Dan Hill – Dark Matter & Trojan Horses

Special lecture by Helsinki Design Lab’s DAN HILL

Dark Matter & Trojan Horses:
How might we use design strategically, to build better cities — and societies — by redesigning our cultures of decision-making?

Date: Tuesday 27 March
Venue: Prince Philip Theatre, Architecture Building, University of Melbourne

Designer and urbanist, Dan Hill has been leading the way in information and communication technologies since the early 1990s. Throughout a career focused on integrating design, technology, cities and people, Dan has been responsible for shaping many innovative, popular and critically acclaimed products, services and strategies including the iPlayer.

He currently works for Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, in their Strategic Design Unit in Helsinki, exploring how design might enable systemic change throughout society, particularly in the context of governance, cities and sustainability. Prior to Sitra, Dan was an Associate at Arup in Sydney, Web & Broadcast Director for Monocle, Head of Interactive Technology & Design for the BBC, and he also writes for City of Sound & Domus, amongst others.

In this special public lecture, Dan will discuss the work of Sitra’s Strategic Design Unit in Finland, describing this new and potentially valuable design practice through an emerging vocabulary, as well as outlining the role of a sovereign fund as a strategic delivery platform.

Strategic design is focused on the systemic redesign of cultures of decision-making at the individual and institutional levels, and particularly as applied to what we can think of as the primary problems of the 21st century: healthcare, education, climate change and resilience, urbanisation, social mobility and equality, immigration and diversity, democratic representation and so on. It helps government leaders see the “architecture of problems” and uses aspects of design practice to prototype and steward solutions in these areas.

Dan will discuss the Helsinki Design Lab Studio Model and other initiatives including Low2No, a programme designed to help transition cities to a low carbon future by balancing economy, ecology and society through strategic investments and interventions in the built environment (though on the face of it, it looks like a building).
Dan will also discuss Sitra’s recent work regarding street food, which tries to understand the city through the lens of food, which describes the city’s approach to public space, cultural diversity, health, regulation and governance, habits and rituals, logistics and waste, and more. Dan will also talk about Sitra’s work developing platforms for decision-making at the community level – the Brickstarter project.

Formerly based in Sydney as an Associate at Arup, Dan has worked extensively on urban projects both within Australia and internationally, and is well-placed to connect these issues for a Melbourne audience.

VIDEO includes footage from:

“All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (Ep. 2) – Full”,
visual content administered by:
BBC Worldwide


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