Architectures of control

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —July 24, 2007
Filed in Culture

Just discovered this interesting blog on how designers are using the built environment to control our behaviour. There is an interesting post on how a European airport cafe removed all the handy flight monitors in their vicinity so patrons would not sit in the cafe too long. They would get worried that they might have missed their flight. I remember McDonalds doing something similar by installing immovable and uncomfortable chairs.

Here is how the Dan Lockton describes his blog topic.

Architectures of Control’ are features designed into things which intentionally attempt to restrict or enforce certain behaviour on the part of the users. The most prevalent examples are DRM and other attempts to control how users can interact with software and data, but similar thinking (in different degrees) is evident in many aspects of the built environment – such as anti-loiter and anti-homeless benches – and in product design in general. The term ‘architectures of control’ is used by Lawrence Lessig in the seminal Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, although the basic idea has been expressed in a number of fields by many different people.

And did you know that there are water detection stickers on phones?

(via Savage Minds)

Technorati Tags: ,

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:


  1. Richard Hare says:

    This reminds me of an independent comic book from the 80s called “Mister X”. The central character had invented a discipline called “psychetecture” which he used to design a city which would unconsciously influence its inhabitants to live happily. The conflict in the story arose from a developer who cut corners and built a city which was slowly driving its people insane.

Comments are closed.