skip to Main Content

The Home of Interdisciplinary Design

Focused on providing research, education, and community interaction to advance best practices in human-centered design and to address complex problems facing society.

San Diego And Tijuana Selected As 2024 World Design Capital

San Diego And Tijuana Selected As 2024 World Design Capital

US-Mexico Border Cities Win Historic Designation to Become First Binational Design Capital

SAN DIEGO-TIJUANA - Today the World Design Organization (WDO) announced the San Diego-Tijuana region has been selected as the World Design Capital (WDC) for 2024.

The selection of the San Diego-Tijuana joint bid makes it the first binational World Design Capital in WDO history. While the designation is for both cities as a united region, San Diego is now the first U.S. city ever to receive the WDC designation. Tijuana is the second city in Mexico to hold the title, following Mexico City in 2018.

"We did it!" said Don Norman, founder of UC San Diego’s Design Lab (now retired) and co-founder and Board advisor to the Design Forward Alliance (DFA). "Designers, city officials, and organizations in both the Tijuana and San Diego regions collaborated to make our binational community the World Design Capital for 2024. It shows the power of design as a way of thinking, to address important societal issues, and as a source of innovation for companies, organizations, and educational communities at all levels. We have built a permanent coalition of our communities to address civic and climate challenges, to grow our industrial sectors, and to support a strong culture of cross-border design."

How They Got There: Janet Johnson

Graduate student Janet Johnson is currently working towards her doctorate degree in Computer Science, while also conducting HCI research in the UCSD Design Lab, primarily focusing on XR (extended reality).

So, what is Johnson’s research?  Johnson conducts HCI research, primarily focusing on XR. As Johnson describes it, “XR is an umbrella term for augmented reality, augmented virtuality, mixed reality, and virtual reality.” She says to think of it as a spectrum where one end is the real world alone, the other is complete virtual reality, and everything in between is varying mixes of the two. Johnson’s research primarily focuses on this mixed middle ground. “The majority of my research focuses on how we can use mixed reality or extended reality to help a novice…get help from an expert.” She then poses the example of both surgery and CPR. Johnson’s research explores ways for an expert to provide instructions to the novice as if though they were in the same room. Her goal is to help bridge the distance between novices and experts, both physically and skill wise, while also decreasing the amount of time a person receives aid. “By the time a medical personnel arrives at the scene, it’s already been 7 to 10 minutes, so each minute counts for the person’s life,” she explains. “You don’t have time in that 10 minutes to train the people around to be able to do CPR or any other sort of resuscitation, same with surgery.” 

As Johnson continues to conduct her research in this field, she’s excited for what the future holds for this technology and the ways she can contribute to it.  
Seda Evis

Designer in Residence: Seda Evis

While Seda Evis participates as a Designer-in-Residence at UC San Diego with The Design Lab, and is VP of Strategy & Growth at FreshForm Interactive—an experience design and innovation consultancy—she also claims to have what she refers to as a superpower: her hybrid mind, which she describes as the combination of two worlds: the business side and the design side.

As a Designer-in-Residence at The Design Lab,  Evis enjoys working in an interdisciplinary setting, which she says enhances her existing skillset. “Academia tends to be quite separate from how the practice is done,” she explains. “I find ways of doing interdisciplinary work, as well as cross industry work, very important for innovation because that’s how you actually get seeds from different places.” As of now, most of Evis’s work at The Design Lab has been working with the Community Team on the now winning bid for the World Design Capital 2024 (WDC) designation. Her work dovetails with her role on the Board of  Directors for the Design Forward Alliance–a non-profit organization started by the Lab in partnership with the regional design community and one of the partners co-leading the HOME 2024 WDC efforts alongside the Design Lab, Burnham Center for Community Advancement, the City of San Diego and the City of Tijuana.   The designation puts the San Diego-Tijuana region in a prestigious international cohort recognized for the “effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural and environmental development.”  Even the proposal theme is significant, Evis says. “Home” not only refers to the immense and diverse communities of San Diego and Tijuana that form one, but also serves as an acronym for Human-centered, Open, Multi-disciplinary/Multi-cultural, and Experimental. For Evis, participating in HOME2024 signifies her career “coming full circle.” 
Olga McConnell

Olga McConnell, Project Specialist and Executive Assistant to the Director of The Design Lab

As the Executive Assistant to the Director of The Design Lab, a project manager for the Lab’s special projects and annual events, and a lifelong learner who holds a M.A. in English Linguistics and Translation, and a M.B.A. in Business Administration and Management, Olga McConnell’s zest for knowledge is palpable. She is currently on track to complete a Project Management Certification at UC San Diego Extension at the end of 2021, and she is planning on obtaining her Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification after that. “I’m kind of addicted to getting degrees,” jokes McConnell. “I even thought the other day, maybe I’ll go to law school. And then I was like, no, enough, enough.” 

For nearly five years, McConnell was Executive Assistant to Don Norman, the Founding Director Emeritus of The Design Lab. She is now the Executive Assistant to the new Director of The Design Lab, Mai Thi Nguyen. It is Nguyen’s vision of human-technology-community interactions, along with her JEDI (justice, diversity, equity and inclusion) approach that has McConnell excited about this new chapter in the Lab’s legacy, saying, “I see how great she is as an efficient leader, so I’m really looking forward to working with her, supporting her administratively, as well as taking charge of certain projects that she has in mind.”
Design@Large UCSD Design Lab

Design@Large Winter 2022

Winter Quarter 2022 Design@Large Speaker Series

**Due to UC San Diego's COVID policy, Design@Large on 01/12 and 01/17 will be hosted online. Other events allow UCSD students and employees only to attend the class in person. Non-UCSD affiliates must attend remotely via Zoom. Capacity is limited to first-come first-serve. This is subject to change.

- 1/12, Kilma Lattin (OurWorlds) & Catherine Eng (OurWorlds) & Dominique Rissolo (UC San Diego) & Falko Kuester (UC San Diego)
- 1/19, James Nisbet (UC Irvine) & Hans Baumann (Independent artist)
- 1/26, Judit Hersko (CSU San Marcos, Art) & Peter Franks (UC San Diego SIO) & Jules Jaffe (UC San Diego SIO)
- 2/09, Nydia Pineda (UC San Diego) & Ale de la Puente (Creative Disturbance)
- 2/16, Stephanie Sherman (UC San Diego Visual Arts) & Danielle Dean (UC San Diego Visual Arts)
- 2/23, Kelema Moses (UC San Diego USP) & James Miller (Western Washington University)
- 3/09, Vince Diaz (University of Minnesota/The Native Canoe Program) & Daniel Keefe (University of Minnesota) & Virajita Singh (University of Minnesota)

There will be no Design@Large classes on 02/02 or 03/02.
Back To Top