it is a collective affair. Civic design
should likewise be a collective affair,
informed by a multiplicity of fields,
methods, theories, and histories. This
may be one reason why civic design
projects and programs seem to be
flourishing in diverse institutions—
places where different fields, methods,
and theories intermingle without the
drag of tradition or discipline. The
liberal arts, broadly construed, are
especially significant as we engage
civics. Theories of democracy,
sovereignty, citizenship, and, above
all, power, must inform civic design.
Moreover, we must recognize and
appreciate that these theories are
neither formulaic nor singular.
Whatever democracy is, and whatever
citizenship is, they are multiple and
contested; power is not an algorithm
that accounts for freedom and control,
but rather an extension of historic and
structural effect and affect.
Philosophy, history, literature,
communications, and media
studies are important touchpoints
for conceptualizing how we might
structure our lives together differently.
As we think about educating designers
to work in this domain, it becomes
apparent that we need to broaden our
curriculum. This is already happening
What is needed
is the discovery
of new modes of
organizing and action.