Iceland Airwaves 2015 Radio Documentary Preview: Icelandic and American Design Policy

Stay tuned right here for our Iceland Airwaves 2015 final radio documentary, which will air at noon CT on Saturday, January 9th and during our encore presentation on Sunday, January 10th at 7 p.m. CT on WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago (live stream here). In the meantime, check out a teaser from one of the cultural stories the students culled at Airwaves and produced below for the final radio documentary. Check out previews, reviews and more on our Iceland Airwaves 2015 home page.

A community needs infrastructure to function properly. Infrastructure cannot function without design. Without design, your ride home from work could take hours. Many would say that without good design, there would not only be colliding transit lines and confused drivers but poor economic performance, less innovation, environmental issues abandoned, and poor quality of life. Recently, we see organizations, cities, and countries come to realize this. Earlier this year, both the United States and Iceland released official government documents detailing planned policies dedicated to the creation of infrastructure through design. We can even see this similarity locally with the city of Chicago and organizations such as the Chicago Department of Transportation implementing policies of its own to building safe and secure ways of navigating the city. Iceland and Chicago have implemented various design policies to influence their infrastructure with the goals of making residents lives better, govern more efficiently, and foster environmental change.

The Icelandic Government’s Design Policy, which was based on recommendations from a steering group appointed by the Minister of Industries and Innovation in collaboration with the Minister of Education and Science, was released to the public earlier this year. The steering group was made up of graphic designers, architects, and representatives from government officials and design departments. Halla Helgasdottír is the head of the Iceland Design Centre and apart of the steering group. The Iceland Design Centre plays a crucial part of the making of the policy. The aim of the first national design strategy for Iceland hopes to enhance the importance of design in all conception, development, and manufacture of products, with the aim of strengthening Icelandic companies’ competitive position and increasing value creation. Furthermore, through this policy, they urged the government that proper and good design can be used as a driver for the future of the country. Not only is design fundamental but it also results in valued creation, enhanced quality of life, market increase, and sustainability. This policy was unique because it was the first time that an official policy in Iceland was formulated for the field of design specifically, as other neighboring countries like Denmark had already done so.

Here’s a little preview about the story with Halla Helgasdottír. She explains why design should be a part of government.


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