Emerging spaces in community-based participatory design: reflections from two case studies

Amalia G. Sabiescu, Salomão David, Izak van Zyl, Lorenzo Cantoni


This paper engages with issues of universality and locality in the context of community-based participatory design (PD), and focuses on the challenges and opportunities associated with incorporating local views and forms of participation in the design process. The notion of 'designing for participation' is advanced as a quintessential perspective for approaches in which design practices are re-configured from a community-centric standpoint. Building on insights from PD and community development studies, as well as on empirical evidence from two community design studies, we argue that designing for participation appears to be located in a space between the designer's and local views of participation, which are at times both ambiguous and conflicting. To overcome these tensions, we argue for the importance of engaging critically and reflectively with PD in community contexts, and in this process capitalising on disciplinary dialogues that can expand the viewpoint from which PD projects are negotiated and evaluated.

Full text at ACM