A new special issue on „Critical Computational Relations in Design, Architecture and the Built Environment,” co-edited by postdoctoral researcher Yana Boeva and visiting professor Vernelle A.A. Noel, was published in Digital Creativity. The special issue includes contributions that position computational design and technologies in wider sites of world-building and their power relations. The five accounts each combine a specific empirical case (e.g. media architecture, heritage buildings, data practices in simulations, urban design, digital tufting and crafts) with a critical reading of its computational relations. (e.g. through critical data studies, science and technology studies, digital humanities and oral history, feminist studies, or ethnography).
Computation in design, architecture and the built environment, and its practices, methods, and tools frequently offer ‘neutral’ and ‘optimized’ techno-solutions to (social) design problems. Such a portrayal of these computational infrastructures as neutral solutions that open participation in design hides the social, political, and environmental entanglements involved in their creation and expansion. This special issue spotlights power relations between computational practices, technology infrastructures, knowledge, and their reproductions of bias at multiple scales.