Traditional public hearings are not the best way to get the public involved in new design projects. That's according to Fred Dust with of the design firm IDEO. He will speak at Point Park University today at a lecture sponsored by the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh. Dust says public hearings pit advocacy groups against each other rather than encourage people to work together to find common ground.
Dust says good design requires a deep understanding of people's needs. His firm employs psychologists and anthropologists to help learn what people really want from their buildings and communities. One technique they use is called "empathic design," which helps designers better understand people's feelings in order to better meet their needs. He says it may sound easy, but it can be difficult for people to truly step into someone else's shoes and understand the way they think. His firm also encourages hands-on involvement from the public during the design process.
Dust says this will be his first time in Pittsburgh. He says he doesn't know a lot about design-related challenges here, but is doing a lot of reading and is looking forward to exploring the city.