This course will explore the relationships between people and socio-technical systems with respect to the future of living and working in cities.

Specific topics may include: emerging innovation spaces and user-driven innovation; privacy and surveillance; collaborative, open source and sharing economies; distributed and networked forms of organizing; citizenship, the role of the public and public space; social innovation and sustainability. 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.

Learning Objectives
Students will become familiar with key theories from communications, science and technology studies and design in order to develop a nuanced understanding of the relationships between people, technologies and places. Emphasis is placed on applying user research methods (ethnographic observation, qualitative interviewing, data analysis) in order to reframe issues, define design guidelines and create artifacts, probes, scenarios and prototypes.

Learning Outcomes

  • Become familiar with theories from communications, science, and technology studies
  • Develop a sophisticated, critical perspective on the relationships between people, technologies and places
  • Use ethnographic observation, qualitative interviewing, with secondary research and data analysis
  • Gain experience with methodologies such as inventive methods, critical making, design fiction, critical and speculative design along with guidelines for the creation of artifacts, probes, scenarios and prototypes.