Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need
- 2021 PROSE Award Winner, Engineering & Technology Category
An exploration of how design might be led by marginalized communities, dismantle structural inequality, and advance collective liberation and ecological survival.
What is the relationship between design, power, and social justice? “Design justice” is an approach to design that is led by marginalized communities and that aims expilcitly to challenge, rather than reproduce, structural inequalities. It has emerged from a growing community of designers in various fields who work closely with social movements and community-based organizations around the world.
This book explores the theory and practice of design justice, demonstrates how universalist design principles and practices erase certain groups of people—specifically, those who are intersectionally disadvantaged or multiply burdened under the matrix of domination (white supremacist heteropatriarchy, ableism, capitalism, and settler colonialism)—and invites readers to “build a better world, a world where many worlds fit; linked worlds of collective liberation and ecological sustainability.” Along the way, the book documents a multitude of real-world community-led design practices, each grounded in a particular social movement. Design Justice goes beyond recent calls for design for good, user-centered design, and employment diversity in the technology and design professions; it connects design to larger struggles for collective liberation and ecological survival.
The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding from Knowledge Unlatched and the MIT Press Frank Urbanowski Memorial Fund.
Design Justice, written by one of today's most inventive media, communications, and design scholars, is a sustained and brilliant call for a significant reorientation of design, in the belief that in remaking design we are remaking the world.
Arturo Escobar, Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; author of Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds
With intellectual dexterity accented by personal proximity to social movements and discrimination, Sasha Costanza-Chock calls us to see through the mythologies of the current high priests of design that perpetuate oppression. Both visionary and practical, Design Justice is required reading for those ready to move beyond hype and doom discussions and towards creating liberating processes so urgently needed.
Joy Buolamwini, Founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, Poetess of "AI, Ain't I A Woman?"
Visionary and grounded, Design Justice takes us beyond the buzzwords of emerging technologies to engage the people and practices often hidden from view. This book offers essential tools for rethinking and reimagining the social infrastructure of tech design and should be read by everyone committed to building a more just world.
Ruha Benjamin, Princeton University, author of Race after Technology
Books like [Design Justice] offer insight into the history of disability and ideas for building on the ADA's foundation of basic protections to create a more just world for the variety of humans who inhabit it.
Costanza-Chock's book, meanwhile, is part manifesto for a new design framework [...] and part sociological study, an examination of how design thinking plays out in corporate and grassroots settings alike.
Pairing personal experiences and professional expertise, Costanza-Chock has written a unique book that moves the discussion of design and social equity beyond case studies that praise design intervention or fetishize product innovation.
Design and Culture
“Constanza-Chock viscerally articulates the glaring gap between those who design commercial surveillance technology and those on whom it is used.”
Funding provided by: Urbanowski