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Meaningful Inefficiencies – Civic Design in an Age of Digital Expediency - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Meaningful Inefficiencies: Civic Design in an Age of Digital Expediency

Eric Gordon and Gabriel Mugar


Public trust in civic organizations is low. And many public-serving organizations assume that greater efficiency will build trust. As a result, they are quick to adopt new technologies to enhance what they do. However, efficiency, in the sense of charting a path to a goal with the least amount of friction, can sometimes be at odds with the goal of building trust. This book is about those practices that challenge the normative applications of “smart technologies” in order to build or repair trust with publics. Based on over 60 interviews with change makers in public-serving organizations throug ... More

Keywords: civic, innovation, play, care, publics, smart city, engagement, governance, human-centered design, participatory design

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780190870140
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190870140.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Eric Gordon, author
Professor and Director of the Engagement Lab, Emerson College

Gabriel Mugar, author
Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University

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