What are architectures of control in design?

Architectures of control are features, structures or methods of operation designed into physical products, software, buildings, city layouts–or indeed any planned system with which a user interacts–which are intended to enforce, reinforce, or restrict certain modes of user behaviour.

While the use of architectures of control in computing is well-known, and a current issue of much debate (in terms of digital rights management, ‘trusted’ computing and network infrastructures themselves), it is apparent that technology–and a mindset that favours controlling users–is also offering increased opportunities for such architectures to be designed into a wide range of consumer products; yet, this trend has not been commonly recognised.

This site examines some of these applications, the intentions behind them, wider consequences and future uses of architectures of control. The assumption is made that products and systems can be engineered and designed with rationales and intentions behind them beyond the functionality or appearance requirements of a conventional specification or brief.

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