Laurier’s UXD (user experience design) using design to tackle homelessness

Photo of Uptown Waterloo
Photo of Uptown Waterloo
Photo by Sadiya Teeple

An increase in homelessness affects everyone in our community. It has consequences for healthcare accessibility, public security, economic productivity, and tax revenue collection. The predicament of the homeless brings to light the multitude of social and economic problems that contribute to homelessness and poverty. 

Students at Wilfrid Laurier University’s User Experience Design (UXD) program will focus on design as a means to address and ultimately solve systemic issues like homelessness during the academic year 2022-2023. We need to address each and every component of this complex issue if we ever want to see it resolved. 

At its core, the “Design to End Homelessness” idea is concerned with the process of designing products, services, and legislation to guarantee that everyone has a safe place to call home. 

“In January, we will begin the nationwide Design for Change initiative with the goal of ending homelessness as our theme for the year,” said Abby Goodrum, professor and program coordinator of Laurier’s UXD program.  

In order to address these concerns, which affect anybody and everyone, “UX100 is working with the Region of Waterloo to collect information on the number of homeless people living in Canada,” said Goodrum. 

More than 120 students from around 50 Canadian institutions and colleges took part in the Design for Change Challenge that year.  The objective was to stimulate students’ creativity on how to encourage behavioral changes that would have a long-term positive impact on the environment and human well-being.  

The goal of the 2023 round of the Design for Change Challenge is to finally put an end to homelessness and help everyone find permanent, affordable homes. Designing goods, services, and policies to ensure everyone has a place to call home is at the heart of the “Design to End Homelessness” conference. 

You may expect details about the challenge and how to join up for it in January of 2023. 

Following the completion of the challenge around the beginning of January, the nationwide design will be made available to all university students. In addition, following the competition’s formal introduction, students who choose to take part in the competition will get a substantial amount of help. There are two rounds of evaluation by professionals in the fields of housing and security, and the best three proposals are chosen regardless of where in the globe you are. 

This was made possible to support various components of this year’s UXD theme thanks to the generous gift given by Scotiabank. Some of these aspects include the Design for Change competition and community-based internships. 

With an eye toward facilitating UXD graduates’ employment by non-profits, the program shifted its internship emphasis in 2020.  “We also do in the summer for free internships working for non for profit,” said Goodrum. 

This year the Laurier UXD program is looking to put ten students with partner groups this year that are working to alleviate housing instability. 

An essential part of the “Design to End Homelessness” concept is the creation of goods, services, and laws that will ensure that everyone has a secure place to live. Students in Wilfrid Laurier University’s User Experience Design (UXD) department will concentrate on using design to confront and eventually eliminate systemic challenges like homelessness.  

The housing crisis is something that affects us all. In order to provide affordable housing for everybody, immediate action is required, along with coordinated efforts to overcome structural obstacles and develop long-term solutions. 

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