Probing for resilience: Exploring design with empathy in Zanzibar

Helena Sandman, Miia Suomela

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


In the Global South, the fast growth of informal settlements and increasing numbers of disasters and refugees are challenging current architectural practices. Consequently, we argue in this chapter that, to keep pace with such rapid changes and to build sustainable and resilient communities, we need to develop inclusive architectural design processes. The profession could benefit from appropriate and effective design methods for empathic engagement between users and architects. With the help of two examples from our own design processes, we discuss the advantages of utilizing one such method borrowed from the design discipline, design probing. This method invites inhabitants to have an active role in changing their living environment and helps architects to understand the community they are designing for. Taking advantage of this method can be a way to enhance the sustainability and resilience of the built environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnhancing disaster preparedness
Subtitle of host publicationFrom humanitarian architecture to community resilience
EditorsNuno Martins, Mahmood Fayazi, Faten Kikano, Liliane Hobeica
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780128190791
ISBN (Print)9780128190784
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2020
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • Empathic design
  • design probing
  • community engagement
  • architectural design
  • social sustainability
  • urban growth
  • urban sustainability


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