Will future cities be characterised by ‘unpleasant design’?

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We do a lot of our work with the public sector, as well as private companies. You may have seen the recent news about the first Artificial Intelligence to be used by a local authority in the UK? That was a project we were involved with.

For this reason we’re always on the look out for interesting ideas in the public realm – both positive and negative. Hence why this episode of the incredible 99% Invisible podcast caught our ears. It’s about ‘unpleasant design’, the practice of using design to deter certain public behaviours.

Unpleasant Design & Hostile Urban Architecture

There’s a really dark side to this type of design, as evidenced by the public outcry against metal spikes used to deter rough sleeping. And the idea that you diminish the utility of an object is difficult for anyone positive and creative. But it also presents interesting possibilities in a corporate context.

Could design tweaks in software systems and office layouts discourage bad practice of the type that limits agility?

This post forms part of my Vectors series. For more posts on this subject, visit the Vectors page.

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Tom Cheesewright