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Design for Democracy (Topic Overview)

Design for Democracy (Topic Overview)2019-07-30T17:43:18+02:00

Exploring the multi-faceted relationships between design and democracy in a rapidly changing world

The relation between technology and democracy has been much discussed over time. Some have argued that technology can be a threat to democracy (e.g. certain energy technologies requiring a central system of control), others have pointed out that technology may advance democracy (e.g. information technology supporting the Arab Spring). The value of democracy has not only been evoked in discussions about the impact of new technologies, but also in discussions on the process of technological innovation and who gets a say in that.

Design for democracy may thus both be outcome oriented (through adopting methods of value sensitive design) and process oriented (through adopting methods of participatory design). Democracy is also related to various other values, such as justice and transparency. Both recent developments (such as micro-targeting voters on social media platforms) and future promises (such as the smart city) make design for democracy more relevant than ever. Various researchers at Delft University of Technology work to integrate

  1. theories on the value of democracy and
  2. insights into empirical realities affecting democracy

into (the process of) design and innovation, in order to advance democracy.

Videos with Our Researchers

Industrial designer & DDfV member Nynke Tromp giving a TEDx talk on ‘disrupting democracy’:

Jeroen van den Hoven, scientific director of the DDfV Institute, talking about the importance of design for democracy in European Parliament:

News / Blogs on Design for Democracy

Digital Ethics by Design – Executive Masterclass

March 18th, 2019|Course announcement|

New technological developments in areas like quantum computing, big data, robotics, block chain, artificial intelligence (AI), and the internet of things (IoT) create opportunities, but also raise societal and ethical challenges. Design for Values is a powerful strategy to address them. In November 2019 the DDfV Institute will organize an executive masterclass Digital Ethics by Design. More information / request brochure

Teaching Design for Values to Students Wanting the ‘Right’ Answer

February 28th, 2019|Blogs by Ilse Oosterlaken, DDfV Blogs|

"What values make a good architect or urbanist?” is one of the questions that new master students get to answer in the 3-day introduction program of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. They are asked to draw a mind map with a picture of an architect or urbanist in the middle, and around it the knowledge, tools, skills and values that (s)he needs to have.

Digital Democracy: Threats and (Design) Opportunities – Seminar on 29 November

November 18th, 2018|Event announcement|

On 29 November 2018 the Brookings Institute and Delft University of Technology are together organizing a seminar that explores the weakness and dangers the digital environment poses to democracy, and investigates how the digital environment might be proactively redesigned in order to positively enhance the quality democracy. Registration is still possible until 27 November.

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Events on Design for Democracy

Follow Up Event: It Could Happen to You 2: Insurgent Citizenship, Democracy & the City (Symposium)

13 June @ 12:30 - 13:45
In the first event, the rise of far-right politics was discussed. Colonialism, race, and gender were discussed. As well as the suppression of pleasure as a tool for political control. In this second event of the series, Professor James Holston from UC Berkeley will talk about insurgent citizenship, ...

It Could Happen to You: Far Right Politics and The City (Symposium)

2 May
Our hypothesis is that, we must achieve agreement through inclusionary, democratic communication and participation, in which public conceptions of justice, democracy and the redistribution of the benefits and burdens of urban development are discussed and decided upon democratically.

Participatory City Making (symposium)

20 February @ 14:00 - 17:00
For whom is citizen participation valuable and how does it drive actions towards systemic change? During the Participatory City Making symposium PARTICIPATION x ACTION on 20 February participants will critically reflect on the value of Participatory City Making processes.

DDfV Members Working on Design for Democracy

  • Roy Bendor
    Roy Bendor
    Assistent professor at Industrial Design
  • Scott Cunningham
    Scott Cunningham
    Associate Professor at Policy Analysis section
  • Maurice Harteveld
    Maurice Harteveld
    Researcher Urban Design & the Architecture of the City
  • Haye Hazenberg
    Haye Hazenberg
    Postdoctoral researcher & project manager 'TU Delft in The Hague'
  • Jeroen van den Hoven
    Jeroen van den Hoven
    Professor of Ethics & Technology
  • Ingrid Mulder
    Ingrid Mulder
    Associate Professor of Design Techniques
  • Nynke Tromp
    Nynke Tromp
    Assistant Professor of Industrial Design

Selection of Publications

The Quest for Public Space: Changing Values in Urban Design, The City as Learning Lab and Living Lab

Harteveld, Maurice

The Quest for Public Space: Changing Values in Urban Design, The City as Learning Lab and Living Lab Inproceedings

Tieben, Hendrik; Geng, Yan; Rossin, Francesco (Ed.): The Entrepreneurial City; 10th Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU), International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU), Rotterdam, 2017, ISBN: 978-962-8272-33-4.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Designing For Democracy:  Bulk Data and Authoritarianism

Robbins, Scott; Henschke, Adam

Designing For Democracy: Bulk Data and Authoritarianism Journal Article

Surveillance & Society, 15 (3), pp. 582-589, 2017.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Transparency-by-design as a foundation for open government

Janssen, Marijn; Matheus, Ricardo; Longo, Justin; Weerakkody, Vishanth

Transparency-by-design as a foundation for open government Journal Article

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, 11 (1), pp. 2-8, 2017.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Breaking the filter bubble: democracy and design

Bozdag, Engin; van den Hoven, Jeroen

Breaking the filter bubble: democracy and design Journal Article

Ethics and Information Technology, 17 (4), pp. 249-265, 2015, ISSN: 1572-8439.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Handbook of Ethics, Values, and Technological Design: Sources, Theory, Values and Application Domains

van den Hoven, Jeroen; Vermaas, Pieter E; van de Poel, Ibo (Ed.)

Handbook of Ethics, Values, and Technological Design: Sources, Theory, Values and Application Domains Collection

Dordrecht, Springer, 2015, ISBN: 978-94-007-6970-0.

Abstract | Links | BibTeX

Education on Design for Democracy

Open online course on Open Government

If you are interested in designing for democracy, you may also be interested in the TU Delft massive open online course (MOOC) on Open Government (see the video for one of the course lectures that addressed design for values).

Master elective on Design x Democracy

The Deep Dive‘ is an annual elective for master students in Industrial Design Engineering that allows them to delve into a specific design issue with a combination of reading, discussion, and customized design assignments. In 2018-2019 (quarter 2) the central issue will be ‘Design x Democracy‘. DDfV member Ingrid Mulder will lead the course. From the course description:

“Together we draw a landscape of Design x Democracy (best practices and design guidelines), elaborating upon Victor Margolin’s initial distinction between design of democracy, design for democracy, and design in a democracy, towards exploring the role of participatory design as a democratic practice.”