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  • Designing public instrumentation as interaction: the role of design research and practice in the design for policy instruments

Polati Trippe, Helena, 2019, Thesis, Designing public instrumentation as interaction: the role of design research and practice in the design for policy instruments PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This PhD by thesis explores the ability of design to create new knowledge apparatuses that can bring change to, engage with and address the interactive nature of our current policy problems. The thesis contributes a new understanding of policies and policy instruments
in their role as design entities. It examines the materiality and the mechanics of state intervention in design terms. To support this level
of analysis, the thesis focuses on policy instruments, given that policy instruments delimit the means to deliver public value and the feasibility of policy goals, as meta-interfaces for policy design, delivery and implementation.
The current contribution of design practice and research, if assessed critically, tends to be concentrated at the operational end of the policy spectrum, where policy goals and means tend to be defined already. It is seldom, in a policy context, that design practice involves the opportunity to design policy and policy systems from scratch, making it more likely that design practice will involve the redesign of existing systems. A designer’s role in dealing with policy systems therefore involves finding opportunities for leveraging the interactions in occurrence within these systems.
For its theoretical context, the PhD thesis adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the examination of policy making, policy design and public service innovation. To facilitate an in-depth and critical consideration
of the contribution of design to policy making, I focus the research on a distinct area of policy, that of housing and the emerging policy problem of housing affordability. Working through the interstices of these fields of enquiry, the thesis explores the contribution of service design, design for services and design for policy to develop capabilities for the design of new instruments for state intervention by working with the interactive nature of policy instruments. Interaction, however, is often understood as a given, as an outcome and as a by-product of services.
The research explores interaction as affordances and takes a practice led approach to the development of the understanding of working with policy instrument infrastructure that has different levels of maturity. The thesis proposes a service-oriented application of affordance, which provides an alternative to policy instrument choice frameworks and places a human centred design perspective and design practice
as a form of enquiry at the heart of the design for policy instruments. In the form of a design canvas, the research develops a set of design guidelines to aid design practice in approaching the complexity and navigating the implications inherent in design practice at this level.
More importantly, the thesis develops analysis in order to establish design as an epistemology that is adept at building knowledge which provides theoretical and practical alternatives to the current praxis
of policy making. By responding to the nature of interactions from a projective and self-reflective perspective, the application of research through design moves instrument design beyond the macro and micro dichotomies and the ideological straitjackets which frame policy making and into an evaluative activity, one which, through projective enquiry, can more adequately respond to our current policy challenges.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Architecture > K400 Planning (Urban > K450 Housing
Other > Social studies > L200 Politics
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Design
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2019 09:52
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2019 09:52
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3964

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