Practice Based Research

Design Research for Pest Control
Research + Design
Journal Manuscript
Qualitative Research Methods
Syracuse University MFA in Design + Dr. Isabel Prochner



Interviews (4)

This practice-based research study, focusing on Syracuse, USA, explores how a design intervention can support people living with household pests and help eliminate infestations. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with inhabitants living with infestations, a pest control professional, and public health representatives. The interviews highlighted the need for a systemic approach that goes beyond targeting a single area or sector.

For the Serious Researcher *
Bed bugs, cockroaches, and rodents represent a prevalent and serious public health concern. How can design begin to address this largely unaddressed health concern?

I worked within a larger design team to create four design proposals. The research team developed these proposals, targeting different aspects of pest control. The proposals include systems, UX/UI, and product designs. They were developed independently by a core researcher but in collaboration with all authors.



Primary and secondary research confirmed the need for a systemic approach that would incorporate sweeping intervention that could treat an entire community.


Primary and secondary research confirmed the need for a systemic approach that would incorporate sweeping intervention that could treat an entire community. These would ultimately shape our design interventions.


Prototyping & testing

Creating a system that provides cost-free and effective pest treatments was crucial. Equally important was addressing the socioeconomic factors that contribute to pest prevalence through neighborhood revitalization initiatives.

My design intervention was a community program called The Khepri Pilot Project (named after the Egyptian god). It was a pest control systems model that used strategic community outreach, informed pest monitoring, and support for people living with infestations. The system starts when a single household reports an infestation. A team then notifies neighbors and marks a spatial aura around the infested area. If another pest infestation is found within the marked area, the spatial aura expands. This allows for informed pest monitoring and provides geographic data that can be analyzed to identify additional pest contributors, such as vacant or abandoned structures. These structures would then be targeted for land preservation or building restoration.


Design Output

This project was conducted as a response to a call for papers from the She Ji design research journal, soliciting design projects that looked at the intersection of design and public health.

Unfortunately, the journal ultimately rejected the submission but a full manuscript was created and submitted. We were offered the opportunity to publish in a lower-tier journal. However, it was primarily a pay-to-publish organization, which made it unviable due to the costs involved.



This project encountered the challenges of conducting research without incentives. We contacted over 50 pest professionals and individuals living with infestations, but only 4 people attended the interviews. Despite remaining unpublished, this project exemplifies a highly rigorous form of research, which I consider valuable for its completion.

Read the recent article on Design Led No Code recently published in the Design Management Institute Review.

Article (PDF)
More research
Back to Work