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Scaffolding is... brief introduction here (1 or 2 short paragraphs, to help the reader decide whether it's worth reading further on)

Framework or Concept

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Scaffolding typology

Types of scaffolding:

  • Building scaffolds are probably the most well-known type of scaffolding. These temporary structures enable building crews to construct new buildings or maintain existing ones. Once the work is complete, the scaffold is removed. It does not become part of the structure, but enables its construction. This type of scaffolding is erected with knowledge of the final shape of the building and the work to be done.
  • Neural lattices or scaffolds are not removed and do not dissolve away. They persist as part of the new structure, but are transformed in the process. One example, the Bionic Cardiac Patch, is formed by seeding nanoscale electronic scaffolds or mesh-like structures with cardiac cells. Once the cells have regenerated cardiac tissue and a patch has formed, the electronic components from the original scaffold are integrated throughout the tissue, creating an ‘internal pacemaker’ able to detect arrhythmia and deliver correcting electrical shocks far sooner and operating at far lower voltages than traditional pacemakers. What if frameworks and tools were used as scaffolds, like the nano-patch?
  • Skin grafts or nutrient lattices are examples of another type of scaffold that is made of shark cartilage and cow-derived collagen, the protein found in all connective tissue, applied to burn wounds. The texture and nutrients within the lattice activates skin cells in the body called fibroblasts to start generating human collagen. As the body produces more and more collagen, the connective tissue begins to work its way up the artificial scaffolding, slowly building a new dermis. Over time the artificial scaffolding dissolves away, leaving no trace of the lattice. This type of scaffold is designed to activate or catalyze an internal capability and then disappear.
  • Keystone scaffolds are integral to supporting other structures, but become invisible or forgotten over time. Arcs are supported by scaffolding until the keystone is in place. The structure then has structural stability and more can be built on it. Keystones enable foundations for other structures to be built upon. The high structural ability enables the construction of many other structures on top of the original arch, so much that we may forget where that arch is. Accidentally removing a keystone could cause a collapse of the structure.
  • Shadow scaffolding is an emergent property of multiple interactions over long periods of time. The infrastructure that supports extreme sports involves training, peer group interaction, technology developments and apprentice type practices. It evolves over a long period of time, and is not necessarily explicitly stated or known. Shadow scaffolding cannot be designed, and is often tacit, i.e. it can only be understood with the benefit of hindsight.



  • reference related principles here...


Concepts and metaphors



Articles and books

  • Pendleton-Jullian, A.M.; Brown, J.S. Design Unbound: Designing for Emergence in a White Water World; The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 2018; Volume 2.

Blog posts

Other references