Today I visited the Polish Poster Museum. My interview uncovered one key assumption about Design for Democracy like activities: in the US there is an interest and desire of the people to trust government. .
In Poland, the newness of the democratic process and the economic work that needs to happen seems to result in the desire to leave as opposed to making political life better.
This and the reliance on the State to provide makes it difficult to meet Ric Grefe's two factors for successful civic design engagements:
1 Willing and able government partner 2 Designers with the skills and interest to do high quality civic design work.
There are Polish designers doing some competition-based projects for urban furniture and city welcome signs, but it might be a challenge to find partners in the Polish government because they have other priorities.
It confirms my desire to hold a TransAtlantic conference/summit on Design and Governmentality. There seems to be a need to establish a dialogue in this area around:
1 Establishing and managing design councils and centers
2 Establishing and managing design policies 3 Case studies in successful civic design projects 4 Case studies in successful government supported design innovation projects 5 Case studies in grassroots design activism
The questions are when to do it, which European country (I'd prefer somewhere in Central Europe.), and who would sponsor it. But I believe it would be a good idea.