RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

Add to my calendar:    Outlook   Google   Hotmail/Outlook.com   iPhone/iPad   iCal (.ics)

Please note that some mobile devices may require third party apps to add appointments to your calendar

363 Elusive landscapes of ‘design’ in the city (2) - Designing urban citizenship
Convenor(s) Gabriele Schliwa (The University of Manchester, UK)
Robert Cowley (King’s College London, UK)
Chair(s) Gabriele Schliwa (The University of Manchester, UK)
Timetable Friday 31 August 2018, Session 4 (16:50 - 18:30)
Room Glamorgan Building - Committee Room 2
Session abstract Although design was historically associated with the form of industrial and commercial products (and with the professional field of ‘urban design’), processes of ‘design thinking’ and the conceptual language of design have become commonplace in many spheres of practice and governance. In line with Richard Buchanan’s early understanding of design thinking as a ‘new liberal art of technological culture’ (Buchanan 1992), varied design processes are now advocated and applied across fields as diverse as public service delivery, democratic institutional decision-making, corporate management, international disaster relief, and even military operations research. This long-term trend has significant implications for urban space, not only in relation to governance approaches and new types of citizen engagement, but also in, for example, the development of infrastructural innovations, experimental and grassroots initiatives, the implementation of sustainability agendas, and the spread of digital/’smart’ urbanism.

This session aims to critically and constructively engage with emerging modes of governing and reshaping urban space and social relations through the lens of design. The scattered and elusive landscapes of design in the city we seek to explore include:

• Design processes that follow ‘the concept of co-‘ (Bason 2014) such as co-design, co-creation, co-production or collaboration and are often concerned with ‘citizen engagement around urban issues’ (Balestrini et al 2017)
• Design concepts previously used in the digital design sector and/or in the context of business innovation (e.g. service design, experience design, interaction design, interface design, human-centred design)
• Ways of thinking including design thinking and resilience thinking (Cowley 2017) or creative thinking
• Shifting identities, often from private towards public subjectivities, e.g. consumer to citizen, user to participant or claims about ‘citizen-centric’ goals (Cardullo and Kitchin 2017)
• Workshops, events or projects such as e.g. innovation labs, living laboratories (Evans and Karvonen 2014), civic hackathons or jams in support of smart or sustainable city agendas
• Cybernetic urbanism and aspects of environmental control (Gabrys 2014, Halpern 2015, Krivý 2016, Luque-Ayala and Marvin 2017)

Considering this variety of logics and activities, our session includes position papers as well as short provocations based on related empirical work, personal experience or theoretical considerations.

This is a panel session with discussant - position papers of 10 min. followed by commentary of discussant and wider debate

Linked Sessions Elusive landscapes of ‘design’ in the city (1) - Co-designing the city
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
Unbounded Design: From wicked-problem-solving to uncertainty management
Claudia Mareis (FHNW Academy of Art and Design Basel, Switzerland)
This paper deals with the intricate entanglement of design, problem-solving, future thinking, and policy making that emerged in the two decades after World War II against the backdrop of environmental, societal, and economic issues. It examines how the idea of “design” became a major paradigm for addressing processes of uncertainty and global transformation in various fields and scopes ever since. Pivotal for this development is the concept of ›wicked problems‹, which has strong roots in the discourses of operations research, systems theory, and urban planning of that time (Churchman 1967; Rittel 1972; Rittel/Webber 1973; Simon 1973). The concept aims to describe a particular kind of »complex, intractable, open-ended, unpredictable« problems, and has been by widely applied in many fields referring to problems such as »global warming, drug abuse, child protection or natural disasters« (Alford/Head 2017: 397). In the post-war era, the concept of ›wicked problems‹ was introduced to deal with a specific category of problems in the realm of social policy and system planning that supposedly couldn't be tackled according the criteria of scientific and technical rationality (Rittel/Webber 1973: 160). The main task of planners, managers, politicians, and decision makers was considered the handling of fuzzy, ill-structured problems, for which there were no predetermined standards or empirical data points (Protzen/Harris 2010; Huppatz 2015).
Drawing on ›wicked problems‹ as a basic principle, the field of design was radically redefined since the 1960s as a general problem-solving discipline (Dorst 2006), in the consequence being that the idea of design became more and more detached from the realm of arts, aesthetics, and craftsmanship. Instead it became associated with scientific, technical, organizational, and economical thoughts and procedures. Design was increasingly seen as an anticipatory, participatory, and most of all ›unbounded‹ knowledge culture (in terms of scale and discipline), geared to deal with processes of uncertainty, change, and transformation all sorts of (Asimov 1962, Ackoff 1978). Being a critique of overly rigid systems theory and technological rationality (Schön 1983) at that time, the debates on ›wicked problem‹ touched questions belonging to the fields of logic, ethics, and the philosophy of science, and promoted a critical perspective on knowledge production per se. Over the time the debates around ›wicked problems‹ not only initiated new models of rationality and creative modes of problem-solving (Farell/Hocker 2013), but rather led to a constant and virulent problematization and maintenance of the category of the ›problem‹ itself.

