Designing coalitions: Design for social forms in a fluid world

Ezio Manzini

Abstract


The fluidity of the world produced by the diffusion of connectivity drives us to adopt a similarly fluid interpretation. Doing so, the products of human activity are to be seen as fluid forms: social forms in a turbulent world, the existence of which continuously requires us to exercise a considerable diffused designing capacity. The article applies this interpretation to a concrete case: a line of social innovation known as collaborative living and a programme of initiatives on this theme promoted and implemented in Milan over the last 10 years. What this case shows us, and is assumed to be generalisable, is the creation of new social forms, new communities of residents, and the existence within them of proactive groups that operate as design teams, which the article refers to as designing coalitions. The article discusses the nature and dynamics of these communities and the designing coalitions that act in and with them, and concludes by stressing the importance of a strategic, design approach capable of bringing them into being, orienting them and keeping them alive, ultimately making them independent of external support.

Keywords: social forms, community, designing coalitions, design for social innovation, collaborative living.


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