What is “Pacific Rim”?

Tama Art University (TAU) and Art Center College of Design (ACCD) have cultivated exchanges in design education for more than 28 years, and in 2006, the Pacific Rim joint project was inaugurated. The project requires design students of the two institutions to collaborate on research and practical work related to both global and local themes, such as natural disasters, sustainability and workspace. They explore the theme from the viewpoints of different cultures, customs, languages, and thinking, then propose their responses and solutions as designers. The results of their research are announced in a final presentation, as well as on the Internet.

In 2006, two sessions were held in Japan and the US. The students focused on the theme “How can design respond to natural disasters?” and worked hard on case studies of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake and the massive 1994 earthquake in Los Angeles. At the end of the project, they had not only produced a number of creative responses to disaster relief, but had also deepened their understanding of other cultures.

In 2007, ten students and two part-time professors of ACCD visited Japan from September to December to carry out research with twelve TAU students on a theme related to the concept of sustainable design.

In 2008, the session was held in the US once again. On the theme of "Designing the way we work", thirteen ACCD students and ten TAU students explored various ways of improving our working environment.

The final Japan stage was held in 2009. On the theme of “Designing Sustainable Living”, twenty-four students from both institutions explored how design can inform and enrich all aspects of our daily lives and redefine the human experience.

Finally, the project will come to an end in the fall of 2010 in the US. Students from Japan and the US will tackle the common problem of an aging society, and respond to the needs and desires of an aging generation.

プロジェクトの概要|Project Outline

Aging Desires designing for transition
The Graying of the Baby Boom generation

Fall Semester 2010

This fall, students from Art Center College of Design and TAMA Art University, Tokyo, will explore their Sixth International Studio project to address issues of the Graying of the Baby Boomers, in other words, designing for an aging generation.

Japan & America's populations face similar futures

In the next five years one in every five Americans will be between the ages of 50 and 64. Those numbers will double to more than 71 million in 2030. In Japan, older Japanese now outnumber children for the first time. The number of Japanese over 65 exceeded those under the age of 15 by 50,000, reflecting a low birthrate and increased longevity. There were 19.54 million Japanese over the age of 65, while those under 15 numbered 19.49 million. The two groups make up 15.50 percent and 15.46 percent of the population, respectively. Japan's demographic problem has its roots in decreasing birth rates and longer lifespans. The decreasing birthrate has begun to starve the country for young workers to replace those retiring, while the latter ensure that a growing population of retired citizens will be dependent on a diminishing working population. Although every industrialized country faces this problem, Japan's situation is by far the worst, not least because Japan has no hope of an influx of youthful immigrants to mitigate the problem. According to Japan's Ministry of Health and Welfare, in less than five years the country's demographic trends will give it a population profile like Florida's. By 2015, one in four Japanese citizens will be 65 or older. In 2010, according to official data, Japan now has fewer than half the workers per retiree it had in 1997, a mere 2.5 people of working age for every pensioner, and since not all of working age choose to work or can find employment, it is likely that in the early 21st century Japan will have fewer than two people at work for every retiree.

In the United States we realize that the graying of the Baby Boom Generation is inevitable. With each new year, the Boomers -- those children of the two decades after World War II -- move closer to retirement age and to a myriad of related health issues from Alzheimer's to healthy eating. We are preparing now by finding resources to cover the story that will dominate much of this new century: the world's aging population. For the next eighteen years, a member of the baby boom generation- the seventy eight million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 will reach the age of 65 every eight seconds. Boomers have been famous for their desire to stay or at least act young. What will their future hold? How can the needs and desires of an active generation, which is now aging, be addressed? What will be the most pressing issues: Healthcare, mobility, nutrition, housing, caregiving?
How will the world support this aging generation?

Project Focus:

Our goal for this Studio Project is to explore design interventions focused on the area of healthy aging. We will be looking for opportunities to make improvements in the quality of life for aging consumers. How can we provide meaning enhancements to the needs and desires of an aging generation? We will examine a wide range of social issues. We will envision solutions for healthy living, both at home and in assisted care living facilities. The teams will be asked to improve the quality of life and design with an eye to the future for the baby boom generation.

参加大学の紹介|Introduction of the Participating Universities