Design and Politics: Metadesign for social change


  • Caio Adorno Vassão Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo da Universidade de São Paulo


In recent years, a collaborative approach to solving socio-urban problems has become common. In some cases, organizational changes have been worked out in enterprises and governments to accommodate the collaborative process, and people started recognizing the already present collaborative aspect of the creative process. Nevertheless, a rigorous theoretical/conceptual background that can sustain continuous social innovation based on accountable experimentation is still majorly lacking in these contexts. The specific approach elaborated for Metadesign by the author can provide a bridge between these innovative intentions and a new epistemological framework that has emerged from contemporary philosophy, anthropology, and complexity theory. In the context of the so-called “Smart City”, Metadesign could serve as an accessible approach to the democratic organization of communities so they can perform qualified and consequential creative work, including rethinking their own role in urban planning (meta-action). This approach is based on a new social interaction repertoire, partially derived from the popularization of digital interaction, but also from a new epistemic: complexity theory involves extreme shifts in the prevailing epistemological outlook, requiring new cognitive tools to cope with the increasing cognitive load in social interaction needed in collaborative creative work. This new epistemic also involves changing the way we frame objects of knowledge, recognizing new “objects of design”, of particular interest to the Metadesign action, that can mediate social change in a concerted and conscious manner.

Keywords: metadesign, urban planning, social change, innovation, micro-politics, smart cities.

Author Biography

Caio Adorno Vassão, Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo da Universidade de São Paulo

Phd in Architecture and Design (FAUUSP), currently doing Post-doctoral Research (FAUUSP).






Special Issue: Strategic Design Research Journal Volume 10