"This paper focuses on how designers can contribute to enabling sustainable livelihoods in communities, especially communities of people with physical disabilities. This is a new area of design research and practice. The paper draws on a case study of the role and contribution of designers in one of the most disadvantaged communities in a semi-urban area of Thailand between 2007 and 2010. This was a collaborative project with nineteen community members with physical impairment in the Samutprakran province. This community had a long history of developing crafts for income generation. The aim was to explore and test new approaches that would result in a model leading to alternative livelihoods, including transforming their capabilities and using available resources in their community to achieve positive outcomes. Participatory Action Research (PAR), Human-Centered Design (HCD) and Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) were employed as research strategies and approaches. The project was structured around three workshops targeting three successive stages: 1) recruiting participants for a case study and facilitating the gathering of their own data and doing the necessary analysis; 2) enabling them to create and make their own choices to improve their situation; and 3) monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the implementation. There were four key findings. Firstly, the community participants stated that they had achieved the livelihood goals that they desired. They also devised a complementary income-generating activity which enabled them to continue to improve their capabilities, earn income and reinforce their value in their community, and to reduce their vulnerability. From the researcher's perspective, PAR integrated with HCD and combined with SLA were shown to be effective strategies and approaches because they facilitate the transfer of knowledge to the participants, giving them both incentive and ownership in their ideas and actions, enabling them to create and pursue their own solutions. Finally, this study demonstrated the benefits of reorientation of the designer's role from that of a solution provider to that of an agent of sustainable change."
(Siriporn Peters, 4 May 2011)
2). Siriporn Peters (2011). "Design for enabling sustainable livelihoods in communities", Iridescent: Icograda Journal of Design Research ISSN 1923-5003.