Sociatecture. Participatory Design For A Free Society

There will be a series of classes in participatory social design, offered on a repeating basis. The courses are always experimental and experiential: there is no one format for every class; they eschew the planning mentality (planning the lives of others); they will be opportunities to try designing the society one wishes to be part of. Courses will sometimes end with detailed models—reduced-scale, full-scale, diagrammatic, or narrative. But sometimes the course will end with self-creative actions—students undertaking cooperative actions, students moving to a moribund town and creating a new form of life there, students returning to an already vibrant conviviality and influencing its ongoing emergence, students withdrawing their energies from state social practices and doing something else in their stead, students inspiring participatory social design elsewhere with others. In the multiple and interconnected but specific exercises of each course, we acquire and advance the skills necessary for putting another practice into play than that of the state, the market, industrial medicine, institutional education, or law. In short, we bring into being the new sociality even as in our work as students and teachers, in both the content and form of our engagement. The goal is to learn creatively to fit one’s unique socio-individuality into multiple socialities, contributing to their supple, ever-changeful life. It’s called Sociatecture; there cannot be a new society without continuous inventions of the constituent socialities by the members.

Affiliated with the Sociatecture courses will be autotecture courses. Here, students will encounter diverse means of optimizing their self-design. Students are invited to set up the conditions for the best kind of process of continuous self-invention, for which there already exist both a raw material (your past and your habits) and a world of possible component relations with other processes: corporeal arts, mindfulness exercises, uses of one’s surroundings (landscape, city), skill-building, convivium-building (supper-club, bowling team, service work).

During the spring short courses, the Introduction to Sociatecture will be offered. This will be a course to introduce students to the wide variety of learning opportunities available in Sociatecture core and peripheral courses. Students can expect to read utopian writings, anti-utopian writings and some alternative economic, political, educational, health, and architectural realities; engage in utopian dreaming; study existing environments and social processes; build scale models and full-scale mockups; develop collaboration skills and coordinate discrete but supplementary actions (because sociatecture is always participatory in style); and discover low-tech construction methods. It is a fast-moving, playful course, and is meant to serve as an entry (but not a required one) into more intense sociatectural learning processes.

Sociatecture classes recreate sociality and economics as we go, build community. It is social design because it is participatory

  • social change as social design;
  • social design as living differently in ordinary practices
  • social design as putting different material conditions of life in place.

Two formats (offered simultaneously?)

  • semi-weekly (M2, R2), 9-week semester
  • two weekend intensives – Friday night (3), Saturday (8), Sunday (7)

Cost for courses varies. See our fee processes.


Introduction to Sociatecture

  • Philosophy and Design – ideas in things-processes, ideas as motives to lifestyle
  • Education, teaching as design, learning as participation
  • Utopian City Planning – total thinking a la Plato (but Sennett is better) and Paul and Percival Goodman
  • Conversion City Design – local thinking – working from given conditions - a synthesis of multiple design areas. Role of secession.
  • Models – reduced-scale, full-scale, ephemeral actions, narration (a day in the life; or composites)
  • Invited designers: City Repair, Parking Day, Michael Albert, CA

Advanced Sociatecture (each of the below as a separate course?)
Economy (consumption, work, allocation, feeding/sheltering=providing)
Politics (creative, situationaly specific social decision processes)
Sex, Family, Childrearing, Education
Tectonics (architecture, urban form)
Law and custom; juridics and ethics (break an everyday life law and organize resistance to the punishment)


Sociatecture Studio

  • full-scale, situated design
  • group action

Sociatecture Practicum

  • self-designed work in conversion, and spontaneous, unplanned, barnacled secession (not secession for itself, but as what occurs in our conversional undertakings
  • linking successful design actions with Sociatecture; forming an associational process.

Sociality Links

  • bringing community into being from existing lives


  • Material improvisation
  • Low-tech methods
  • organizing community building events


  • Socio-individuality is the main idea – relational
  • creating the best process of yourself
  • Nietzsche and will to power
  • Daoism and the culinary approach


Inward – silence, journaling, doing less
Outward – dinner/breakfast club, walking, group travel, group work, play

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