Alford/Head 2017: Alford, John; Head, Brian W.: Wicked and less wicked problems: a typology and a contingency framework. In: Policy and Society, 36:3, 2017, pp. 397–413.
Churchman, C. West: Wicked Problems. Guest Editorial. In: Management Science, Vol. 4, No. 14, 1967, B-141-142.
Asimov 1962: Asimov, Morris: Introduction to Design. Prentice-Hall 1962.
Ackoff 1978: Ackoff, Russell Lincoln: The art of problem solving. Wiley 1978.
Dorst 2006: Dorst, Kees: Design Problems and Design Paradoxes. In: Design Issues. Vol. 22, Nr. 3. 2006, pp. 4–17.
Farell/Hocker 2013: Farrell, Robert; Hooker, Cliff: Design, science and wicked problems. In: Design Studies, 34 (2013), pp. 681–705.
Huppatz 2015: Huppatz, DJ: Revisiting Herbert Simon’s Science of Design. In: Design Issues. Vol. 31, Nr. 2 Spring 2015, pp. 29–40.
Protzen/Harris 2010: Protzen, Jean-Pierre; David J. Harris (eds.): The Universe of Design Horst Rittel's Theories of Design and Planning. Routledge 2010.
Rittel 1972: Rittel, Horst W.J.: Son of Rittelthink. Interview with Horst Rittel by Jean-Pierre Protzen and Donald Grant. In: The DMG 5th Anniversary Report. Occasional Paper, 1, 1972, pp. 5–10.
Rittel/Webber 1973: Rittel, Horst W.J.; Webber, Melvin M.: Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning. In: Policy Sciences. 4, 1973, pp. 155–169.
Schön 1983: Schön, Donald A.: The Reflective Practitioner. How Professionals Think in Action. Basic Books 1983.
Simon 1973: Simon, Herbert: The Structure of Ill Structured Problems. In: Artificial Intelligence 4 (1973), pp. 181-201.
Claiming Citizenship through Narrative Productions: Perou’s Design for the Calais “Jungle” 
Caroline Dionne (Parsons School of Design, New York, USA)
With an average of 17 years spent in a given camp while awaiting relocation, refugee camps and other informal migration settlements can no longer be seen simply as temporary or transitory spaces. While we still tend to perceive such environments in terms of crisis facilities, and apply the military inspired model of emergency aid to the design of their spaces and infrastructures, refugees and migrants are experiencing life from within the camps through a completely different set of temporal and spatial parameters and frames of reference. On a day to day basis, refugee camps dwellers engage in the broad range of activities usually associated with urban life. If refugee camps and informal migrant settlements are indeed built and experienced, from within, as global urban environments, how can we ensure that their inhabitants be granted the kind of citizenship, rights and opportunities to thrive as active participants of a civil society? How can designers, planners, humanitarian and governmental organizations modify their approach to such spaces of displacements? Operating within the context of the “Jungle” of Calais, an informal, fast growing migrant settlement that “officially” existed in the vicinity of the town of Calais (FR) from January 2015 until the end of 2016, a non-profit association of researchers, educators and designers engaged in a series of foundation acts through narrative production. Based on principles of hospitality and conviviality, Perou’s specific approach to citizenship-creation and place-making relied on the production of layers of congruent narratives—journalistic, historical, archival, craft-based, technical, toponomic, individual, and collective. This paper examines how such narrative processes were essential for socio-political empowerment in an attempt to grant Calais’ “Jungle” the status of a genuine global city. The aim is to interrogate the role of design, and designers, in redefining citizenship for an entirely new range of future urban contexts.
The Codification of Design from Cities to Citizenship
Guy Julier (Aalto University, Finland)
During the New Labour government (1997-2010) in the UK, the Urban Renaissance programme opened onto the enthusiastic creation of layers of design guides. These set down various principles for 'best practice' at different scales for the improvement of the public realm. Created by planners, landscape architects, urban designers and community groups, they sought to codify practice and, indeed, urban dispositions into generalisable knowledge. They also worked to effectively assetise design by turning practice into a form of intellectual property.

