I took a break from study this Sunday morning, and with my fellow librarian colleagues/ friends did an early morning two and half hour bicycle ride around the connector river way pathways not far from where we live. With my course readings simmering, it really brought home how Singapore is a study in design. For instance, the parkway connectors are designed to entice the user into the natural environment. Shelters with seats, water fountains for display and water aeration in the waterways, toilet facilities, gardens, fitness equipment, a couple of restaurants/cafes adjacent – all along a shared pathway to welcome all users. With low tyres, I was thinking that the thing lacking was a facility for pumping tyres – and yet that was also found freely available within a rental hire bicycle shed halfway along our route. I did not really observe anything that was designed for one purpose but harnessed for another.
This is only one sliver of the importance of ‘design’ in Singapore. The Singapore Government has a keen focus on design thinking, innovation across all sectors within a framework of “awareness, adopt, achieve”. Rereading Buchanan’s (1992) Wicked Problems in Design Thinking, afterwards brought home just how design is so integral to well….everything. Wherever you look, is design thinking in action: signs, things, actions, thoughts. All interconnected.
Buchanan, R. (1992). Wicked Problems in Design Thinking. Design Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Spring, 1992), 5-21. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1511637