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Scope of Design

Scope of Design

(Thursday December 13, 2018)
scope of design anant national university

It is estimated that India will require about 62,000 designers by 2020 to solve the various socio-economic and ergonomic problems it faces today. However, as of 2016, there were only 7,000 qualified designers and 5,000 design students in the country. Thus, there is an immense shortage of designers in the country.

By the rule of economics, if the demand for a certain service is high but its supply is low, the market will sell the service at a higher price. In layman terms, the significant shortage of trained designers in our country means that it is highly likely in the coming years that design graduates will earn far more than an average Indian B.Com. or B.A. or even B.Tech. graduate. Time will eventually prove designing to be the next big thing.

What makes this estimate even more plausible is the factual knowledge of designers being innovative, creative individuals who are driven by a desire to create new products and experiences and solve existing problems. Anant National University believes that designers have the ability to work across sectors, and develop sustainable solutions for some of the most critical problems of today. When trained in foundational competencies such as empathy, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and personal leadership, designers can use their power of design thinking to shape the future of our world.

For instance, IDEO, a design and consulting firm in California, and the original proponent of Design Thinking, builds products, services, systems and digital experiences based on the values of design thinking. Be it the first manufacturable mouse for Apple or the first notebook-style computer for GRiD Systems that eventually gave rise to the field of interaction design, their innovations have inspired commercial entities and institutions globally.

In another example closer to home, Kiran Bir Sethi is a designer turned education reformer. She founded the Riverside School in Ahmedabad with an alternative model based on design thinking that enables dynamic teaching and transformative learning. The curriculum gets revised every year based on the feedback received by students and teachers. Riverside’s model of putting “common sense into common practice” is now endorsed by premier institutes in India and the world, including IIM, NID, (Stanford), Harvard Graduate School of Education and Multiple Intelligences Institute.

Design in India has matured over the years and is exponentially booming. Based on a study by the British Council, the potential market for design in India is expected to be INR 188.32 billion (GBP 1.43 billion) by 2020. Only a fifth of the design market is currently tapped.

Considering all the opportunities that can come a designer’s way if she/he chooses to explore and experiment with a burning zeal, the scope of Design education in India is limitless.

Urban planning crisis in India

(Wednesday February 14, 2018)

Recent years have seen a spate of urban disasters in India, leading to a severe urban planning crisis. Cyclones, heavy rains and unseasonal floods wrecking large scale damage to cities, hazardous pollution levels choking them up, and potholed roads resulting in accidents and death of citizens.  

These urban disasters did not take shape overnight, and are the culmination of years of negligence, public and private indifference and large-scale corruption. Across the country, all major cities have fared very poorly in basic parameters like air quality, roads and public transport, sewage segregation and disposal, and women and child safety. Studies conducted by various organizations have revealed that urban development in India lacks proper planning and vision.

Had there been proper sewage systems in place, the ghastly repercussions of floods in Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai could have been avoided.  Several lives could have been saved and property worth millions preserved. Floods are a common phenomenon in other Asian/Western countries as well but their effective municipal governance minimizes the adversary impact.   

Due to the problem of bad roads in most cities of India, deaths by potholes have become a common occurrence. Every year, municipal corporations spend millions on repairing roads before monsoons but all that money goes down the drain. Shoddy repair work and use of sub-standard material result in the potholes reappearing as soon as they are fixed. Vehicle owners, especially of two-wheelers, have a hard time navigating these potholes and often end up paying for it with their lives.

The issue of mounting garbage is another addition to this list. With no proper garbage disposal system in place, the easiest way out is to dump all the waste on the roads. Our cities have turned into huge dumping grounds. Waste separation, which should ideally be done at source (homes/offices), is unheard of and everything is disposed together. Also, open burning of waste releases toxins into the environment, thus aggravating air pollution.

As Indian cities grapple with all these tangible issues, other societal incidents have also raised the same alarming question – how safe are Indian cities? Delhi has attained the dubious distinction of being the rape capital of India with a rape being reported every hour. Women are afraid to step out of their homes and offices not just in Delhi but across the country as the number of rapes, acid attacks, molestation attempts and stalking continue to rise.

The only way out of this urban mess is proper planning, prompt execution on the part of government agencies and whole-hearted support and cooperation from the public.

The first major reform needed now is the adequate representation of public in decision making. Urban areas elected only one-third of the total Parliamentary seats in the 2014 General Election. More representation of citizens is required in public forums to express their grievances to elected representatives. Better public-government interaction is crucial for the successful implementation of such projects.

Urban bodies across the country lack sufficient money, manpower and resources. Most municipal workers work without being paid on time and this greatly affects their productivity and morale. It is only when the needs of workers are fulfilled that they will be able to execute their duties to the best of their abilities. As urban bodies are mostly cash-strapped, state and central governments must step in to help out. Also, designing better systems and processes and leveraging technology to minimize human intervention is a key requirement.

The country’s urban centres are a time bomb, waiting to explode. Statistics have revealed that while there are around 8,000 census towns in the country, only 5,000 town planners attend to their needs. An important step in this direction can be taken at the student level with the future planners and designers being sensitized to the problems of today. Academicians must spearhead the change for better urban planning by teaching sustainable architecture, smart design thinking and holistic urban planning.

Anant National University believes education is a catalyst for change. It is taking positive steps in this direction by educating and nurturing ‘solutionaries’ who understand the challenges urban spaces are facing and can come up with unique and long-lasting solutions.