San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
On the Nature of Wicked Problems
It has been 40 years since Berkeley Professors Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber articulated the concept of "wicked problems," problems that are challenging because they are ill-defined, complex and constantly changing. In their seminar article in Policy Sciences, they argued that the profusion of wicked problems throughout social policy domains such as urban design and city planning posed dilemmas for the scientific approach to problem solving, which was developed to deal with "tame" problems.
The notion of wicked problems is still widely embraced by designers and policy makers working on issues ranging from climate change to health care reform. Yet this formulation, rooted in modernism and emphasizing positivist science and technology, has been subsequently challenged by alternative epistemological approaches such as Marxism, feminism and post-structuralism.
The Wicked Problem Symposium will critically interrogate the history and evolution of Rittel and Webber's idea of the "wicked problem," and appraise the utility of wicked problem thinking in the light of contemporary issues of significance to society.
Events will take place Wurster 112, unless otherwise noted.
Artwork courtesy of Patrick Hoesly under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
When & Where
UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design
The COLLEGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN is UC Berkeley's Home for Environmental Design Theory, Research, Innovation and Practice. CED stands among the nation’s top environmental design schools. It is one of the world’s most distinguished laboratories for experimentation, research, and intellectual synergy. The first school to combine the disciplines of architecture, planning, and landscape architecture into a single college, CED led the way toward an integrated approach to analyzing, understanding, and designing our built environment.