Narrative Ecology


The framework is a collection of interrelated concepts informed by ecology theory 
using narrative techniques, based on the belief that the component parts of a design solution can best be understood in the context of the relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation.

The methodology begins the process of searching, evaluating and understanding the research, while the actor stories conclude the process by putting forward both plausible and alternative design realities.

The Narrative Ecology framework attempts to act as a reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making framework for the design process, determining the comprehensive components and processes, as well as the inter-relationships found within them, in order to inform design development.

Narrative ecology explores how knowledge comes from the natural world and how human knowledge emanates from other forms of peoplehood. Many indigenous paradigms of knowledge incorporate the recognition that traditional ecological knowledges evolve through relationships which acknowledge and accept the agency, or actantiality, of all life forms. Thus, human life and meaning are co-created by a living universe that is active in various dimensions of existence. (Gonzalez, 2012)

Participants in Narrative Ecology

A participant is defined here as an actor receiving, contributing and/or determining the solution. ‘Participant’ is used here in place of the more traditional term ‘user’, to emphasize the active nature of interaction.

Space in Narrative Ecology

A space can be defined as an actor embodied in the virtual or physical built environment, and therefore exerting a presence that can be defined in terms of a spatial analysis of light, volume, obstacles and flow routines, amongst others.

Things in Narrative Ecology

Things are designed objects, products or services, with specific roles. As actors, these exert a design-centered view of the world of activities and meaningful relationships which participants have with it.


Gonzales, P. (2012) Ant medicine: a narrative ecology. Chicana/Latina Studies, 11 (2), 82-93. Retrieved March 13, 2021, from