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Beyond the Umwelt: Bringing Together Communities Through Participatory Design

Biologist Jakob von Uexküll introduced the concept of the “umwelt” in 1909 as a way to capture his observation of the animal kingdom: different species living within the same ecosystem pick up on different environmental signals. The “umwelt” is the small subset of the world that an animal is able to detect. In our splintered, tribalized country, humans are creating their own umwelts. Pomegranate Center sees this firsthand at our office in the Impact Hub co-working space, adjacent to many homeless service providers. In the Pioneer Square neighborhood, professionals come to work every day and never interact with the homeless population outside their office walls.

That’s why we’re excited to take part in this year’s Seattle Design Festival with our workshop “Beyond the Umwelt: Bringing Together Communities Through Participatory Design.” A mix of lecture and hands-on design, we will teach attendees how to engage in a participatory public process and build trust with communities throughout the process. The workshop will focus on the streetscape immediately around Impact Hub’s building and how the streets can build trust and interaction between neighborhood workers and the adjacent homeless community. Attendees should come prepared to put on their design-thinking caps and work in teams.

Impact Hub Seattle is building a diverse network of individuals and organizations committed to solving the world’s social, economic, and ecological crises through their work, investments, and/or volunteer time. As its role in this event, the Hub will activate its network to connect more meaningfully those working on the inside of the picture glass windows with those who stand in crisis on the outside.

Tickets available on July 31st.