02.04.14 / 'Design for Change' event review

On Wednesday 12 March WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam presented for AGDA WA at Perth City Farm. The rerun of the WA federal Senate election set for April 5 combined with Scott’s viral YouTube video, which he described to me as a late night brain dump in the Senate chamber, meant the event was well timed and resulted in strong attendance by the Perth design community.

As a former graphic designer, web developer, film-maker and activist, Scott is a unique and inspiring figure in the Federal parliament. I’ve admired Scott’s creative approach to solving social, environmental, economic and political problems for some time. In particular, Scott’s work developing the Bike Blackspot App, a smart phone application that enabled bicyclists to lobby for better bike funding, and The Open Economy Project which visualises Australian government financial data to encourage greater legibility and transparency in government spending. Scott even began his presentation by empahisising that like a graphic designer, his objective in politics is to increase legibility.

Scott’s presentation was focused on his plans for the future design of Perth. This included a comprehensive set of costed plans and initiatives to become a sustainable and connected city. In particular switching to 100% renewable energy by 2029, upgrading public transport infrastructure with light-rail and safe bike lanes, creating Greenways (a protected network of urban forest, bushland, wetlands and parks) and reducing homelessness with affordable housing programs.

Perth City Farm was the perfect location to host the event. Scott used Perth City Farm as a successful working example of sustainable economics. The rattle of trains from the neighboring East Perth train station as Scott discussed public transport infrastructure, was also a highlight.

Day to day work for many graphic designers is often focused on solving micro problems such as pages layouts and the typographic detailings of leading and kerning. So Scott’s impassioned and divergent big idea thinking was well received and a refreshing perspective on how we can design for change on a macro scale.

Thanks to my fellow AGDA WA council volunteers for helping make the night a success.

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Luke Sweet

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