Training for Community Dialogue

The problems of power and democracy in community dialogue

training for architects and city planners at Chalmers
with reflections from Deleuze, Butler and Foucault

The view of communication has been stuck in the metaphors of transport and representation. The philosophy of Deleuze regards communication as a stream passing by, rather than as transport from A-B (community- architect, architect-community): We will train techniques for intensifying  communication (Deleuze), rather than interviewing local people about their view. The dialogue with the community will be part of actual becoming rather than to look for authentic representations. The purpose is production of problems rather than asking for solutions-ready-to-use. Deleuze understands community democracy as ‘becoming democracy’  rather than representation of attitude.

A dialogue between architects and a local community will be part of different local and global power structures, and it will create its own power. We will train practical tools for counteracting power – sexism, racism, classism, intellectualism, ableism. The tools are developed from the power criticism by Foucault and in feminist theory.

Nonlinear quick exercises in project teams

Use rounds before free discussion.

Secretary writes down ideas on different papers and put them on the wall.


On one map per team: use color to draw different flows: speed, rest.

Each members in the team will imagine different flows and draw them on the map: children to school, smaller children, children with a parent, young people different ages, leaving for job, coming for job.

Mark intersections between different flows.

Build bifurcations

Use the flow-map and micro-square-map and make some bifurcations. Bifurcations could create new connections, contacts, friendship, comfort, safe places.

  1. Parents with children-workers coming back from work
  2. Office space-housing
  3. Retired peoples house-school-Mixgården
  4. Workshops-housing


Use the same map to mark different (possible) micro-squares in Hammarkullen. (Wash houses, meeting places in a back yard, at a parking lot, benches, intersections.)

Intensify and develop micro squares

  1. Wash houses (Party, scene, neighbourhood café, club house)
  2. Places for barbeque
  3. Intersections
  4. Make an unsafe or dark place into a micro-square
  5. Intensify food stores as micro-squares
  6. Create micro-squares inside apartment houses
  7. On a roof
  8. Parking place (fixing cars, benches, chess )

Build molecules

Molecules, composition, assemblage rather the holistic or atomistic thinking.

Molecule: change the quality of the different parts when connecting them. Parts are intensifying each other.

Different teams create molecules. Each place has to change each other, intensify each other in some way to make it into a molecule:

  1. Isolate places around Hammarkullen square. Rebuild to make them a molecule with the square.
  2. Children play ground, barbeque, party family or dance.
  3. Parking lot and the flower-benches at Sandeslätt entrance.
  4. Sikh temple, Tomaskyrkan and the Muslim sport house.
  5. Connect different micro-squares with bifurcations.

Build affect

Affect as an attractive force, and as a motor.

Build places which create affect as a pull force, attractive force.

Make a place where the Hammarkullen carnival can create affect the year around (not only in May).

  1. Make the Hammarkullen carnival a year around carnival (dance practice, make dresses, dance lessons)
  2. Sub way stop (music, coffee)
  3. Intensify affect on different spots (sub-squares) on the big square. Intensify affects between the sub-squares.
  4. Create affect with different games

Create nonlinear projects

Use a nonlinear thinking to create a few design projects in each team, at least one for each member in the team.

Divide the projects in the team. Each member in the team will describe at least one idea on a paper, analyse flow, possible bifurcations and molecules, affect forces. Use different papers for each idea.

Look at each others papers and add more ideas which would be written on the paper.

Define design projects

The vibes watcher change team. In the new team, s/he becomes the external consultant which is hired by the team (and s/he also becomes the new vibes watcher in the team).

The external consultant will define the ideas into projects in dialog with the team.

The consultant will with some help from the meeting facilitator create a process: Both ask the team about what is done, and define the next step.

The secretary writes it down on papers and put it on the wall. (Different paper for each project.)

Create positive and constructive problems

14 The power intervener/time watcher meets with Jenny and Per.

What is the difference between positive or negative problems, creating value or filling an absence and a lack of something?

14:20 the power intervener/time watcher change team and becomes the client (the one paying). The client will ask the team to solve positive problems for each project (do this in dialogue with the team).

Put the positive problems on the wall under the connecting projects.

Apply for projects

Apply for three projects (not more than 1/3 page for each project).

In your application put your name, experience.

What can you contribute with in this specific project?

What value do you think these projects can create?

What connections (bifurcations, molecules, compositions) can be built in the projects?


Per Herngren
2009, version 0.1


This course is developed from an international training Per Herngren hold for architects from 2008 to 2012.

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