Design Practices in the Fab City.
Fab City aims at fostering the social resilience of urban areas by structuring networks of Fab Labs and third-places. This research paper reviews the ontology of this initiative and provides with an understanding of the articulation between networks of interests and communities of values so to enhance Fab City’s potential for territorial resilience. Openness is identified as a key feature of projects nested within Fab City, even though the diversity of participants is very low in the makers movement. In order to assess openness, this paper proposes a semiotic design methodology that is anchored in the actor-network theory and cyber-counter-culture heritage, and distancing from human-centred and participative design. The semiotic design methodology is then applied on three case studies as an illustration of the method’s potential as a diagnostic tool to appreciate their openness. In providing a methodology for a systemic understanding of community oriented design, this research could help pave the way for a dynamic practice of design, one that aims at building an evolving common language for resilience while prizing cultural differences.
Paper presented at the FAB15 Conference, 2019.