The emergence of co-design has been linked to two design approaches: “user-centred design and participatory design.” (Cantoni, David, Sabiescu, 2013). During the 70s, design firms started the user centred design approach, “characterised by the reproduction or translation of user knowledge into principles and prescriptions that designers could work with.” (Santos, 2000). Sanoff states, “the activity of community design is based on the principle that the environment works better if the people affected by its changes are actively involved in its creation,” (Sanoff, H. 1999) (Adams, D & Tiesdell, S 2013) also support this statement. Furthermore, if there is a strong sense of community, they’re “more likely to respond positively to efforts to solve community problems.” (Sanoff, H 1999. Citied Morris, 1996). As the UK’s Urban Design Group suggests that “improving the quantity and quality of public involvement in urban design is one of the keys to improving the quality of the built environment.” (Wates, N. 1998)
(J.Azevedo in V. del Rio “Introducao ao Desenho Urbano”; Rio de Janeiro: Pini, 1990) .
Lecture with Prof Prue Chiles.
Chiles talked about the big challenge we face today, of building a sustainable community for the future. Working together “co-production, working locally and working globally.” She suggests there are two approaches to building sustainable communities; One is from the community involved perspective, finding methods of working with communities. The second is the Strategic view, “it’s not just professional but visionary” we need to look forward to how the built environment can be impacted and how it can improve with its end users. The lecture included both work from research and practice, one of those discussed was the Glass House Project. “Which was community involved and community lead design,” providing the community with access to and involvement within the design thinking process.
One part of the lecture I found interesting was methods for engaging with the community. The issue of communication between the designer and typical person, as Chiles states “designers speak in their own language, presenting people with ideas or plans they can’t read them.” There are different of ways of engaging the public, a live project with Sheffield University had an interesting way of tackling this issue. The council wanted a park and ride scheme, but residents were opposed to this, so they tried to find creative ways to engage and what the public wanted. They made a model, “people can understand, look down, touch them and play with them.” Through this dialog they found the better design ideas and improved efficiency. This lead to a set of “drawings of how a park and ride system can be much more than just a car park” but a creative and diverse project.
Methods for Working with Community
There are various methods and techniques employed by professionals to engage the public, methods employed are different between public institutions as well as practices and private developers.
Here is a general list of these methods;
• Participatory Evaluation
• Forming alliances or partnerships –organizations build trust and mechanisms for joint action.
• Asset mapping – “engages residents in identifying the resources and assets that can improve health, wellness, and quality of life.” (PD,2006.)
• Town Hall Meetings/Community Forums – engaging in broad-based community initiatives.
• Focus Groups – “community input enhanced dialogue among members when asked focused questions.” (PD,2006.)
• Capacity Building – social or personal development focusing on understanding the obstacles for reaching development goals.
• Nominal Group Technique – involves identifying problems, generating solutions and decision making.
• The Logic Model Process – used to evaluate the effectiveness of a program.
The Ouseburn Valley Development
In the case of The Ouseburn Valley which is an area of bottom up regeneration which 1NG describes as “a vibrant and creative community, which attracts people who are looking for something different.” (GHC, NCC, 2015.) The canvas works project carried out by Miciukiewicz proved unsuccessful although data collected provided beneficial. The case study explored two methods for participation, Question Street and Open Space. The first was an exercise engaging local stakeholders “expressing their views on importance” (Miciukiewicz, K. 2013) on a specific issue thus grouping people with shared views. The second was to test self-builders to develop the site had, “shared the same level of commitment and resources can be unlocked.” (Miciukiewicz, K. 2013)
The recent wave of regeneration in Ouseburn has seen a positive outcome from participation, as the developers Igloo Regeneration worked with local groups Ouseburn Futures and Ouseburn Trust. The Mailings development employed conventional techniques alongside an online platform for engagement. Organisational groups hosted their own community participation events and the annual Ouseburn Festival was used to “encourage participation and social regeneration, build self-confidence and citizenship amongst participants.” (EEOCFA, 2016)
To conclude with, the extent of involvement (“consultation level”) (Arnstein, 1969) allowed the developers to ensure the development was best suited to the needs of the people. Successful community programs like this around the UK provide me with a glimmer of hope that future placemaking is made for people and by the people.