Mapping a Wicked Problem — Anthropogenic Climate Change in Ireland

I am an MA student on the UX & IxD programme at Technological University Dublin, now in my final semester. I’ve decided to use this space to post the progress of my research project. Feel free to join along!

I recently discovered and have been inspired by Transition Design, an emerging design approach that seeks to develop a comprehensive understanding of “wicked problems” with the aim of identifying and designing interventions that can mobilise transitions toward sustainable futures. I am using this approach to develop an intervention that will aim to help city dwellers overcome societal inertia in relation to anthropogenic climate change and ultimately lead to more resilient urban futures.

The Anthropocene — the proposed current geological epoch, recognises humanity as the primary force of environmental and atmospheric change. Climate change is a symptom of the anthropogenic impact on the environment and can be described as a “wicked problem”; meaning it is a complex, interdependent problem that has no quick fix.

The failure to address anthropogenic climate change at an individual, institutional and international level has had, and will continue to have serious impacts for the health of all living systems. In order to identify the underlying causes of this societal inertia I developed a problem map with the help of online resources from the Transition Design community. Root causes, secondary root causes, consequences and interconnections between these along with existing projects and comments were mapped with the intention to locate the most effective area to intervene. (This exercise is ideally created by various stakeholders, however due to COVID restrictions I relied on my own knowledge and secondary resources. It is still a work in progress.)

Download the high-res and interactive problem map here.

Social Issues
Economic Issues
Political Issues
Environmental Issues
Technological Issues

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed. Any feedback or suggestions about what might be missing from the map so far would be most appreciated.

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