12 September 2005

Participatory design, branding and ethics (as applied in Barcelona)

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Barcelona_brand
In a blog that talks about participatory design and how users can contribute to the design of services, we cannot sidestep the ethical issue. Often people’s creativity and cultural contributions are used against their own interests.

In a long and thoughtful article about the over-branding and over-gentrification of Barcelona, the city’s Yproductions group argues that people are often the victims of branding and city marketing strategies that use their own cultural production (e.g. the tourist bus route that takes you along Barcelona’s ”Anarchist Route’ – meanwhile gentrified, of course), unless they understand that they are not just knowledge producers, but that they also need to create the right circumstances for this tacit knowledge to be transformed into Knowledge (with its capital K).

The article, which starts with a very concrete problem setting but addresses it in a too theoretical expose (to my liking), nevertheless raises some interesting questions for experience designers on the merits of the public domain in an increasingly privatised and corporate knowledge economy.

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(via Doors Report)

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