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Innovation without design: dynamics of role making and the becoming of collective designer

Rebecca Pinheiro Croisel, Tor Hernes


ABSTRACT: In this paper, we analyze how the intentional lack of an urban design plan enabled a creative process of involvement between multiple actors. The fact that the urban design plan was not represented physically meant that the project’s actors had to search for solutions through explorative actions while redefining themselves with respect to one another and their collective role. Their roles in relation to the project were transformed through their inter-actions and the openness of the project itself, which we call a ‘spontaneous model’. In our analysis we draw upon Mead’s (1934) processual theory of meaning creation through social interaction. We attempt to understand the phenomena that made it possible to design a new district in a town without using any a priori formal graphic representations, in a one-year pre-design phase.


project management, innovation, collective action, design, urban planning, political science, pragmatism


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