with the same voice.
I am grateful I do not have to start at the beginning to fully understand a later chapters. I can appreciate the author had a reason for the order of the chapters. But the reader does not have to follow that order.
I would like a concluding, summarizing final chapter. Give me some ideas to work on next.
Check your links every ?? months. This is new ground for keeping and open source, on-line text current. A link with a log-on feel like phishing. At least one link on page 47 about strategic design thinking at UMN.edu leads to the message, “Warning: Potential Security Risk Ahead”. Has anyone made an link checker app for documents?
Both on-line and downloaded PDF versions worked well . I am not a fan of the left/right justification on the PDF. it creates some very oddly spaced lines with wide word spacing. I prefer left justification and ragged right.
I could not find any grammatical errors. ( I feel sure someone will find error with my review.)
The focus is on racial equity but I feel any group can be substituted; gender, ability/disability, age. It is introductory not comprehensive.
A good way to start to work on equity.
“Introduction to Design Equity” covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately, but relies on footnotes instead of an index and/or glossary. As a 61-page book, this is acceptable. The footnotes include sources, as well as suggested... read more
“Introduction to Design Equity” covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately, but relies on footnotes instead of an index and/or glossary. As a 61-page book, this is acceptable. The footnotes include sources, as well as suggested readings. A resource section is also included in the Introduction. This is helpful, but an index combining all that information at the end, along with the footnotes, would be more valuable, because it would be easier to access and use as a reference.
The information is up-to-date and appears error-free. The content deals with equity and racism in a realistic, yet sensitive manner by using examples that help readers discuss the issues while keeping the overall impact in mind.
The content is up-to-date. Information that may become obsolete has been referenced in the footnotes by identifying the sources and their corresponding websites so the reader may easily acquire the most recent data.
The text is well written and easy to access. Any jargon or technical terminology has adequate context.
The text is consistent in terms of terminology and framework. This is especially important when discussing the Design Thinking process and what it has to do with Equity, as well as delineating the discipline-specific professional design processes.
I am pleased with the modularity shown by this text. For my beginning Design Thinking class, which brings together students from multiple disciplines, I can start with Chapter 7 to help introduce a strong example of Design Thinking and highlight what it has to do with equity. I can follow it with Chapter 8 to discuss the discipline-specific design processes. Then, I can go back to the early chapters to discuss the history of Design Equity and Racism with project examples. Ultimately, the students will work collaboratively on projects that will be inspired by the middle chapters, discussing Health Equity, Transportation Equity, or Information Equity.
This text is developed for an Environmental Design Equity class. My class is a multi-disciplinary Graphic Design Thinking class with students from a variety of fields, including visual communications, sciences, arts, marketing, education, pre-law, psychology, and architecture. While this text is presented in a logical fashion for Environmental Design, it is also easy to rearrange. My class will use this for design thinking background information and at least one equity design group project, instead of spending an entire semester studying the issues of environmental equity design.
There were no interface issues or navigation problems with this text. Both the online and printed versions worked perfectly.
I saw no grammatical errors.
I did not find this text culturally insensitive or offensive. It treated the subject matter of racial equity with great sensitivity, as well as helping the reader understand the very important distinction between racial equity and equality.
This book is an excellent introduction to Environmental Design, however it goes further by delving into the design processes of different disciplines, as well as the importance of equity vs. equality. While the author takes a realistic view of the difficulty of talking about racism, she also elevates the readers’ awareness of how politics can affect an idea, a project, a community, and ultimately, people’s lives.
I feel the title could lead to misunderstanding. For example, design is a broad field that encompasses from print media to public spaces to interior design. Perhaps a subtitle to identify the types of design covered would be helpful. Excellent... read more
I feel the title could lead to misunderstanding. For example, design is a broad field that encompasses from print media to public spaces to interior design. Perhaps a subtitle to identify the types of design covered would be helpful.
Excellent job in defining equity and how design fits into that definition. I would also add to my inclusion of comprehensiveness the author’s shared vulnerability.
The points the author makes with regard to personal circumstances and community, specifically health, design choices are insightful. Much of what she writes is very simply interesting and intriguing enough for many different populations.
The text is accurate with reliable sources.
There is a great deal of relevance to growing cities, community administrators, and pre-service designers. I also envision how this would help artists and teachers see others in new ways.
Clarity and vocabulary are at an appropriate college level.
