For the last semester of my Master's Degree, I was given the opportunity to develop my own authoral design project, and I sure as hell took it. Having been raised in a small suburban community, I've always been inspired by how empowering technology has been for designers working from outside major metropolitan areas, but intrigued by how little that evolution has impacted these areas' economic fabric. It seemed unlikely to me that, as small as a town of 50.000 people could be, it would do just fine without a single design studio. So I hit the road, hoping to find the designers living, working and studying there.
For three months, I crossed the country, asking designers, teachers and students what motivated them not to move away from these smaller cities, and how they managed to sustain a design activity within these small, and frequently very fragile economies. Along the way, I've helped shape a community around it, and discussion on the topic eventually blossomed: the project was picked up by major portuguese design blogs, and I've had the chance to lecture on the subject on several occasions. Efforts to produce new knowledge on the subject are continuously being carried away by other students and volunteers.