Valerie Ahyong / Floor Associates / Landscape Architect / Arizona State University, Masters in Landscape Architecture, 2011 / 04.18.18

Where is design going?

Design is always changing and evolving. As our cities, communities, and environments continuously evolve and change, so does design. Design should continue to be at the forefront of any change that occurs, and be done in a methodical process, because change can provide unique design opportunities.

How can design education be more relevant?

Design education can be more relevant by staying up-to-date with current trends – understanding what other design education programs and schools are offering; what design professionals and firms are doing, and are seeking in ideal candidates. Understanding what the idea candidate should be can help influence design education on its program and offerings to help students get to that level. A design education program should be uniquely advantageous, and at the forefront of design education and innovation.

What are the future skillsets designers need to learn now?

Providing opportunities for students to have real world experiences that allow them to attain unique design skillsets and personal growth. Students need hands on experience through good internships and field visits, inter-continental and overseas travel, peer/professional mentoring; they need to understand how design translates from an idea on paper to something constructed and becomes reality. Sometimes these opportunities are so short lived or unattainable by students for various reasons or limitations. Future designers also need to stay up-to-date with design trends; understand fundamental design processes; and be fluent with current design software.

Practical business and communications skills are also important. Every day you are interacting with people to some extent, and its important to have the ability to communicate your design to others and have meaningful discussions. When you enter the workforce you become a part of the business world to some extent – whether you are a sole proprietor, or working for a firm – large or small, fundamental business skills are part of your every day process.

What should a design school do to prepare students for transdisciplinary work?

Collaboration —- Working cohesively together with a team of diverse personalities, experiences, opinions, and skillsets, and the ability to adapt and work with those unique characteristics is critical. Providing opportunities to cross- or interact with other programs internally, or even other schools within the University. And even providing more interaction with professionals from different realms of design.

What should a design school do to forward equity and inclusion?

Find opportunities to be collaborative with and communicate to the surrounding community. Collaboration with schools at different age levels, and engage them with design; coordinate with other organizations and share how design can help impact their projects and/or programs; and communicate with the general public on what is design, and what the design school is doing and offering.

Valerie Ahyong

Floor Associates

Landscape Architect

Arizona State University, Masters in Landscape Architecture, 2011

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