Design Ecology

Keywords: Design, Transdisciplinarity, Integrated Assessment, Heuristic, Wicked Problems

Hemispheric Shifts Across Learning, Teaching and Research at Swinburne University of Technology and RMIT University, for the Cumulus 38° South 2009 Conference

Abstract This paper describes a heuristic for the integrated assessment of design ecologies and an explanation for the maintenance of these complex networks. The assessment model builds upon interpretations from cultural anthropology and ecology to create a heuristic for characterizing the distribution, abundance, and interaction of design concerns at different scales and for multiple actors. I employ information theory and the evolution of cooperation to provide a mechanism for the stickiness of integrated ecological, social, and material-based networks and the degree to which these factors influence design decisions. The examples allude to alternative social roles for artists and designers than have been emphasized in the past for their part in catalyzing cooperative networks and solving difficult problems.

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