The Just Transitions Initiative (JTI) supports innovation in design and organization towards more just and democratic futures, tackling geopolitics from below. We work towards just transitions by integrating analyses of labor, ecology, and social systems, including racial capitalism and settler colonialisms. We center and strengthen existing social movements. Our approach addresses transition as a social and ecological process, and design as a process that is political in its concern for transforming collective conditions of living. We consider global warming, infrastructure, housing, policing, food, and livelihoods as within our ambit. Transitions in these systems must build from existing situated knowledges and practices to address co-constitutive technical, social, and political dimensions. JTI experiments with new forms of inquiry and intervention, convening and supporting collective projects that can earn trust in a time when many are skeptical of ‘experts.’ Forging new paths for research, JTI operates within and beyond the fields of design, human-computer interaction, urbanism, and architecture. Finally, JTI recognizes that political agency is essential to any strategy of design intervention and seeks ways to repair disenfranchisement. 

JTI brings a demonstrated commitment to JEDI to the Design Lab through projects that already support majority black, brown, indigenous, and working class communities. Public platforms, for example, works with a primarily black and refugee led organization. TRUST Coalition represents 30 community groups oriented toward racial justice, immigrant rights, and civil liberties. We have also organized bilingual academia-community events such as Countertechnologies at the Edgelands (2019).

Our goal is to work towards a world where many worlds can co-exist and thrive. The purpose is not only to support ongoing projects of associated members but also to open avenues of collaboration among faculty, students, and researchers from within and beyond the Design Lab. The JTI provides a welcoming space to seed community-engaged research through events, skill-shares, and workshops.  

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Lilly Irani

| Associate Professor, Communication, Science Studies, Affiliate Computer Science

Irani is an Information Science and Communication scholar trained as an Interaction Designer and Computer Scientist. She sits on the steering committee and ordinance committees of TRUST (Transparent Responsible Use of Surveillance Technology Coalition) and founded worker-advocacy non-profit Turkopticon. She also supports organizers in Tech Workers Coalition. She is the author of Chasing Innovation: Making Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India (2019 Princeton UP) sits on the editorial boards of Public Culture, Design and Culture, and New Work, Technology, and Employment. 

Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió

| Assistant Professor, Urban Studies and Planning

Shvartzberg Carrió is an architect and historian examining technological and decolonial approaches to design. He formerly led the thesis projects for the MSc in Critical, Conceptual, and Curatorial Practices in Architecture at Columbia University, and was Research Director of The Architecture Lobby, a non-profit advocating better labor conditions in the architecture and construction industries.

Matilde Córdoba Azcárate

| Associate Professor, Communication

Córdoba Azcárate is an anthropologist of globalization who focuses on how nature is designed to sustain economic development policies and ideologies. She co-directs the Nature, Space, and Politics research group at UCSD. She is the author of Stuck with Tourism: Space, Power, and Labor in Contemporary Yucatan (2020 UC Press).