“I am Alfred” An Exercise in Mapping, and Designing Suitable Scenarios


What when all the pieces mentioned come into play? Using a true story a map is made, a scenario is projected in it and the character of experimental interventions is determined. Let’s walk through the whole procedure.

This is about an urban neighbourhood known for bad things. There is a tradition of taking celebrations as a reason for destruction. City government intent on ridding the city of lawlessness preemptively shuts down the neighbourhood, with a police force guarding crush barriers at the entrances of the neigbourhood. Police officers there are not all happy with the situation. One of them tells a neighbourhood community member that she would rather be on the other side of the barrier. “I want to serve your interests, rather than those of the police,” she says.
That is taken as an invitation to start a discussion on something a group of mothers in the neighbourhood have been talking about. Them too being fed up with what has become a normal ritual of breaking things and intimidating people they have been wondering what they can do. Especially the fact that young kids are drawn into the rampage is reason enough to not just depend on law enforcement.
“We have plans to do our thing,” one of the mothers says. “But it would be so useful to have a sound cooperation with you guys,” referring to the police officers present. They are uneasy. “We are not even allowed to talk with you,” one of them explains the painful situation.

Who is involved?

In the story there are two kinds of players, initially. On one side of the barrier there are not just community members, but mothers. That is a role that needs to be specified here. Then there are police officers. They have a role as such. They are seen in their uniform and as uniform

Who are they linked to?

There is the immediate story and the players. They are all linked to others who do not participate in the interaction at the barrier, but who do determine in part what the character of the interaction is. These are added to the map.

Determining roles, stages, passages

Using the legend of signs and symbols the map shows the character of how people play, in which context and what kind of contact there is.

Playing with the map

What are fetching trajectories through the territory that has been mapped?
In the example the input of the mother of one of the mothers at the barrier was taken as a starting point. On the other end of what could be called a sce- nario there is a police executive in her public function.

Designing experimental interventions – 1

How do we make the elements in the scenario stick together? What do we add to make the story exciting?
In the last step in the mapping procedure we are helped by controversies.
There is tension between the mother at the barrier, and her mother with a story that touches general notions on how to go about conflicts. It is hard to put those in practice at the barrier.
The tension also exists at the barrier, between the mother in the scenario and one of the police officers.

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Designing experimental interventions – 2

While the mother addresses immediate concerns within the community the police officer is fully aware of his public role in the enforcement of the law.
That does not stand in the way of picking up on the concerns there are, and the initiatives taken. The third challenge is to find ways to relay what happened at the barrier up the police force hierarchy in a way that sets things in motion.
Outcome of the exercise is a scenario and a set of experiments aimed at diving into the controversies within the scenario.
And then: “Let’s try things out!”


In all this, we at Design for Governance attempt to make a very complex exercise doable.
And -to an extent- learnable.
If we have succeeded, you will have a lot of questions.
Please do not hesitate to contact us.