Project Focus: Value and Values for Design of Technologies

This project focuses on a study of how Values (ethical principles) and Value (resource allocation priorities) influence the design of solutions in smart and connected communities. The problem points to an intriguing set of concerns that scholars have grappled with across a number of domains including philosophy, critical studies in technology, technology design, engineering design, and design practice. In spite of these investigations, solutions for smart and connected communities continue to be viewed primarily as efficiency-enhancing or convenience-maximizing, as opposed to direct contributors to improved quality of life in domains such as health and education. Without the benefit of an endogenous perspective, primary influences on design tend to be resource constraints and the designers’ understanding of a particular problem.

To address the problem, this project focuses on (a) one specific problem for (b) one specific community: (a) managing health-related information for (b) the elderly, living at home, in an urban setting.

Our work takes place primarily in Waltham, Mass, in collaboration with the Council on Aging in Waltham, and the City Officials, starting with the City Council. The research team is working on two fronts: empirical work to understand values and value priorities of both, the elderly community and the city officials; and designing, building and deploying elements of a technical solution aimed at addressing the problem of managing health-related information.

For further information, contact Sandeep Purao at