Understanding Wicked Problems.

Before coming to the first day of class I had never heard of a wicked problem. It was a completely new term to me and had no idea what to expect in the class. Whenever I read the syllabus and heard of a problem that “has no solution” in really made me wonder. I came into the class and was given an explanation of what these problems are. I came to learn that wicked problems are issues such as world hunger, climate change, deforestation, or any other issue that not just affects the United States or me in Oklahoma, but the world. These problems have a global impact on all ways of life.

Whenever I first came into the class on the first day, I not only was told that I was going to learn about wicked problems, but understand them. Understanding wicked problems is different from just learning about them. Throughout a few weeks I began to understand these problems somatically, intellectually, and emotionally. In this class we have been taught how to meditate and take time out of our days to recenter ourselves and calm down. Meditation not only helps me calm down but opens my mind so that I am more susceptible and understanding of whatever it is that I am learning or being taught. We begin our class with this mindfulness practice and it prepares me mentally and somatically for what we are going to discuss and be shown during the class. Whenever discussing wicked problems, you need to be calm as there are multiple ways and thought on these wicked problems. There are people that do not completely understand wicked problems and others that do not believe in them. I have learned that approaching this topic in a calm and compassionate way is the best way to do it. I personally believe there are a few ways to understand a wicked problem better, one way is to understand through your feelings. Most people have a natural reaction to these problems and that reaction is empathy. Empathy helps us not only feel sadness for the people affected most by these problems, but lets us put ourselves in their shoes. Putting yourself in the shoes of the most affected helps tremendously with the understanding of the wicked problem and its effects. The other way that I find most helpful understanding these issues, is trying to understand them intellectually. By this I don’t mean that I believe that I am smarter than the next average joe, but I take my beliefs and sit them aside while thinking about these issues. A big issue with these problems and the solutions to the problems is that we take our biases and beliefs into these discussions about the issues. Looking at these issues from an intellectual standpoint helps set these hindrances aside and lets the discussion actually be productive. This class has helped me in these ways of coming at these issues from different angles so that I understand the wicked problems better.

Being able to respond to not only the problems with humility and compassion, but to the people you are discussing these issues with is something that I have come to understand from taking this class. Again before this class I had never heard of wicked problems, but after being in it for a couple weeks it has completely changed my perspective on my field of work. I am an Architecture major and always thought that I would become a architect that made a insane skyscraper that defied what people thought was possible. After being in this class it has shifted my thinking about architecture. I now want to approach my field with humility and finding ways to fix these problems. One way is to reduce how much minerals we use. Cement is one of the basic building blocks of architecture, but there is a massive downfall for using cement. Cement can be recycled, but only downcycled. Cement can be recycled but it can only be recycled into a aggregate substance that is only good for things such as pot hole filling. The way that I want to combat this is by making buildings that are easy to take down, able to be expanded upon easily, and I would also like to repurpose buildings. Tearing down buildings is a feat in and of itself, but if we made buildings that were designed to be tore down this would help with quicker demolition times. I also think that we should build buildings that are going to be easily expanded upon. I personally have no clue what technologies people a century from now are going to have or what they are going to need so why should I make a building that is only made for my generation? I think that if we make building that are easy to change the interiors and expand it would help with the problems of dwindling resources. The future architects would not have to take down the building that we occupy today, but instead they could repurpose the interior and build extensions to the building. I believe that this could change architecture to a less selfish field where people want fame and money into something that could revolutionize the way that communities work and operate. Another approach to dwindling natural resources is to not tear down the building that we have already, but to just repurpose them. A old abandoned high school in Tulsa was recently repurposed from its original design as a school, into studio apartments. This saves money on demolition and building an entirely new building. It also helps cut down on the resources that building a building rapidly runs through. These are the ways that I believe that I can approach architecture with humility and compassion as I do not want to focus on building the biggest or most extravagant building anymore, but I want to now build buildings that help cut into the wicked problems that we face right now. This class has helped me take steps towards completing this goal.


About jaxonyeah

I’m Jaxon. Yeah.
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