Reconstrained Design: Confronting Oblique Design Constraints

James Auger, Julian Hanna, Enrique Encinas


This paper presents the identification and analysis of a set of four ‘oblique constraints’—named as progress dogma, future nudge, means and ends, and infrastraints—which act as pervasive but often unacknowledged constraining influences that shape design practice and by extension limit future Possibilities.

We ask: How and why is power exerted? How might this lead to impoverished or problematic futures? How can this dynamic be changed from a design perspective? Drawing from examples of recent work around renewable energy we show how design can be reconstrained to reveal new pathways and encourage more inclusive, holistic, and environmentally responsible futures.

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