A design analysis of parliamentary debate

Umney, Darren (2016). A design analysis of parliamentary debate. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000bbb5


Drawing on descriptions and interpretations of the design process from the design studies literature, this thesis explores and develops a method of interpreting and analysing data about large public projects whose contexts lie outside conventional design studies.

The thesis undertakes a design analysis of parliamentary debate and draws data from the documentary records of two infrastructure projects. The first is High Speed Two (HS2), the London to Birmingham rail link proposed by the UK Government in 2010. Parliamentary bills were passing through both houses of Parliament and the relevant select committees, as this research was under way. The second, providing an historical counterpoint, is the first London to Birmingham Railway, planned and built between 1830-38.

Through a series of studies of transcripts of debates, committee proceedings and records of meetings, the application of design analysis as a method is refined and reviewed. This analysis yields insight and understanding of the parliamentary processes, including debates and committee proceedings involved in planning and designing major public infrastructure, as well as making a contribution to the field of design studies and its methods.

The implications this work has for design research are:

• As a contribution to the ongoing debate about the scope and relevance of design studies as a discipline;
• As a recognition of the value of the parliamentary record as a dataset, providing detailed records of design processes for complex projects with large budgets that affect large numbers of users;
• By drawing on this dataset and recognising the context in which it is created, the importance of such context in the study of design is underlined;
• The notion of an assemblage is developed as a mechanism for accommodating, accounting for, and visually representing the actors drawn from the contexts identified.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions