Design Studio for Community Solutions

The Design Studio for Community Solutions (DSCS) is a new initiative of Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions that partners with local stakeholders to devise practical solutions to complex issues. Drawing upon ASU and community resources – and bringing research, student engagement and leadership to bear – DSCS (pronounced “discus”) serves as a vehicle to stimulate and activate co-generated solutions in our communities.

The Concept

One Square Mile Initiative

The initial flagship project of the Design Studio for Community Solutions is The Maryvale One Square Mile Initiative. This project asks, and will answer, "what if social services, community development and leadership strategies were working off the same game plan? What might a Comprehensive Community Change Initiative in Maryvale look like?"

Read more about The Maryvale One Square Mile Initiative

The Design Studio for Community Solutions (DSCS) is a new initiative of Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions that partners with local stakeholders to devise practical solutions to complex issues. DSCS serves as a vehicle to stimulate and activate co-generated solutions in our communities.

DSCS believes communities thrive when solutions to their challenges are generated from the ground up; that by working together, encouraging and augmenting local efforts and resources, we can produce lasting change.

We aim to engage ASU academic units and students and connect them to support civic leaders at all levels, including municipal and service organizations, community-based agencies and local coalitions. Understanding that neither problems nor their solutions follow jurisdictions or boundaries, DSCS offers a space where collaborators can develop and test transdisciplinary, creative solutions for specific community challenges.

When we say design, we mean...

  • DSCS operates with the following aspirations:
  • Amplify community voice
  • Develop enduring solutions
  • Leverage community assets
  • Improve residents’ lives
  • Seek achievable/attainable results

To generate solutions to complex issues, we have to account for the totality of factors that shape neighborhoods and communities. We view people in the context of their relationships with family, community services and their environment, and use that ecological model to better understand their experiences.

Community members don’t look at problems in silos and neither should we.

When we say studio, we mean...

We match ASU resources with community and business partners to conduct rapid experimentation. We develop, test and refine applied solutions, allowing us to be experimental, push boundaries and be inclusive while we pursue aspirations for stronger, more vibrant communities.

When we say community, we mean...

People with diverse characteristics connected by social, cultural, or other common perspectives.

We believe the informed voice of the community should be central to any effort that is intended to solve communal problems. We believe the best collaborations “move at the speed of trust,” and we are committed to this approach.

When we say solutions, we mean...

Leveraging partnerships within ASU and the community, DSCS co-produces customized answers to local challenges that citizens and stakeholder organizations have prioritized.

Solutions may be micro or macro and involve a wide array of strategies including strategic use of ASU students and programs, community coalition activation, visual mapping tools, research on specific issues, prototypes for physical and digital infrastructure challenges, health and wellbeing practices and more.

“The best collaborations ‘move at the speed of trust.’ ”