6.1.1 Introduction to Topic 4

Course subject(s) 6. Social Design Principles

 Social Design Principles          Icon Topic 4

In Topic 4 you will learn about Social Design Principles (S-principles). The idea is that by applying the Social Design Principles (S-principles) along with the Engineering Design Principles (H-principles) and the Ecological Design Principles (E-principles) you can take the social context into account and move beyond engineering in practicing Building with Nature.

At this stage, you have learned to diagnose when stakeholder engagement is necessary in a complex problem situation (Topic 1), and how to identify and map relevant stakeholders (Topic 2). You are also familiar with the basics of cooperative game theory and its application in analyzing various Building with Nature examples (Topic 3).  Now, you will learn about Social Design Principles  – the principles by which you can craft an engagement process and its substantive content to address the social context.

First, you will learn from experts in transdisciplinary stakeholder engagement and social impact assessment in the following videos:

  • Principles for the process of engagement – a video by Prof. dr. Tally Palmer and Dr. Athina Copteros in which they share insights from South Africa
  • Eight Themes for Assessing Social Impact  – a video by Drs. Abel Knipping in which he draws on an Indonesian example.

Then there is a case study centered on an example from Sierra Leone. The information in the video ‘Small hydropower in Sierra Leone – Feasibility Study. Part 1’ by Drs. Jacobiene Ritsema, a social impact assessment expert, supplies you with information on the starting situation. Another video ‘Small hydropower in Sierra Leone – Feasibility Study. Part 2’ ‘ supplies information on what happened in this situation.

Next, drawing on the earlier videos, Prof. Jill Slinger will expound a set of Social Design Principles (S-principles) for use in Building with Nature design processes.  She includes normative principles, principles for the engagement process and substantive principles.

You will learn to apply the Social Design Principles (S-principles) to material from Tema, Ghana, in Topic 5. Information on  environmental and Building with Nature aspects considered in the recent development of the port of Tema is included in the supplementary readings after the video on the S-principles.

Remember that we do not focus on assessing ALL the potential impacts of the infrastructure on the social system. Nor, do we evaluate ALL the goods and services deriving to humans from the ecosystem. Instead, we focus on learning how to engage with stakeholders and build coalitions so that the infrastructural designs fit more with the character and functioning of the social system.

Enjoy learning about the Social Design Principles!

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Beyond Engineering: Building with Nature by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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