Cumulus, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media representing 124 first class institutions from all continents, is making a commitment to building sustainable, human centered, creative societies. The Design Declaration will be signed on March 28th in the same venue where the Kyoto Treaty was signed. This event, we hope, will be an important step towards a new role of design in the transition towards a sustainable society. The Changing the Change design research conference, in July, in Torino, will be a second one. Here below, the declaration that will be singed in Kyoto is reported.
PROPOSING NEW VALUES AND NEW WAYS OF THINKING
All the people of the world now live in global and interdependent systems for living. We continue to enhance the quality of our lives by creating environments, products and services utilizing design. Design is a means of creating social, cultural, industrial and economic values by merging humanities, science, technology and the arts. It is a human-centered process of innovation that contributes to our development by proposing new values, new ways of thinking, of living, and adapting to change.
AN ERA OF HUMAN CENTERED DEVELOPMENT
A paradigm shift from technology driven development to human centered development is under way. The focus is shifting from materialistic and visible values to those, which are mental, intellectual and, possibly, less material. An era of "cultural productivity" has commenced, where the importance attributed to modes of life, values and symbols may be greater than that attributed to physical products. Design thinking stands steadfastly at the centre of this continuum. Simultaneously, this development highlights the importance of cultural traditions and the need to extend and revitalize them.
THE IMPERATIVE FOR DESIGNERS TO ASSUME NEW ROLES
Global development, and an awareness of the growth of related ecological and social problems are posing new demands and offering new opportunities for design, design education and design research. Design is challenged to redefine itself and designers must assume new roles and commit themselves to developing solutions leading to a sustainable future.
SEEKING COLLABORATION IN FORWARDING THE IDEALS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The members of Cumulus, representing a global community of design educators and researchers, undertake the initiative, outlined in "THE KYOTO DESIGN DECLARATION", to commit themselves to the ideals of sustainable development. Furthermore, the members of Cumulus, have agreed to seek collaboration with educational and cultural institutions, companies, governments and government agencies, design and other professional associations and NGOs to promote the ideals of, and share their knowledge about, sustainable development.
THE POWER TO MAKE FUNDAMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS TO OUR WORLD
Human-centered design thinking, when rooted in universal and sustainable principles, has the power to fundamentally improve our world. It can deliver economic, ecological, social and cultural benefits to all people, improve our quality of life, and create optimism about the future and individual and shared happiness.