In the 1950 and 1960s, social and behavioral sciences were at the cutting edge of innovation. Scientific techniques and quantitative analyses were being applied to some of the most pressing social problems. The thinking was “If NASA can put men in space, why can’t we use these techniques to solve the problems of housing discrimination and school desegregation?” Despite the investment, effort, and professionalization of these fields, the consensus was that they were failing. Why? In 1973 Horst Rittel, a mathematician and Professor in the Science of Design at UC Berkeley, and his colleague Melvin Weber introduced the
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