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Characterizing Risks from a Design Perspective: Exploring Novel Design Approaches to Design for Risks

Principal Investigator:

All people are exposed to a variety of risks in social interaction and the effects of their environment daily, be it risks caused by a crisis of economics, climate, war, racism, or pandemics. People cannot completely escape these risks either, and any action associated with them may be inextricably linked to the emergence of new risks. Despite the extensive work of education and persuasion through scientific facts, as we experienced, for example, in the pandemic, the occurrence and impact of risks cannot be fully “calculated" and assessed by the individual. This opens up a design space that addresses the tension or politics of science and design to capture the difference between the individual perception of risks and the associated challenge of designing “alternatives" based on scientific evidence. Inspired by the Research through Design (RtD) approach, in this thesis methods and processes of RtD will be employed to use design practice as a legitimate method of “design” inquiry. The goal of this work is to illuminate the complexity in the field of risk mediation in science and design, to examine, compare, and critically reflect on existing practice-based and artistic design approaches to derive new design principles and to exemplify these design principles in an artifact for situational risk mediation. The idea is to create opportunities that allow science and design to break new ground and open new perspectives to the public that go beyond a rule-based expectation in design.