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Participatory Design Research adopted by public Space Design

Kwok, Yan Chi Jackie;


Nowadays, many design researchers conduct user-centre design research. By collecting ideas from the targeted users’, they claim the problems of a design project can be solved more efficiently. Some scholars begin to question the uncritical consideration of ‘users’. They think that the goal of conventional ‘user research’ is in fact to motivate and control users’ consumption behaviours. As we position our research in the context of Participatory Action Research (PAR) which ‘insists upon the importance of democratizing social inquiry by actively engaging the subject in the design and conduct of research’ (Krimerman 2001), we want to know if the design practice can act as devices and process of democratic discussion on the design of public environment. In this paper, we will present a participatory project which enables older people, living in the new town Tseung Kwan O, to be involved in the design processes of a hiking route in their neighbourhood. We will see how the participants, equipped with ‘locally produced knowledge’, are able to propose suggestions for the landscape design of the route. For the workshop, we have designed a set of visual tool, acting as communication tool for participants of different backgrounds. During the workshop, the participants handled the tools with ease and discussed democratically. Their design suggestions show that they are in fact defining the route as a public place which allows easy access for all and enables diverse activities to take place, interrelated with social and cultural values and perceptions. The workshop we design has enabled the participants, being non design experts, to give design suggestions of the landscape in a democratic way. This project thus shows that design tools and methods are not just for making ‘things’ happen, but more radically, devices for making public action happens.


Palavras-chave: participatory design research, democratic action, public space design, public action,


DOI: 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0088

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Como citar:

Kwok, Yan Chi Jackie; "Participatory Design Research adopted by public Space Design", p. 605-610 . In: Tradition, Transition, Tragectories: major or minor influences? [=ICDHS 2014 - 9th Conference of the International Committee for Design History and Design Studies]. São Paulo: Blucher, 2014.
ISSN 2318-6968, DOI 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0088

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