Mark Simpkins

Design Against Crime

Socially Responsive Design in Mobile Communication Systems
10 minutes, 4.9mb, recorded 2007-02-28
Mark Simpkins

Expensive technological devices can be found just about anywhere today, ranging from the business executive's office to the middle school playground. It is no surprise that gadgets have also become prime targets for thieves operating just about anywhere as well. In this talk presented by Mark Simpkins of the Design Against Crime advisory panel, the idea of socially responsible design in respect to preventing crime, or the market adapting to stay one step ahead of people who would otherwise have easy access to your electronics, is presented as an answer to the negative impact of theft but with aesthetics in mind as well as practicality.

One of the main points that Mark Simpkins makes is that while there are plenty of products on the current market that are meant to prevent the theft of your goods, they don't necessarily take fashionability into account as a key factor. The problem, however, is that if something doesn't look good in today's market the probability of it becoming wildly popular is pretty low. A socially responsive design approach, which is Simpkins' proposed answer, takes looks into account as while as safety and security. If you're looking for a bag to carry by your side, why not buy a bag that looks good as well as being designed to keep your belongings safe?

Mark Simpkins also talks about how the idea of Socially Responsive Design is an idea that can be applied to numerous markets worldwide and doesn't just simply solve the problem of theft. Probably the most obvious example of this today is in reduction of fossil fuel use and global warming. In short, the research center for socially responsive design which Mark Simpkins proposes would take a look at tailoring goods and services to consumers in such a way that it is desirable for them and also beneficial to society as a whole.

Mark Simpkins is a technical consultant for the Design Against Crime initiative, based at Central St Martins College of Art and Design. He has advised them on the use of social software tools in design-led practice in both the collation of evidence as well as integration into actual design solutions. The first project was Bike Off, a site dealing with bike parking facilities, used to collect anecdotal evidence on the quality of facilities for research into bike theft. Based on principals initially developed for, the project is pre-populating a weblog framework with information (in this case photographs of bike parking facilities), and inviting the community to comment upon this information. The results from this site will be fed back into students' design projects, as well as future evolutions of the site.


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