Research Mentor(s): Najwat Rehman, Graduate Student
Research Mentor School/College/Department: MDes Integrative Design, Stamps School of Art & Design
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 1 (10am-10:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 17
Known to our scientific community are the inevitable impacts of Climate Change – catastrophic effects on agriculture and food availability, an increase in extreme weather, and a grander spread of deadly diseases and viruses as a result of more humid and hot climates. However, there is a problem with this information: It’s not being communicated to the general public, especially educated, Urban Pakistanis. There is a large gap between research and research communication; thus, the general public – especially young students and adults – are unaware of the upcoming effects of this global change. Khichri aims to bridge that gap, to bring this information to the jury of the common citizen, and to finally create this urge among the younger generation to take control of their own future. This project focuses on Pakistan (specifically the city of Karachi), the fifth-most vulnerable country to long-term anthropogenic effects of climate change and a country unable to address their own climate concerns. We look into the students’ current understandings of climate change by means of interviews and surveys. Using this knowledge, as well as Pakistan’s local and cultural behavior, we will use Speculative Critical Design (SCD), a utilitarian approach to increasing communication. Since SCD has been criticized for being more Western-oriented and insensitive towards local cultures, Khichri ensures that this will not occur, as it will specifically focus on Karachi’s local cultural behavior. Khichri takes an interactive approach to solving this problem by weaving futuristic design and a local designer into a singular website. Students will be able to physically see the various effects of Climate Change on their local environment by manipulating weather variables (temperature, amount of rain, etc) and seeing the respective effects on the availability and quality of their everyday meals. This not only allows students to understand the general effects of climate change, but also within their realm of their own environment. By specifically focusing on Karachi’s local environment, Khichri successfully bridges the gap between research and research communication. The already-known information not only is relayed to the younger generation but also does so in a relatable manner. Khichri takes a leap in the direction of personalizing research communication through proper and reliable means of technological and social design, which will serve as the base of inspiration for other projects to come.