Design Flourishing: Flourishing with Nature in Emerging Design

My PhD research explores the relationships between flourishing and design and how that can be implemented through the lens of nature, aiming to investigate methods of flourishing with nature towards emerging design practice.

To examine both nature contact and nature connectedness as two aspects of the human- nature experience and how they relate to and promote flourishing, this research builds on the importance of the Designer as mediator, connector and co-creator towards well- being, nourishing, creative alliances and ecologies.

In contrast to a reductionist approach of using nature as a healing medium and reconnecting modern society with their humanity, this research positions Design to identify and explore a new sense of belonging and agency within constant ambiguous and uncertain futures by flourishing with Nature.

Looking at exemplary design practices/projects, literature and contextual review this research investigates theories how designers and creative practices can employ a range of co-led site-specific design methodologies with nature (workshops, interventions, spatial experiments) to build new frameworks of methods and processes through on how to implement flourishing through nature across di?erent contexts in design.

Pointing out the gaps between the ideas of emergence, cross-scale dynamics and whole- system approaches this research has the potential to identify, document and connect the analytical (left side of the brain) with the practical generative side (right side of the brain) prototype design flourishing through nature towards emerging design practice.

This research will also answer how we can develop new tools for design leadership with nature, helping design systems to grow in a new alignment with the wider systems we are part of. At a deeper level, this research is about shifting a mindset of separation and working with, and as part of, nature.

Curent Projects & Activities

Co-Founder UFO (Unidentified Facility Onsite): A Design Collaboratory (Collaborative- Laboratory), distributing new perspectives on future ecologies through design research, publishing and experimental broadcasting. Currently co-writing the “Design Ecologies” AHRC network bid aiming to bring together a group of design experts to engage in design methodologies that expand the understanding of ‘holistic’ design practices.

Co-Founder Design Factory Manchester: The Design Factory is an ambitious design research initiative at the Manchester School of Art addressing societal, business and ecological challenges to maximise innovation in the city.

Co-Founder Department of Wilderness: Part practice, part research, and part soil, the Department of Wilderness investigates the placeness and interdependence of human and non-human stakeholders catalysing wilderness to navigate and resonate with natural ecologies.

Biography

Gunter Wehmeyer is a Netherland based German urbanist, creative entrepreneur and researcher fuelled by design-driven innovation generating creative social and economic opportunities to global urban and societal challenges in the fields of Urbanism, Business and Ecologies. Gunter worked extensively on a variety of international locations (China, HK, UAE, UK), fields and mediums with a strong desire to e?ect, create and impact positive sustainability change for cities, landscapes and economies.

Gunter received his Dipl.Ing. (MA) from the University of Kassel in Landscape Urbanism / Urban Design and a post-graduate Creative Leadership MBA at the THNK School of Creative Leadership Amsterdam.

As practitioner Gunter works with a variety of stakeholders across multiple siloed sectors to deliver both systemic and local change using strategic thinking, collaborative co- creation and design thinking. In recent years, Gunter has worked in corporate, educational and entrepreneurial roles investigating how to apply urbanism to ecosystems, designing and curating incubators/innovation spaces while stretching the use and agency of creative practices to fast-track research across education, society and industry at scale.

Supervisors

Professor Martyn Evans
Professor Martyn Evans Director of Manchester School of Art View profile
Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr
Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr Reader in Architecture View profile