The aim of the inaugural, two-semester Collaborative Design Engineering studio is to apply multi-disciplinary design thinking to a complex system that matters. Opaque, omnipresent, reflexive, essential and ever in flux, the food system is our focus. At the nexus of significant social, economic, health, cultural and planetary issues, the food system presents a variety of real-world problems for which the new discipline of design¬ engineering is especially well suited.
During the first semester, the class analyzed various components that comprise the food system. Outside experts both academics and practitioners, exposed the students to a broad range of processes and infrastructure involved in feeding both local and global populations: agriculture, aquaculture, livestock, etc., processing, packaging, transport, preparation, marketing, consumption, compost and disposal and all of the intermediates. Class topics included:
1. The Science of Food
2. The Harvard University Food System
3. Consumer Food Trends
4. Food Entrepreneurship & Conscious Capitalism
5. Beef: The Rotational Grazing of Cattle and/or Cultured Beef
6. Nutrition, Health, Food Justice and Society
8. Future Trends: Big data, robotics/sensors, bio-mimicry
9. Cultural and Historical Factors
The first semester culminated with group proposals that offered a design response to a macro-challenge within food systems, and translating those responses into coherent and viable project proposals. Projects took a range of forms, such as devices, processes, apps, analytic tools and writings.
During the second semester, teams will implement their proposals in concrete form, with an equal emphasis on creative innovation, technical sophistication, economic feasibility and social utility. Our goal is to create an open studio environment that fosters original and inventive thinking. We see enormous potential for students to develop deep expertise and to produce impactful projects.
Registration is strictly limited to students enrolled in the Masters of Design Engineering program.