November 14, 2015

by Adria Boynton

Second-year risk and resilience students recently gave their first thesis presentations at the GSD. Their projects explored issues of vulnerability at a range of scales, from the global uses of sea walls to the personal decision-making involved in risk communication.

These presentations were the first of four R&R thesis reviews spread out over the academic year. A new format for the MDes track, this structure will hopefully provide more support to thesis students while also encouraging more involvement from the rest of the GSD community. As one guest critic pointed out, much hinges on how you begin to work on and situate a project.

During these preliminary reviews, thesis was described as being about projection: starting by building an understanding of what something once was, moving on to explore what it is now, and culminating in a proposal for what it could or should be in the future. Some of the questions raised during the presentations are as follows:

How do you define risk and resilience?

What design processes are you cultivating?

Who are the actors involved in your topic?

What constitutes the status quo and how does that change during a disaster?

Who is your audience?

What end products are you working towards?