IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

From Design Fiction to Design Friction: Speculative and Participatory Design of Values-Embedded Urban Technology


  • Laura Forlano
  • Anijo Mathew


This paper discusses the results of the Designing Policy project, which engages current debates about urban technology through the creation of a visual toolkit and a series of workshops. The workshops were held in Chicago, New York, and Boston during 2012-2013 with funding from the Urban Communication Foundation. The purpose of the project was three-fold: (1) to open up the "black box" of urban technology in order to reveal the politics embedded in city infrastructures; (2) to move beyond discussions of urban problems and solutions, and towards a more conceptual future-oriented space; and (3) to explore the use of design methods such as visual prototypes and participatory design. This article introduces the concept of design friction as a way of understanding the ways in which conflicts, tensions and disagreements can move complex socio-technical discussions forward where they can be worked out through material engagement in hands-on prototyping.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Forlano & Anijo Mathew, 2014. "From Design Fiction to Design Friction: Speculative and Participatory Design of Values-Embedded Urban Technology," Journal of Urban Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(4), pages 7-24, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:cjutxx:v:21:y:2014:i:4:p:7-24
    DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2014.971525

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Laura Forlano & Alison Powell & Gwen Shaffer & Benjamin Lennett, 2011. "From the digital divide to digital excellence: global best practices for municipal and community wireless networks," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 29461, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:cjutxx:v:21:y:2014:i:4:p:7-24. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.