Universal Design seeks to contribute to the sustainability and inclusivity of communities and co-design and participatory methods are a critical tool in this evolution. The fact that technology permeates our society is undeniable and the form and materials that technology takes in turn shape the basics of human life such as being able to shower and toilet oneself. In contrast, the various existing approaches to co-design have very different sorts of metaphysical, epistemological and normative assumptions behind them. As a result, design has recognised a set of problems surrounding the position of the “user” in design innovation. Additionally, there are many different perspectives on technology and the role of technology in co-design methods. Consequently, there are a number of different ways of conceiving of the “problem” of integrating technologies into co-design methods. Traditionally, participatory design has been viewed as merely the insertion of a more public dialog of the potential target market within technological design practices. Our research indicates that most if not all co-designers rely on their own personal and collective knowledge and experience and that if this is not actively explored as a part of a co-design methodology that both participation and innovation will be less than hoped for. For instance, assuming only known fixtures, fittings with current codes and standards is unlikely to result in product innovation.
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