Design Research Collaboration

The Design Research Cluster’s focus is to research through design for the 21st century city. Our research objectives are driven by a transdisciplinary community of academics who believe that engaging in practice is integral to gaining knowledge.

Research excellence is achieved through collaborative design-based research, with the intent of enabling long lasting partnership between industry, practice, research and creativity.

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About Us


'Thinking through making: collaborative design-based research for the 21st century city'

The DO Design Research Collaboration sees design thinking as a mode of knowledge generation that has a key contribution to make to the Faculty, University and wider society.

We exist to strengthen our contribution is in the following areas:

  • Becoming a strong voice in the Faculty of the Built Environment for design research
  • Producing high quality design research outputs in top quality venues – exhibitions and written/illustrated publications
  • Creating a clear nexus between design teaching and design research
  • Providing a platform for informal presentation and discussion of design teaching and project ideas, to support further development into publishable/exhibitable form
  • Enhancing the collaborative and collegial support structure for staff and students undertaking design research in the Faculty. 

Design Research Philosophy

Design thinking is a highly integrative and flexible mode of encountering and shaping the world. The remarkable ideas and artefacts, both tangible and speculative, that designers create have long been recognised as valid material for scholarly research. In recent decades, the unique ability for design activity itself to generate new forms of knowledge has increasingly been appreciated.

Design activity is ideally suited to generating and testing alternatives, and to ‘reframing’ situations rather than necessarily accepting existing definitions of ‘the problem’. Research ‘by’ design can be likened to a series of drawn or modelled experiments. These experiments may range from the highly conceptual to the thoroughly applied. Even though the results may be speculative, they can still allow new understandings of the form and inhabitation of the future city to be gained, compared and critiqued.

The DO Design Research Collaboration assists the Faculty to move in the direction of research through the activity or mode of designing, to complement the existing research methodologies that are already into place for  design history and theory, design education and design practice. This research cluster provides a structure for enhancing the efforts of the many BE staff who research and teach in design, and whose research is highly relevant to industry and to society. 

Page Last Updated: 19 May 2016