cover of book

Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity
edited by David de la Pena, Diane Jones Allen, Randolph T. Hester, Jr., Jeffrey Hou, Laura J. Lawson and Marcia J. McNally
Island Press, 2017
Paper: 978-1-61091-847-3 | eISBN: 978-1-61091-848-0
Library of Congress Classification HT241.D469 2017
Dewey Decimal Classification 307.1416

Winner of the Environmental Design Research Association's 2018 Book Award

How can we design places that fulfill urgent needs of the community, achieve environmental justice, and inspire long-term stewardship? By bringing community members to the table, we open up the possibility of exchanging ideas meaningfully and transforming places powerfully. Collaboration like this is hands-on democracy in action. It’s up close. It’s personal. For decades, participatory design practices have helped enliven neighborhoods and promote cultural understanding. Yet, many designers still rely on the same techniques that were developed in the 1950s and 60s. These approaches offer predictability, but hold waning promise for addressing current and future design challenges. Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity is written to reinvigorate democratic design, providing inspiration, techniques, and case stories for a wide range of contexts.

Edited by six leading practitioners and academics in the field of participatory design, with nearly 50 contributors from around the world, Design as Democracy shows how to design with communities in empowering and effective ways. The flow of the book’s nine chapters reflects the general progression of community design process, while also encouraging readers to search for ways that best serve their distinct needs and the culture and geography of diverse places. Each chapter presents a series of techniques around a theme, from approaching the initial stages of a project, to getting to know a community, to provoking political change through strategic thinking. Readers may approach the book as they would a cookbook, with recipes open to improvisation, adaptation, and being created anew.

Design as Democracy offers fresh insights for creating meaningful dialogue between designers and communities and for transforming places with justice and democracy in mind.
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