Unpleasant Design. Designing Out Unwanted Behaviour

Unpleasant Design is an aggregation of techniques and strategies in urban design where social control is an inherent property of objects and places. Unpleasant Design research recognizes the growing desire for controlled environments amongst different authorities but it also accounts for the way ifferent citizens react to it. Unpleasant Design is manifested in the form of “silent agents” which manage the behaviour of people without explicit presence of officials. Unpleasant Design is principally about the relationship of space, design and social interaction. Thus, it is not aimed at harming users of public space in general. Unpleasant Design usually discriminates against particular social groups in order to allow for another to exist. These groups are not always threatening our security, they are sometimes simply a minority or powerless (the teenagers, the poor, marginal groups). We continuously look for qualifiers for something to act as u unpleasant. Our data is an accumulation of field observations of deployed technologies; interviews with scholars and practitioners in the field of urban design. It also includes case studies of particular applications of Unpleasant Designs. Seeking to reveal power structures beyond surveillance and social control in designed interactions, we offer a critical perspective on emerging design patterns.

Published in:
Proceedings of the 5th STS Italia Conference : A Matter of Design. Making Society through Science and Technology, 975-988
Presented at:
5th STS Italia Conference : A Matter of Design. Making Society through Science and Technology, Milan, Italy, June 12–14, 2014

 Record created 2015-05-08, last modified 2018-09-13

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