A Framework for Understanding the Possible Intersections of Design with Open, P2P, Diffuse, Distributed and Decentralized Systems

Massimo Menichinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Since the turn of the century, the discipline of design has increasingly focused its attention on its application to projects and groups of users at a larger scale. Researchers and practitioners have tried to understand how design could shift its focus from single users to local and online communities, from isolated projects to whole complex systems. These new perspectives consequently brought the interest of designers to the tools and strategies that can enable their interactions with larger groups of people distributed in several localities. More specifically, designers and researchers started adopting many approaches coming from software development and web-based technologies, like open source, P2P, diffuse, distributed and decentralized systems. This article proposes a preliminary framework for understanding and working with the integration of design with open, P2P, diffuse, distributed and decentralized systems. In one direction, such open, P2P, DDD systems can be applied into design practice: this first intersection has many applications, from digital projects to P2P-based initiatives to physical projects designed and manufactured on global networks of distributed laboratories like Fab Labs and Makerspaces. In another direction, design practice can also have a role in enabling such systems through the analysis, visualization, and design of their collaborative tools, platforms, processes, and organizations. Design, therefore, could learn from such systems and also improve them. This second intersection falls into the meta-design domain, where designers can have a role in building environments for the collaborative design of open processes and their resulting organizations.
The article therefore addresses this phenomenon by providing both an analysis of the concepts and the history of both directions and, in order to understand the phenomena with a broader overview, it proposes a preliminary framework for understanding the possible intersections of design with open, P2P, diffuse, distributed and decentralized systems through both literature and case studies. As the framework is still preliminary, the article provides as a conclusion some possible strategies for validating or improving the framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-71
Number of pages28
JournalDisegno – The Journal of Design Culture
VolumeIII
Issue number01-02
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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