This week, we dove headfirst into the first stages of the design process, and began to challenge our assumptions about the problem we are trying to solve. Given that our problem revolves around a specific space in Houston, we began by defining the logistics of the space and doing some basic research about the neighborhoods we were assisting. This research consisted of reading relevant articles, searching census data, and spending time looking at online maps.
We discovered that the our target area is incredibly diverse, and rapidly changing. Many new businesses are being developed, dramatically impacting the character and personality of the area itself. We realized that due to this rapid and dramatic change, our solution would need to be flexible, and work to reflect both the new and the old character of the area. We additionally discovered that the area we are working with is not simply one neighborhood, but a collection of parts from different neighborhoods, each with their own personality and structure. This made our problem space far more intriguing, as we would need to provide a solution that is functional in all neighborhoods, and adapts to each neighborhood’s narrative.
It is realizations like this that are critical to the design process, and why identify is such an important step. Without taking the time to truly understand your problem and what your solution should solve, it is impossible to provide a compelling and effective end result. We look forward to the road ahead of us, and are grateful we took the time to understand the best way to proceed further through the identify step.