Adapting refers to both reconfiguring existing conditions, but also designing with a view to future adaptation.
It is in the nature of our world to want to classify things, to fix them into single categories and into single uses. It is also in the interest of the market to name specific commodities, because that allows them to proliferate: who ever knew you needed that car vacuum-cleaner, that eyelid cream? But these classifications are also constructions of scarcity. First by fixing use they limit use. In most western cities there is a scarcity of one form of use (typically housing) and abundance of others (typically industrial and commercial), but cultural and regulatory codes keep the two realms separate. Scarcity is thus solidified. Secondly, multiple classifications proliferate redundancy and accelerate extraction. Scarcity is thus exaggerated.
Design thus needs to adapt the existing, so one category becomes another, a house an office. Adaptation also refers to the redesign of systems that have codified the scarcity. A second role is to design for future adaptation and against the single category, so the objects and spaces can assume multiple and hybrid uses thereby avoiding future redundancy.
Image by Carey James Balboa via Wikimedia Commons