Empathic Design: Perspectives on Creating Inclusive Spaces (Paperback)

Empathic Design: Perspectives on Creating Inclusive Spaces By Elgin Cleckley (Editor) Cover Image

Empathic Design: Perspectives on Creating Inclusive Spaces (Paperback)

By Elgin Cleckley (Editor)


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How do you experience a public space? Do you feel safe? Seen? Represented? The response to these questions may differ based on factors including your race, age, ethnicity, or gender identity. In the architecture and design professions, decisions about the articulation of public spaces and who may be honored in them have often been made by white men. How do designers rethink design processes to produce works that hold space for the diversity of people using them?
In Empathic Design, designer and architecture professor Elgin Cleckley brings together leaders and visionary practitioners in architecture, urban design, planning, and design activism to help explore these questions. Cleckley explains that empathic designers need to approach design as iterative, changing, and shifting to say, “we see you”, “we hear you”. Part of an emerging design framework, empathic designers work with and in the communities affected. They acknowledge the full history of a place and approach the lived experience and memories of those in the community with respect.
Early chapters explore broader conceptual approaches, proposing definitions of empathy in the context of design, disrupting colonial narratives, and making space for grief. Other chapters highlight specific design projects, including the Harriet Tubman Memorial in Newark, The Camp Barker Memorial in Washington, D.C.,  the Freedom Center in Oklahoma City, and the Charlottesville Memorial for Peace and Justice.
Empathic Design provides essential approaches and methods from multiple perspectives, meeting the needs of our time and holding space for readers to find themselves. 
Elgin Cleckley is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design at the University of Virginia with an appointment in the School of Education and Human Development and the School of Nursing. He is the Director of Design Justice at UVa’s Equity Center (Democracy Initiative Center for the Redress of Inequity Through Community-Engaged Scholarship), where he leads the school’s NOMA Project Pipeline: Architecture Mentorship Program. He is the principal of _mpathic design, a multi-award-winning pedagogy, initiative, and professional practice.
Product Details ISBN: 9781642832051
ISBN-10: 1642832057
Publisher: Island Press
Publication Date: January 16th, 2024
Pages: 208
Language: English
"In this generous collection of essays, curated by Elgin Cleckley, designers and planners share why and how they make places for multiple voices by engaging in deep listening that recognizes differences in experience of communities across the neighborhood and around the globe. The principle of empathic design draws from place histories to share the diverse ways in which communities are nurtured reminding planners and designers to slow down, engage, and listen if they are to truly serve the people and land to which they are accountable."
— Thaïsa Way, Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University

"Empathic Design is an eye-opening book. It is a clear, concrete exploration of what 'equity and justice,' and 'shared emotion' can mean in the public spaces we build. Professor Cleckley has brought together a group of sophisticated professionals who are actively designing and building places that speak to, and support underserved Black and Native American communities. Training themselves in deeply empathetic approaches to design, they weave stories of hidden histories and living culture into the life of cities."
— Robert Lamb Hart, architect and chairman Emeritus of Hart Howerton. Author of 'A New Look at Humanism: In Architecture, Landscapes, and Urban Design'