In design, applied to any area of human activity, it seems essential to study the underlying patterns of past designs in the particular area.
Which patterns survive the test of time? How do they change over time? Are there "universal" patterns across cultures and situations? How do the patterns change depeding on culture, social context, and - in terms of physical structures - material availability, climate, etc.?
These topics are essential for informed design, whether we modify a resilient pattern or decide to try something new.
Some interesting topics for study:
- Social and cultural change
- Sustainable relationships with ecosystems
- Conflic resolution
- Built structures (use of fire in dwellings, water in public spaces, nomadic structures, public spaces, well functioning communities)