The text is consistent in its voice, content, and flow.
While each chapter has information that is helpful in seeing alternative perspectives in other chapters, each is also independent of the others. Some chapters are cited in others but do not result in dependency.
There are parts of some chapters that identify questions to ask in relationship to videos viewed. It would make more organizational sense to separate that out as, for example, synthesis exercises.
Some of the links provided in the text lead the reader to pages that require logins or passwords. However, others are strong and augment the text excellently.
There is no grammatical issue that interrupts reader flow.
I applaud the author’s use of first person vernacular and the inclusivity of the reader as part of the conversation. This text is an excellent introduction to the intersection of human need and the influence of environmental design. The cultural perspectives that are included in the text, such as even who is involved in the building of spaces, are revealing and insightful. I especially applaud the author for being highly inclusive. While I am sure that there are several populations that could also see themselves in the circumstance described in the book, she specifically identifies Native American issues that can be traced to historical social inequities that extend into today (Ch. 5). Additionally, she asks the reader to look at her/his/their own positionality (Ch. 7). There are significant connections between design issues, cultural dynamics, and social justice issues, which is timely and commendable.
There is much in this text that should be inspirational to art & design instructors. I wish all students graduating into the local society, economy, and government would read this text.
The text addresses a variety of areas of the subject, but would be stronger with more embedded sources from affected communities/populations. There is not a glossary. read more
The text addresses a variety of areas of the subject, but would be stronger with more embedded sources from affected communities/populations. There is not a glossary.
The author does not seem to address low-income white communities. Focusing on racial justice is important, but the omission might alienate some white students/participants who have first-hand, lived experiences growing up in poverty or in areas with poor transportation design, etc. This should be addressed.
The topics are relevant, and it seems updating the text would be fairly easy.
The text seems fairly clear, but there are so many questions in the text. They're not organized well to help the reader stop and consider them; they're inserted in many places without time/space to explore them.
The text is consistent.
There are very few images, and there are large blocks of text with no subheadings.
The sections seem mostly well-organized, but there are two big problems. First, Chapter 2: Learning to Talk About Racism seems directed at the instructor, not the student, while all other chapters seem directed at the student. That chapter doesn't actually contain helpful ways to talk about racism or reflections for students. Instead, it just focuses on the textbooks author's experience as an educator trying to talk about racism. I'm not sure what students are supposed to get out of it. And second, there is no actual end to the book. It trails off at the end of Chapter 8, with no conclusion, over-arching collection of end notes, next steps, call to action, etc. It feels like it's missing at least another chapter, or like the author uploaded the wrong version of the PDF.
Interface works well, although some pictures were obviously low-resolution and look awkward when they are enlarged in the PDF.
The grammar is well-done.
For a text about equity in design, it has too narrow of a focus. Race and ethnicity are important, but the text ignores disability, over-arching class, and size. The author states, "I don't mean to ignore or downplay issues of gender, disability, or age," which is good to acknowledge, but then the text should be titled: Introduction to Racial Design Equity. There might be several sources out there about ADA requirements, but few (if any?) are written from or privilege the perspective of actual disabled people (like me), and few discuss best practices vs. legal minimums. And weight is often overlooked in design, but is an incredibly important discussion when designing things like theaters (seat sizes, proximity).
This is a good start to design equity. However, either the focus needs to be broadened, or the text should be re-titled. The text has way too many rhetorical questions that are not employed strategically to slow down the reader and invite critical consideration. Over all, the text is missing more overt perspectives and references from the populations discussed. Written by a white person (the author self-identifies as white in the opening section), the text needs frequent perspectives from people of color, which are only sometimes included as end-note sources.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: Learning to Talk about Racism
- Chapter 3: Why History Matters to Design Equity
- Chapter 4: Health Equity and the Built Environment
- Chapter 5: Transportation Equity
- Chapter 6: Information Equity
- Chapter 7: What is Design Thinking and What does it have to do with Equity?
- Chapter 8: Discipline-Specific Professional Design Processes and Equity
About the Book
Why do affluent, liberal, and design-rich cities like Minneapolis have some of the biggest racial disparities in the country? How can designers help to create more equitable communities? Introduction to Design Equity, an open access book for students and professionals, maps design processes and products against equity research to highlight the pitfalls and potentials of design as a tool for building social justice.
About the Contributors
Kristine Miller, Ph.D.