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The inclusions afforded by a value-led design process for technology-nature hybrids in a walled kitchen garden

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This paper describes the importance of a values-led approach within a design collaboration in a National Trust garden in Nottinghamshire, UK. The project demonstrates the power of values to shape not only the designed artefacts but the whole design process.
The work responds to reports from the National Trust and other organizations of people’s increased disconnection from the natural world, and seeks to challenge the perception that technology is instrumental in fueling such detachment.
The primary contribution of our value-based and critically engaged design process is the creation of prototypes that embody values and act as a focal point for reflection and re-encounter by the stakeholder organization. A process that itself acts as a continuous prompt for renewed consideration of interpretation approaches and organizational messages.
The research involves the design of technology-nature hybrids for interpretation of a Walled Kitchen Garden, to support connection to nature. Designs are grounded in organizational values drawn from National Trust and researcher- designer values drawn from critical theory of technology. The project explores an area of intersecting and overlapping values and discusses the tensions experienced working in this space. The project illustrates how the inclusion of values and critical philosophy opens up new possibilities for the use of materials and technologies to increase our connection to nature.