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A form of learning based on mutual help between members of small working groups; it is based on the sharing of responsibilities for both the process and the outcome of the choral work.


Assemblage theory prompts an understanding of socio-spatial forms as dynamic processes rather than as entities. Framed through this lens, they become the result of continuous processes of formation and maintenance between constituents.

Forms of semi-structured learning deriving from activities planned within organized contexts, which ultimately take place outside of educational and/or training institutions.


 Mostly understood as the ability to conceive ideas in an original way, to synthesize and analyze, to define and structure one's experience and knowledge in new ways, it is also – and foremost – referred to as a particular sensitivity to problems, as an operational dexterity that allows to conceive design research methods, which can be adapted to complex cultural contexts.

Design procedure based on collaboration, mostly aimed at envisioning exchange, which does not exclude frictions among participants. Etymologically, it is a term that indicates a type of collaborative planning whose dynamics, practice and (above all) philosophy are based on the logic of collaboration and sharing of knowledge useful for design purposes. Ultimately, it is a design approach strongly oriented towards stimulating collective creativity as a lever for innovation and transformation. 

Set of activities and processes aimed at producing a generative exchange. Unlike other synonyms (e.g., cooperation), it implies forms of direct interaction between individuals geared towards the creation of a ‘product’ (understood in the broad sense of the term), which involves negotiations among different perspectives.

A speculative action that broadens the possibilities of the project, or of what can be considered acceptable in design. It does not aim to propose definitive project solutions, but rather to identify ideas that keep open the discussion about the design topic. The aim of a concept design action is to use design – understood as a strategy, a process, a set of actions activated to trigger a change – as a means to provoke discussions and debates, that have the potential to contribute to the development of the design topic at hand.

Set of activities and processes aimed at triggering collective work to carry out required tasks. Cooperation does not necessarily imply forms of direct interaction (e.g. everyone, separately, completes their own task and all the required tasks are necessary to achieve a common goal).

Complexity theory does not constitute a single 'coherent' body of thought. A focus on complexity means adopting a frame of reference that describes the objects of investigation as systems made up of a multiplicity of interacting actors, and processes. Complex systems are contained within each other, which means that their components are complex systems themselves, or elements shared among multiple complex systems.

Although there are numerous definitions of community, we align with the definition provided by Max Weber, who understands it as the set of social relationships that result from a common sense of belonging, which is subjectively felt by the individuals involved in such relationship systems. Communities are places of human experience, where individuals learn specific social and cultural behaviors, while what has been learned keeps on being put into practice.

Central concept of a relational ontology in which the emphasis is given to the myriad of actions that make the world we live in possible through the maintenance of a universe of diversity. The concept of care implies the recognition of what is 'human' as something immersed in an ocean of heterogeneity, in which the proactive decision or otherwise unwillingness, to dedicate oneself to someone or something is the direct result of the creation or the disintegration of vital relationships.


Inteso come: Intended as: a) the human ability to conceive, design and create devices aimed at achieving individual and collective goals. b) the way in which we create complex wholes that provide a framework for human culture: the human systems and subsystems that function in both conciliation and conflict with nature to support human fulfillment. c) pathway essentially composed of actions aimed at transforming existing situations into more preferable ones.

Thinking of a planning nature sometimes considered useful as a strategy, process, approach or method for dealing with complex situations. Interpreted as typically present in those processes using planning in a systematic, strategic, creative, decisive and collaborative way.

Design probes have their origins in cultural probes, i.e. artefacts used for planning and design research-purposes with the aim of probing cultural aspects of a specific context subject to design intervention. Design probes are developed as a user-centred approach focused on the exploration of human phenomena related to design opportunities. Given the exploratory character as distinctive of this approach, design probes are characterized by active participation of the user with self-documentation actions, which are oriented towards highlighting the perceptions and personal context of the subjects involved.

A service can be defined as a set of activities, resources, connections and relationships, as well as infrastructures, i.e. a system that helps someone to do something; service design is that design activity dedicated to such a system, more specifically, the set of activities related to the organizazion of resources, the design of new flows and interactions, the prototyping activity of service scenarios, the development of infrastructures and touchpoints through which the service comes into contact with users. Service design is also conceptualized as a design activity of co-creation of value between the different stakeholders of a service system. In a more basic form, service design deals with planning resources, infrastructure and materials to improve the relationship between service providers and users in order to make the entire system easily usable, efficient and effective, as well as desirable.

Integration of design methods with systems thinking approaches and theories. It is a design practice oriented towards integrated systems. Systemic design developed from the discipline and practices emerging between systems theory and design practice. From a disciplinary perspective, systems design encompasses socio-technical, ecological and socioeconomic systems and tends to stand out as a design-led area, distinct from other typologies of design that deal with system design, as in the case, for example, of systems engineering. Recently, systemic design has developed its own culture that merges design thinking, the best practices of collaborative design, and system thinking, orienting experiments towards the co-creation of design conditions open to social transformations and global challenges.

