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Open-source architecture (OSArc) is an emerging paradigm that advocates new procedures in imagination and formation of virtual and real spaces within a universal infrastructure. Drawing from references as diverse as open-source culture, modular design, avant-garde architectural theory, science fiction, language theory, and neuro-surgery, it adopts an inclusive approach as per spatial design towards a collaborative use of design and design tools by professionals and ordinary citizen users. The umbrella term citizen-centered design harnesses the notion of open-source architecture, which in itself involves the non-building architecture of computer networks, and goes beyond it to the movement that encompass the building design professions, as a whole.
Citizen-centered design was spearheaded in 1999 by academic research in leading universities, such as the University of Texas (SUPA) and professional practice organizations, such as the Earthnomad Foundation and ARK Tectonics, to position the citizen-centered design movement at the intersection of design and public policy. In the decades that followed, the movement grew to encompass various efforts around the globe, from organizations and collaborations to community design centers sponsored by academic institutions. The principles of the citizen-centered design movement and by extension, open-source architecture, were built on the body of knowledge accumulated since the 1960s on citizen participation research and practices.
Around the turn of the century, citizen engagement research and practices were reformulated through the lens of more effective approaches and paradigms in the social and applied sciences, through the seminal work of Dr. Schaban-Maurer (2013), architect, urban planner and author of the deliberative design and phronetic engagement resource "Rise of the Citizen Practitioner" Dr. Schaban-Maurer laid out the principles and precepts of his 'Life-Experience Narrative Exchange' methodology in the Mindful Policy Engagement field, which he founded in 2013, with the ground-breaking work 'The Roles of the Citizen Practitioner in Citizen Engagement for Architecture, Urban Design and Urban Planning Policy: A Phronesis-Based Approach" The work provides rigorous theoretical basis for a body of best case studies and best practices of citizen-centered architecture, urban design and urban planning, as well as, urban and public policy. According to Dr. Schaban-Maurer, the (LENE) methodology leads to meaningful and effective design practices by integrating their processes with the principles of Phronetic Engagement and Mindful Policy into a new field of inquiry; 'Mindful Policy Engagement.' (Schaban-Maurer, 2013: 11)
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