Imagining new ways of living through imaginaries and mental models – that is what Dan Lockton focuses on in his work.


Dan Lockton @danlockton @imaginari_es
Interaction designer, researcher and assistant professor
at Carnegie Mellon University, design.cmu.edu

What could be reimagined now?

Dan’s aim is to experiment with alternative ways of life and other life models. Design methodologies are involved in analyzing the correlations between social and environmental benefits. This can be done by defining connections between varied fields such as behavioral and decisional sciences, or human-computer interaction and cybernetics.
How can we live in a more sustainable way? Which lifestyle patterns impact our environment the least and which ones offer a potential solution?

How could we experiment with alternative life models?

The challenge here is to turn alternative futures into tangible realities, something that does not yet exist but is treated as if it were already among us. Potentially, “living laboratories” could be created where communities of people are immersed into different realities, worlds with rules and structures different from those we are used to. By doing so, it is possible to closely observe the alternative models proposed, making them directly accessible to people.

How do you imagine the “living laboratories” will be in ten years’ time?

To date, we’ve seen this kind of experimentation only at a mere technological level, for example within our homes with IoT and smart homes. But if the experimentation was conducted within “living labs” instead, shifting the focus at a social level, the scale could be extended, for example, to entire districts within cities. The “labs” could actually be visited and experienced by communities of people, to better understand their flaws and strengths. Social models are often discussed at a national and administrative level but appear vague and evanescent at a practical level. For this reason, they are perceived by people as distant, both temporally and mentally. Therefore concretizing solutions and allowing people to make their contribution in a participatory way could fill this gap.

Image: Dan Lockton, design.cmu.edu