Coordination and emergence in design

Alexiou, Katerina (2010). Coordination and emergence in design. CoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts, 6(2) pp. 75–97.



Over the last few decades there has been a growing interest in the concept of emergence in design research. Despite this interest, the meaning and scope of emergence in design is not clear. Indeed, there are two different views of emergence in design literature, representing different types of theories about design. The first is focused on individual cognition or perception, and the second is focused on social aspects of design activity. This paper grapples with the question of how we can reconcile the two perspectives in a theory of design as an emergent phenomenon. More specifically, the paper builds a model of design as a distributed process that links together cognitive and social dimensions of design activity, and uses this model in order to elucidate the meaning and role of emergence in design. Overall, the paper explicates the relation between emergence, complexity and coordination as a vehicle for linking individual and social conceptions of design.

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