Critical approach to design that questions the cultural, social and ethical implications of emerging technologies and that helps define the most desirable futures towards which design can be oriented.

Systemic investigation whose main objective is to produce design knowledge, i.e. that knowledge relevant to the design purposes.


Semi-structured learning opportunities that arise from activities planned in relation to an organized context, which ultimately take place outside of school and training institutions.

A pivotal research method for understanding the world from the point of view of social relations. It is based on the diversity of cultural expressions and constitutes one of the main research methods of social and cultural anthropology. Its application also branches out into the natural sciences and, in general, into humanistic studies. 

A set of techniques, methods and tools deriving from ethnography that are applied to the investigation phases in a traditional design process. Unlike classical ethnography, it aims to explore the design context, observe its anthropological and non-anthropological aspects, and in a decidedly shorter time than the anthropologist's work, it works to obtain information, which are useful for design purposes.


 Innovative and participatory practices dedicated to the creation of a positive impact for society through new ways of designing, producing goods or services. There can be different forms of social innovation: among these we can distinguish those that tend to generate innovation of and/or through new products and services, or new practices, new processes, new rules or regulations, new organizational forms. Generally speaking, social innovations can also be defined as new approaches to address social needs. These are innovations that are social in their means and ends as they work for the engagement and the mobilization of beneficiaries, and help to transform social relations, while also improving beneficiaries' access to power and resources.

Process of replicating project activities generally implemented for improvement purposes. This term is often used in the description of design processes, in general of innovation processes; together with the non-linearity of the process itself, it indicates the possibility/need to apply multiple cycles to the sequence (even partial) of phases of the process. In practical terms, iteration means to to repeat a series of previous actions aimed at improving the new output from the process after having completed a part, or the entirety of a design process.


Teaching methodologies and practices that use practical experience to facilitate learning, and that make of it the central aspect of the learning proposal.


Widespread learning practices and proposals focussing on shared methodologies, tools and learning sources with open access and as inclusive as possible.

Set of possible socio-technical forms intended as goals, that make us 'responsible' and capable of responding to one or more challenges.


Activities dedicated to making decision-making processes inclusive, i.e. capable of involving all social actors who are involved in a decision. Often associated with "bottom-up" groups organized around socio-cultural and/or economic needs and civil interests, it is increasingly requested and stimulated by public institutions and decision-makers.

A school of thought that criticizes the anthropocentrism of humanism. It calls for an overcoming of categorical dualisms between human and non-human as it postulates them as existing factors in a continuous "becoming" and mutual reciprocity. A 'post-humanist sensibility' requires anyone interested in social issues to reconsider its key themes in light of the indivisibility between nature, technology, objects, bodies, biology, human thought and practice. That is, to consider various 'more than human' forces in the constitution of social identities.

A professional and life ethic inspired by the concepts of autonomy, community involvement and planning hope. A philosophy applied to the design process, which aims at the re-politicisation of contemporary issues in a context of great change.

Production of basic models for representative and/or testing purposes with regards to the design definition of a design output.


Following Donna Haraway's thought, the term "response-ability" refers to a resilient, empathetic, ability that enables to respond to a process of change. Response/ability is the name given to the pop-up school of co-design and civic and collaborative imagination dedicated to collaboratively designing ideas, activities and services for the urban context starting from the great socio-cultural and socio-technical challenges that contemporary cities are facing.

Socio-cultural research practices whose epistemological approach and methodologies favor the collection and analysis of data and information by moving between distinct investigation sites.


The term has spread in the punblic debate since the 1980s and was subsequently accepted as a theme into political institutions as a model to face the environmental crisis. Over time, the concept of sustainability has been expressed in various areas, based on the rational and balanced use of resources, with the ultimate aim of avoiding any form of waste. Nel tempo il concetto di sostenibilità è stato declinato in diversi ambiti, ponendo alla sua base l’utilizzo razionale ed equilibrato delle risorse, volto a evitare qualsiasi spreco.


 Social artefact that is created through processes of meaning-making and in continuous negotiation between the actors involved in its definition starting from attributions of meaning, purpose and symbolic values. The procedural dimension of the collective definition of a specific territoriality is the space in which we try to propose and promote co-planning activities; it is precisely in this liminal area that collaborative design opportunities emerge by representing an opportunity to inclusively and effectively lead to the creation of new ideas.


The set of physical spaces of infrastructure, architecture and planning, but also the set of ethereal spaces of representation, fantasy, virtual and everyday life that, in line with Henri Lefebvre, are simultaneously material, imagined and experienced.

Temporary and low-cost urban actions and transformations, with high impact as well as with scalability and replicability potential.