The design of built environments is intimately related to politics. From studio to street and from city districts to natural landscapes design involves political issues. The Interdisciplinary Design Institute of WSU Spokane will discuss this relationship during its annual Research Focus Week Jan. 8 to 11. The week includes a charrette — a 30-hour design competition for students — and its fourth annual design research conference.

The events begin Jan. 8 by immersing students into the interdisciplinary design environment by forming teams of students from a variety of design disciplines to compete in the charrette. The specific challenge will be announced at the kickoff meeting and the final projects will be due 30 hours later. The teams will create posters that address some aspect of design and politics using current world events.
At the end of the challenge, invited speakers and paper presenters attending the conference will pick the top five posters to receive awards. Posters will be pinned up for viewing in the Phase I Classroom Building Gallery at 5 p.m. Jan. 9, and winners will be announced Friday, Jan. 11, at noon with first place garnering a cash award.

“This is an ideal topic for Focus Week because politics infuses all design processes,” said David Wang, professor of architecture at WSU Spokane. “When you put politics in the mix, you can’t help but be interdisciplinary.”

The conference opens Jan. 10 with an interactive platform in which invited speakers, paper presenters representing six countries and a wide range of disciplines exchange ideas on politics and design. Throughout the two-day period, papers will be presented from 13 selected individuals whose topics vary from service design in healthcare to cultural regeneration to globalization.
The conference also includes a session in which dissertation research topics of doctoral students in the design institute’s doctor of design program will be presented, moderated by Leif Ostman from the University of Applied Sciences, Finland. There will be a keynote address on Politics and Design by Kim Dovey, an Australian architectural critic and professor and head of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
The campus community and public are invited to attend his presentation beginning at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 10 on the Riverpoint Campus in the Phase I Classroom Building Auditorium, room 122 at 668 N. Riverpoint Boulevard, Spokane.

Dovey’s address is the first in a series of three lectures that will make up the Design Research Spring Lecture Series. Parking is available at meters or a pass can be purchased through Parking Services in the South Campus Facility at 412 Spokane Falls Boulevard.

The Interdisciplinary Design Institute at WSU Spokane advances knowledge to enhance the quality of people’s lives in the built and natural environment through interdisciplinary instruction, research and community service.
Research and design at the institute focus in particular on people and place, design history and community service learning, with sustainable design being the theme throughout the curriculum. Faculty and students from all design disciplines are brought together for a one-of-a-kind opportunity in higher learning and discovery.
Internationally renowned faculty and students from architecture, interior design and landscape architecture work collaboratively to improve people’s lives through the advancement of design. This distinctive interdisciplinary experience, combined with state-of-the-art facilities located near downtown Spokane, creates an outstanding professional academic and research environment.