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The Craft of Participatory Design: Inspirational Methods in the Co-Production of Urban Space

Lookup NU author(s): Daniel MalloORCiD, Rorie Parsons, Armelle Tardiveau



This paper reports on research funded work in the UK, which seeks to overcome the limitations of mainstream engagement practice by deploying a collaborative approach in the design of urban settings. It highlights a methodological framework based on ‘inspirational participation’, an approach that attempts to examine the tacit, invisible aspects of human activity. Participation is often tinted by a number of perceived restrictions as well as preconceived views limiting the imagination of transforming a place. The craft of participatory design work cannot be overstated as it takes time and skill to reveal the tacit knowledge about places residing in their residents. The main challenge lies in the articulation of inspirational methods that provide a framework to think beyond the known limitations and help activate dialogue and imagination for the future of urban space. Inspirational participation concerns an iterative process over time for relationship building, establishing a shared material language between all involved, which empower users in the design process by working with them rather than for them. This is illustrated through a case study involving Newcastle University, UK charity Sustrans and local users, as part of Sustrans’ widely-trialled DIY Streets project.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mallo D, Parsons R, Tardiveau A

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Culture in Urban Space Urban Form, Cultural Landscapes, Life in the City. Copenhagen, Denmark

Year of Conference: 2016

Pages: 28-28

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Date deposited: 02/12/2018

Publisher: Island Dynamics