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Title: The role of uncertainty in the design of informal spaces
Author: Martin, K. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 1654
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis is concerned with uncertainty and its role in the use and design of informal space. This is an important topic because the social theories and narratives that have tended to guide the organisation and design of space are being problemitised by post-modern concepts of multi-positionality as well as interactive technologies. This leads to uncertainty. Uncertainty creates difficulties for designers because it highlights conflicting motivations, intentions, values, aims and criteria for success. Informal spaces and situations are an important aspect of communal life because they bring together people who are unknown to each other and this awareness of, and potential for encounter with, others is understood as a condition of a resilient and adaptive communal life. The intention of this thesis is to propose ways in which the conceptual and methodological difficulties in designing for uncertainty might be approached. Understanding the role that uncertainty plays in forming practices of co-presence and co-creation in informal spaces and situations is one aspect of this research. The convergence of spatial, social and technological elements suggests that an interdisciplinary approach is required to achieve this. In this thesis social and spatial practices are considered side-by-side. A new term, therefore, was required to encompass these research sites. The term chosen is in-between-ness. This draws on ideas of in-between-ness from anthropology. Inbetween spaces were chosen as the focus of the studies because these spaces are loosely defined with regard to typologies of form and social conventions yet these spaces exhibit resilience and the ability to adapt in the face of change. In this thesis, two different types of in-between space are considered: 1) informal urban spaces 2) situations of collaborative design. Describing in-between-ness with regard to spatial and social practices is a contribution of the thesis. This thesis argues that accepting, or even celebrating, the uncertainty of informal urban space is a viable approach to design. By reflecting on the disciplinary frameworks of architecture and interactive technologies it has been possible to find a means by which software engineers might learn to think and work like architects – and architects, inspired by the software engineers, might begin to develop a language to talk about the lived experience of space.
Supervisor: Penn, A. ; Griffiths, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available