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Schwanbeck to Present Urban Segregation Research at SEGD Conference

Posted Apr. 24, 2013

Andrew Schwanbeck, MFA candidate in the School of Visual Communication Design, will present his thesis research at the Society of Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) annual conference, Above the Fog, in San Francisco on June 6-8. Schwanbeck’s research “explores the value that environmental graphic design elements can create to help promote and improve the perceptions of a neighborhood within a segregated urban landscape.”

Using a case-study project in East Liberty, which is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Scwhwanbeck combined research tactics and design prototypes to produce design elements to improve the experience in East Liberty and reconnect it with the greater Pittsburgh population.

The SEGD annual conference “is the only international design event focused on design for the built environment,” according to the conference website. The conference targets “the global community of designers, industry professionals, educators and design clients who strive to create compelling, emotive and information-rich environments; it is an invaluable source of inspiration, education and networking.”

According to Schwanbeck’s research, “urban segregation occurs when a city’s diversities create perceived barriers around concentrated clusters of social groups. In extreme cases, communities can become shut off from the rest of the city and often fall into a perpetual cycle struggle and degradation.”

Schwanbeck writes that environmental graphic design has the opportunity to use design elements to improve the perception of a divided neighborhood and reconnect it to the greater population, in turn impacting community’s ability to operate both socially and economically.

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