Since then, design discourse has moved on, in particular with the ascendance of so-called 'social design' in the context of austerity. Here, social design (and design thinking therein) is often engaged in 'plugging the leaks' left by cuts to the welfare state. Again, there is an element of codification going on in the vigorous production of social design toolkits and the like. By contrast with the New Labour period, many of these draw from behaviour change conceptions. As such they may be taken to represent a kind of disciplining of citizenship.

This paper firstly provides an historical overview of this shift in design discourse over 20 years. Second, it reflects on the design guidelines and toolkits in these contexts, speculating on their functions in the wider context of neoliberal demands of the creative and knowledge economy. Third, it accounts for this move of the role of design in spatial agency within the city to an emphasis on individual responsibility of citizenship. Fourth, it considers how the codification of design, either for the city or for new conceptions of citizenship, not only plays a professional role as a device in brokering relationships between stakeholders; it also performs an ideological function in generalising and reinforcing modes of thinking in design itself.
Prediction, prevention and resilience: design methods and local government tactics after 7 years of austerity 
Jocelyn Bailey (University of Brighton, UK)
This paper reflects on the author’s experience working with two local authorities on projects concerned with prediction, prevention and resilience-building as a tactical response to fiscal austerity. It presents design methods in the context of attempts to innovate ways of governing at a local level, and attends to what these practices imply about contemporary political rationality.

Across two projects, co-design, service design and speculative design techniques, and conversational/ engagement methods were used in order to develop approaches to analysing the population and redesigning service delivery that would help each council save money by predicting common problems before they occurred, realigning relations between the council and its population, and encouraging ‘resilience’ in both staff and citizens.

The paper makes use of the idea of political rationality to explore what might be being furthered, enabled or co-produced through design practice, including:
• attention to the individual and the psychological interpretation of public problems
• ‘resilience’ as a design object and the assumption of a state of crisis
• a mentality of investment and futurity – the population as a source of future financial burden, and behaviour change as a route to fiscal salvation
• figuring council employees as part of the problem, the further encroachment of entrepreneurialism within the organisation, and the (apparent) democratisation of creativity through the performance of co-design 
The Political in Design: The Double Limitation of Participation and Expertise
Anke Gruendel (The New School for Social Research, New York, USA)
Introducing co-creative processes into conventional bureaucratic structures, design in public administration can be difficult to define despite its recent rise in importance. In this context, the ideas of co-creation and co-design seem to displace the authority of certain forms of expertise that were central to the development of the large administrative apparatuses of the 20th century. Here, designers start to organize what would otherwise be called democratic processes in which they act as facilitators managing who does and does not get to participate in decision-making. Central to such co-creative processes is a double limitation. Design posits an epistemological limit that echoes concerns of mid 20th century democratic and systems theory about the inability of experts to conclusively know complex problems. This, in turn, places a jurisdictional limit on decision-makers. Precisely because the inability to sufficiently or conclusively know a situation is symmetrical between all interested parties, neither experts alone nor all citizens can make politically binding decisions about a specific problem for a pluralistic community. In other words, design offers neither the authority of expertise nor the absolute demand of participation. Despite the democratic overtones of co-creation, most themes and problematizations of the prominent mid-20th century debates around popular sovereignty are largely absent from design. This raises important questions. Where is the political in design and how can it be understood? What instrumentalities does design introduce and what is displaced in this move? Central to this contribution is an inquiry into the co-constitution of technical and political capacities central to design and the concomitant relationship between knowledge and political action. To make sense of this relationship, it is important to understand public-sector design in its context of emergence within a crisis of liberalism in the 1960s and ‘70s in which complexity increasingly came to be seen as unintended consequences of planning.
Erik Swyngedouw (The University of Manchester, UK)