Thursday, October 29, 2009


It's been ages since I posted here, and who knows when I'll be doing it again on a regular basis--probably not for a while, I don't think...

I just sent a manuscript off to the publisher, fulfilling the main part of my contractual obligation (still have to do an index), but it's on its way.

My book: The Universe of Design: Horst rittel's Theories of Design and Planning. I'm credited as second author, but really I'm third author after the titular Horst Rittel and the listed first author Jean-Pierre Protzen.

This is an academic book, no question. It is, in many ways, very abstract and philosophical. But this abstraction has immediate relevance to our day-to-day lives, and especially our lives as acting, thinking people trying to make plans for a better life for ourselves or for others.
This book discusses the process of design, which, in the sense used in the book, is a process in which we all engage sometimes: we may not be planning a whole city, we may only be planning a menu for the week, or planning a budget. But we make plans that we use to help us solve our problems. As members of a democratic society, we are also called on to contribute to or evaluate plans for our society. We all engage in planning and design.
The book examines the nature of problems: design problems are "wicked": they are not easily defined, may be understood in many different ways, and any attempt at a solution counts significantly--we cannot attempt a plan without repercussions (e.g., if we plan a menu, buy the food and cook it, we have paid the costs of the meal in effort and money no matter how palatable the food may be).
The book also discusses the processes of design, the reasoning of designers, the use of rationality and other conceptual tools for design, and reasons designs/plans fail.

It's due out in six months or so, assuming no problems in the process.