Two contrasting issues dominate today's global community: the preservation of individual identities, and the physical limitations of the planet that advocate a consensus of values. It is proposed that an expanded concept of desing could facilitate a balance between the needs of various actors (individuals, organisations, communities) and a Humane Village (personal, social, environmental, ecological considerations).
The work begins by analysing the potential role of design through a discussion around the Domains of Design Leadership. A Humane Village is developed as the future context, transcending the realisation of a Global Village enhanced by progressive technologies and world-wide markets, to consider the future potential of new relationships that result. This discussion proposes four areas in which design can have a tangible influence, using theories from different disciplines to support their development.
The core of the paper presents a metaphor for an expanded design concept in the Japanese word hashi, consisting of three main characteristics facilitating an holistic design approach: the interval within a complexity of indivisible relationships, the activities of problem recognition, definition and resolution, and the outcome as a manifestation of the process relative to the context.
Using criteria defined in the Humane Village and the metaphor, the design process was examined in three current examples. Positive and negative consistencies identified in this inductive analysis were applied to a framework for directing efforts towards facilitating design-as-hashi. Findings indicate the current organisational structures, processes and communications must be adjusted to accommodate a reorietation towards relationships.
Conclusions propose that a focus on the many relationships considered in an holistic approach to design will provide the possibility for the ideal by encouraging interdisciplinary dialogue, the potential for infinite questions, and the necessary scope from which solutions are possible.