What is Open Design

Open Design is made up of two equally important ingredients:

A set of design related norms and values: The design process of creating a new building or a new urban area should, as far as possible, be open and transparent. All stakeholders are to be treated equally. Powerless stakeholders and laymen get the same 'rights' in the design process as powerful stakeholders and experts. Constraint ownership is respected, meaning that a constraint can only be relaxed with the consent of the stakeholder concerned. Manipulation and abuse of knowledge power has to be avoided where possible.

A set of decision-oriented mathematical models and associated computer programs: Linear Programming with negotiable constraints, Monte Carlo Simulation in project planning and in investment analysis, Regression Analysis in cost calculations and as an input to Monte Carlo simulations, Preference Measurement to incorporate soft variables concerning style, beauty, and form, Multi Criteria Optimisation for group decision making, Nonlinear Programming for exponential preference behaviour, Geometrical Modelling to represent surfaces and volumes and to optimise space related parameters, and the appropriate combination of these tools.

A characteristic feature of Open Design is the concept of floating goals, which is well known in industrial Research & Development and which plays an important role in urban planning. The purpose of having a goal in the future is that it gives direction to actions of today. When insight progresses as a result of those actions, however, a better goal can often be defined. Redefining goals when insight improves is accepted practice in industrial R&D, but rejected in the mainstream literature on construction project management. The same can be observed in urban planning where redefining goals is often neglected when it comes to the operational management of infrastructure projects and the preparation of the development of urban areas. Open Design enables working with goals and constraints that are never considered to be fixed.

Open Design has become a powerful tool for architects, construction engineers, and urban planners, which has been made possible by the spectacular progress in computer technology over the past decades: in memory capacity, in speed of processing and, most importantly, in user friendliness.

It is an unfortunate, but widely prevailing misconception that Open Design limits the freedom of designers and planners. The opposite is true. Open

Design enlarges the the possibility of finding unique solutions and combinations of sub-solutions.

The notion of a solution space, as opposed to a solution point, enables designers and planners to trade off the features of their solutions. If they wish to apply a new but expensive concept, Open Design analysis can reveal where concessions would help to make it affordable.

Open Design analysis can also identify concessions in the new designs and plans themselves, which could bring them within budgetary constraints. For instance, a designer made a design for a building consisting of an arrangement of dozens of rectangular blocks, of two different types: blocks of building space and blocks of open air. The design turned out to be too expensive. Open Design analysis then revealed that the concept would become feasible, if the designer were to limit the arrangement of blocks to four or five larger spaces of each kind. The knowledge of how much the new concept had to be changed enabled the designer to decide to accept the required concession. In this case, the computer drawing showed that the beauty of the concept had not suffered at all. If it had, the architect would have been free to discard it entirely.

In urban planning issues, Open Design can help to identify not only which stakeholders have to make concessions to make a plan feasible, but also to which extent they, collectively, have to make those concessions. This feature of Open Design opens ways to solutions that otherwise would not be possible.

Why then, one may wonder, is Open Design in urban planning predominantly applied only after everything else had failed? The reason appears to be that expert stakeholders, such as urban planners, perceive a loss of power to the benefit of laymen stakeholders, such as the future inhabitants of the urban area concerned, the local politicians, the investors, and the real estate owners.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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