A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Unboxing empathy: reflecting on architectural design for maternal health

Open Access hybrid publication

Publication Details
Authors: Sandman Helena, Meguid Tarek, Levänen Jarkko
Publisher: Taylor & Francis: STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Titles
Publication year: 2020
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: CoDesign
ISSN: 1571-0882
JUFO-Level of this publication: 2
Open Access: Open Access hybrid publication


Co-design aims to bring designers and end-users together to improve the
quality of design projects. In this paper, we study how the distance
between designers and users can be reduced with an empathic approach
particularly in settings where it is significant. By investigating
various approaches on empathy in design and architecture, we were able
to retrospectively understand different aspects of the design process of
a maternity ward project in which we were involved. Engaging a
theoretical clarification of empathy as a multi-dimensional concept made
it possible to empirically explicate diverse difficulties that
designers face when trying to employ empathy as a guiding philosophy in
their work. As a result, we identified three registers of empathy on a
varying scale of depth that can be integrated in the design process. Our
work shows that various registers of empathy can complement each other
or be utilised in different circumstances where one form might be more
appropriate than another. By presenting these registers, we seek to
unbox the different views on empathy and draw attention to the potential
of empathic engagement when aiming for depth in a project.

Last updated on 2020-10-11 at 08:14