Why Design Cybernetics?

  • Ben SweetingEmail author
Part of the Design Research Foundations book series (DERF)


In this chapter I review the intimate relationship between cybernetics and design, drawing on the work of Ranulph Glanville and Gordon Pask. The significance of each of these fields for the other follows from the mutualism between them, such that cybernetics can be understood in terms of design as well as vice versa. The full value of this can be seen in the assistance they offer each other in building support from within. Design may serve as an example for how cybernetics can be practiced cybernetically, i.e. in accordance with its own insights and principles. In turn, cybernetics may help design understand itself in its own terms, in contrast to the way that it can become distorted by theories imported from elsewhere. Moreover, this mutualism connects design research to the vast array of topics with which cybernetics is concerned. Recalling its origins as a transdisciplinary project, cybernetics may help mediate diverse concerns within design, while also enabling cybernetic processes in other fields to be explored through the insights and methods of design research.


Design research Transdisciplinarity Cybernetics Conversation 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Architecture and DesignUniversity of BrightonBrightonUK

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