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Ranee Lee, IDSA

Founding Director, DESIGNwith & Professor, OCAD University

Ranee Lee, IDSA

Ranee Lee is an industrial designer and design educator from Toronto, Canada, who is also the Northeast District Chapter Representative for IDSA. As an associate professor in industrial design at OCAD University, she spent her sabbatical this past year exploring various participatory design methodologies. In 2022, Ranee founded DESIGNwith, a design lab in the heart of the city core, a project that has been iterated through her design for social innovation research work.

DESIGNwith, a Social and Environmental Lab



August 23, 2023

2:05 PM - 2:35 PM


This session is about a design lab in Toronto called DESIGNwith that opened June 2022 for social and environmental sustainability. The opportunity to reimagine a retail mall space to serve the community came out of the biggest disruption, a global pandemic. DESIGNwith is a partnership between Canada's largest design school and a commercial real estate corporation and was created out of the work and passion of an industrial designer and professor in design for social change and innovation.

The audience will learn about a unique framework at the juncture of design, corporation, and community for circular design and social innovation. DESIGNwith democratizes the learnings in design in the most accessible space in Canada through participatory design with the community. Using local skills along with our framework is a way for designers to consider what design can do for social and environmental sustainability and how we can move into a shared future with an alternative economy to prosper together. DESIGNwith launched S/MallTalk, a research project partnering with a service design company to investigate what an accessible public space like a mall means to people and the idea of a designed third space for deeper human connection post-pandemic. This design research project will allow us to understand what makes a public space meaningful for people so we can continue to democratize the learnings of design for the community.

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