How do you study, understand and design for the future given increasing complexity and socio-technical change? This course will explore the relationships between people and socio-technical systems with respect to emerging topics related to the future of living and working in cities. Specifically, by analyzing social, technological and spatial factors from a critical perspective, designers are better able to appropriately reframe issues, build on existing human-centered design methodologies and develop a variety of responses and interventions. Rather than focusing on designing solutions, this course emphasizes the discovery of language and terminology, the definition of new questions and approaches, and the creation of artifacts, probes, scenarios and prototypes that are important for thinking about emergent, future-oriented areas of design.
This course draws on theories from communications, science and technology studies and design in order to provide frameworks for the design process. For example, the course will rely on theories such as the ritual view of communication, the social construction of technology, actor-network theory, value-sensitive design and feminist technology studies. Specific topics may include: emerging innovation spaces and user-driven innovation; big data, privacy and surveillance; collaborative, peer-to-peer, open source and sharing economies; distributed and networked forms of organizing; identity, gender and diversity; inequality and inclusion; citizenship, the role of the public and public space; social innovation and sustainability.