Tom Flanagan, Alexander N. Christakis, and Maria Kakoulaki
Institute for 21st Century Agoras USA | Institute for 21st Century Agoras EUROPE | Institute for 21st Century Agoras EUROPE
Design professionals working on civic design initiatives are aware of the current trend to democratise civic think tanks. These think tanks have been taking form under the name “social labs” (Hassan, 2014), “urban labs” (Scholl et al., 2017), and even “sidewalk labs” as advanced by Google (Mondon, 2015). Without the explicit commitment to an identifiable design process, street-level think tanks risk devolving into familiar planning exercises. There are multiple forces acting to resist initiating, sustaining and expanding design dialogues in the public sphere. Only by recognising these challenges can the governance of representative decision-making be genuinely and effectively enabled with inclusive alternative designs for our decision-makers.
KEYWORDS: planning, design, civic engagement, social learning, dialogic design, cultural acceptability, meta-dialogue for design.