What is Design as Distributed Agency?


Design as distributed agency, to me, is simply to design with people rather than for people. This change in intent identifies the role of the so-called “end user” and in turn gives them the opportunity to collaboratively produce something that works for them and is subsequently unencumbered by logistical complexities that are so profound in a modern bureaucratic life. Such an approach finds freedom in the nuances that is a less strict structure in creating, that architecture, in particular, has had the most push-back from. Unlike the modern architectural process found in first world countries, design as distributed agency is all about empowering people and prove to them that just like their forefathers pre-industrialisation, they can build their own shelter and not have to wait for others permission. It is, however, important to note the vital role context is to play in the design process and thus through several agents, context can be an equally important agent in the design process.

Just as vital is the ability for the design to be flexible, that is, a design should always be able to change for the sake of usefulness and when such a design is no longer useful, it is up to a new group of collaborators to take over and make it theirs. And thus, the story never truly ends.


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