Design for Belonging

What does it mean to feel like we belong in the spaces we occupy? This question struck a chord at the Stanford d.School, where educators decided to tackle a robust research project that included observing communities of belonging in expected (e.g. learning environments) and unexpected places (e.g. airports).

They based their final publication—a simple, yet powerful one-page design—off of work that was started by John A. Powell, who believes, “In a legitimate democracy, belonging means that your well-being is considered and your ability to help design and give meaning to its structures and institutions is realized.” The d.School resource highlights the Dimensions of Belonging, alongside Levers of Design, that can be pushed to create vibrant communities in which everyone is seen, heard, and recognized as an active participant in what is being built.

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