Data, Design, Decision

April 2017

Recent claims around data and cities suggest that we may be on the verge of an unprecedented wave of information about the contemporary city. While technological and social change may in fact produce more and better information, the status of that information relative to decision-making has been a longstanding area of research in the design disciplines. Over the past half-century, the discourse and practices associated with design research have been proposed to describe the role of design in dealing with a surplus of data. In this formulation, design research has developed a particular capacity to arrive at innovative solutions and catalyze action, often in relation to novel, emergent, and data-rich conditions. More recent developments in the cognitive and behavioral sciences have shed light on creativity and decision-making processes. This exploratory seminar will examine contemporary understandings in the cognitive and behavioral sciences in relation to decision-making as informed by design thinking. What paradigms, historic and contemporary, are available for the role of design in the representation of data attendant to decision making? How might those models be informed by contemporary understandings in the behavioral and cognitive sciences? What import might those understandings have for the intellectual and professional commitments of the design disciplines?