Participatory Systems

Participatory Systems



The Participatory Systems initiative is headed by prof. dr. Frances Brazier. The initiative is part of the Systems Engineering Section at the Faculty of Technology Policy and Management at the Delft University of Technology.

Our mission

Our current society is deeply networked at all levels, in formal and informal contexts, from personal endeavours and local communities to businesses and governmental institutions. Participation in such a profoundly networked society is key to individual and collective human well-being.

Participatory systems enable individuals, groups, and organisations to act and take responsibility in their ever-changing environments. TPM’s Participatory Systems Lab focuses on the design of participatory systems and processes.

What are participatory systems?

Participatory Systems are complex socio-technical systems, each with a specific mission characterised by self-organisation and emergence, designed to embrace the core values for participation:

  • trust: social acceptance, transparency, security
  • empowerment: autonomy, ownership, pro-activeness
  • engagement: involvement, interaction, collaboration

The design
Participatory systems design mandates an interdisciplinary and systems-based perspective. The main approach combines insights from Engineering Sciences, Computer Science, and Mathematics with insights from Humanities, Arts, Psychology, and Social Sciences.

The research
Specific research approaches include value-based design, multi-agent systems modelling and simulation, participatory modelling, AI, gaming and simulation, affective computing, distributed computing, and artistic research.

Participatory’s Lab

Domains of expertise in the Participatory Systems Lab include energy systems, supply-demand networks, agricultural chains, disaster management, civil engagement, and health management – all complex multi-actor systems. Research in the Participatory Systems Lab connects specifically to courses such as Complex Systems Design and Engineering (SEN1121), Advanced Agent Based Modelling (SEN9120), Participatory Systems Design (SEN 9115) and MSc graduation projects. But the research also flows into other courses such as Systems Modelling 2 and 3,  and Design in Networked Systems.

The overall objectives of the Participatory Systems Lab are:

  1. Creating a community of researchers  involved in participatory systems research
  2. Facilitating research collaboration on participatory systems design
  3. Enhancing visibility of our participatory systems research
  4. Contribute to current and future sociotechnical/participatory systems education across TPM (see below)