This chapter focuses on the design of presence in merging realities as approached in the social and design sciences. Presence is a fuzzy concept. Many methodologies implicitly include or exclude presence as value for design.

Current presence research focuses on creating the sense of presence in being-there, but it most often does not address larger issues of societal impact of presence design. In our day-to-day lives in social networks and pervasive ubiquitous technologies upon which fundamental processes of life depend in network societies, on- and offline realities merge. The being-here and the being-there are one in human experience.
Presence design is not design for specific behaviour for presence; it is meta-design; it is designing for choice and trade-offs between choices. It is design for experience in which current and historical contexts are taken into account together with actual perceptions and understanding. Both scientific, design and artistic research contribute to presence design.
Despite all of the current models of thinking, the current speed and scale of technological innovation is changing our lives profoundly. It is as if we are part of a global experiment in which dynamics of information, communication and transaction, all fundamental to society, are changing. Dynamics that have existed for over a thousand of years of building up experience and social structures, markets and structures of governance to be able to live together. Today systems of law and systems of value exchange are all under pressure. We, as human beings, are changing as result of the global network society.
The strive for well-being and survival is deep in our DNA and will keep on defining what will happen next. By incorporating presence as a value for design, and configuring design processes accordingly, ‘old’ human experience will have a chance to resonate and inform future generations to come for designing and creating a social, technological and ecological environment worth living in.

CN , Frances Brazier