4.285 Research Topics in Architecture: Citizen-Centered Design of Open Governance Systems

Fall 2002

Greek ruins.
The Palace of Minos, in Knossos, Crete. (Image courtesy of AICT.)

Course Highlights

This class finds new ways to allow members of large groups to make their voices heard.  Using internet resources, proposals for interaction and voting among members of any group are discussed and tested.  The projects section shows examples of how this might work.

Course Description

In this seminar, students will design and perfect a digital environment to house the activities of large-scale organizations of people making bottom-up decisions, such as with citizen-government affairs, voting corporate shareholders or voting members of global non-profits and labor unions. A working Open Source prototype created last semester will be used as the starting point, featuring collaborative filtering and electronic agent technology pioneered at the Media Lab.  This course focuses on development of online spaces as part of an interdependent human environment, including physical architectures, mapped work processes and social/political dimensions.

A cross-disciplinary approach will be taken; students with background in architecture, urban planning, law, cognition, business, digital media and computer science are encouraged to participate. No prior technical knowledge is necessary, though a rudimentary understanding of web page creation is helpful.


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Prof. William Mitchell
Lecturer Daniel Greenwood

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
2 hours / session