Background. Cites are experiencing a growing social crisis: lack of social cohesion; insufficient public services; decreasing support by traditional social forms (as families and neighbours); growing sense of loneliness. The gap between the growing demand and the shrinking offer of care is the basis of the present care crisis: a lack of care that is not only practical (the caring system doesn’t succeed in coping with the care demand), but also
psychological (the sense of loneliness deriving by the lack of sense of care throughout the whole society). To overcome this crisis a brand new care system has to be imagined and enhanced. To move in this direction, a first step is to better understand caring activities, considering their nature and diversity.
Hypothesis. If the close (social or institutional) organizations of the past cannot cope with the dimension and complexity of the present demand of care, they must be opened. That is: the care activities must be divided in smaller/lighter tasks, and allocated to a large number of actors, each one giving what he/she is capable/willing to give.
Vision. It is possible to imagine a socio-technical environment in which the people’s caring and collaborating capabilities are made available, sustained, coordinated creating new forms of networks between individuals and families, living nearby, willing and capable to support and help each other in both practical and psychological terms. We will call them networks of care.
Course aims. The course introduces and discusses the notion of “networks of care”. That is, networks of caregivers aiming at collaboratively solving care-related problems. The focus is on two issues:
How a network of care distributes the needed care activities among a multiplicity of
individuals and organizations (from the highly specialized actors and dedicated
institutions, to family members, friends and neighbours with no specific knowledge
and limited time availability).
How the collaborative encounters on which these care activities are based can be
defined and characterized (considering their actors’ involvement and relational
Course organization. The course is a short reflexive design exercise. It combines lectures, work in groups and collective discussions: lectures start and feed the conversation with general topics (in this case on the potentialities of networks of care); work groups imagine some service ideas; collective discussions use these ideas to deepen the proposed general topics.