Disasters are Designed

Disasters are increasingly frequent and harmful because of systemic social forces, unsustainable development, and climate change. Disaster risk, impacts, and recovery should cause less suffering and be more equitable–people who contribute least to disaster risk suffer the most from it. A robust disaster research community has generated decades of critical insights into how disasters come about and unfold. However, there is no specific disaster science on how to systemically and equitably lessen risk, impacts, and recovery, particularly with communities. Emergency management, urban planning, and civil engineering are primary professions for designing disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery solutions but often lack convergence with disaster research, community capacity building, and a culture of intentionally improving how they design solutions for wicked disaster problems.

So Undesign Disasters

DisSci:gn Lab envisions disaster science as a convergent design-based discipline of research and practice focused on making disasters more equitable and less harmful through increasing understanding and transformation of how a more inclusive disaster profession solves wicked disaster problems. DisSci:gn Lab conducts convergence research through systemically-focused, equity-centered, community-driven design and other problem-solving processes to understand and improve how disaster professionals and communities can work together to reduce disaster risk, impacts, and recovery more justly.

Meet DisSci:gn Lab

DisSci:gn Lab is housed in the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington and directed by Dr. Scott Miles. We conduct sponsored scholarly research on disasters, the processes and tools communities and professionals use to solve wicked disaster problems, and how to improve those processes and tools. We provide sliding scale fee-for-service training, facilitation, and coaching for researchers, practitioners, and community groups to do equitable systemic design and inclusive convergence to reduce disaster risk, impacts, and recovery. We advocate for systemic change to make disasters equitable and establishing a disaster science dedicated to this purpose focused on designing solutions and transformations for wicked problems.

Researchers and practitioners sharing collective knowledge in meeting

Get in touch and let's talk about undesigning disasters.


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