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Making Policy Public

An initiative using strong communication design to to make information on policy truly public: accessible, meaningful and shared.

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We all know public policy is devised for us as citizens – yet often it fails to make sense to the very people it seeks to serve. The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) facilitates collaborations between policy experts and design professionals to produce foldout posters that make complex policy issues more appealing to understand. Making Policy Public aims to make information on policy truly public: accessible, meaningful and shared. At the same time they want to create opportunities for designers to engage social issues without sacrificing experimentation and for advocacy organizations to reach their constituencies better through design.

One campaign, relevant to our current exploration, served arrested youth, another by Candy Chang reached out to street vendors and included information about their rights, avoid fines and make an honest living "Our work grows from a belief that the power of imagination is central to the practice of democracy, and that the work of governing must engage the dreams and visions of citizens." – CUP.

How might strong communication design be used to help inform detainees, their friends, families and supporters about laws, rights and processes in a way which is meaningful and accessible?

[Originally posted during the OpenIDEO i20 Challenge]


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This makes me ask: can pure imagery be used to convey key concepts - in order to overcome literacy and language barriers? There is huge precedence for this. For example, I think of the Teotihuacan culture in Mexico (before the Aztecs). In their city-state they had people from so many different cultures, they had to figure out how to convey important laws and practices just through the use of imagery. They accepted this challenge, I believe, in part because they valued diversity.

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Interesting insight, Steve. I certainly think that imagery can be used in context of challenged literacy. I've noted a number initiatives leveraging this kind of thing when I've been involved in development work in India. In fact we use visual material a lot when conducting ethnographic studies as we tend to get much richer results than just asking questions verbally or in writing.

Great to you have you commenting on challenge posts. Hopefully you might even find the time to add a Concept of your own. Would be great to have you join us as a ideator!

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