Sustainable Socio-Economic Models

Data as meaning-making practice in ecological futures (ESR9)

Our notions of data are increasingly connected to databases that underlie services and technologies that are in turn often geared toward profit-driven economies with data science.

In my project, I attempt to problematize the notions of data from reductionist approaches to data science and explore how design can help to reconceptualize data from an ecological perspective in food systems.

In the past year, I carried out an initial literature review, developed a theoretical framework, and shaped the main topic and context of this research which is urban and small farming in Amsterdam. The theoretical framework was published as a DRS 2022 conference paper.

I have started fieldwork to apply the theoretical framework in urban agricultural contexts in Amsterdam. To do so, I proposed a study to AMS (Amsterdam Institute of Advanced Metropolitan Solutions) which is one of the DCODE project partner organizations. With its network in Dutch food systems, I conducted some observations and interviews with participants who are plant farmers, processors, chefs, local researchers, and civil servants in Amsterdam.

In my 2nd year, I will focus on analyzing insights for reconceptualizing data and data practices and design participatory workshops to investigate what ecological futures look like if we adopt the new concept of data and data practice to envision new data systems.

  1. To apply the concept to real contexts and demonstrate its implications, I will concentrate on designing workshops with existing design practices and methods such as speculative design, participatory design, systems thinking, and transition design.

  2. To engage participants in workshops, I will keep collaborating with local scientists, public servants, artists and designers, farmers, chefs, and residents in Amsterdam. The workshops will help us to materialize invisible values of reconceptualized data and envision ecological futures through participatory prototyping.

These approaches will allow me to unfold the complex relationships between data, humans and non-humans, and socio-economies further and bring a new way to define data and utilize them for more-than-human and ecological futures.

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