Design as Democracy | Techniques for Collective Creativity

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Washington, DC (November 15, 2017)—For decades, collaborative design has helped enliven neighborhoods and promote racial, economic, and social justice. But in an era marked by climate change, growing income inequality, and major advances in technology, designers are acknowledging the limitations of public forums and other conventional methods of community engagement.

Edited by six leaders in the field, Design as Democracy (Publication Date: December 7, 2017) reinvigorates democratic design. It offers fresh insights for creating meaningful dialogue between designers and communities in the 21st Century and for transforming places with justice and democracy in mind.

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Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Edition no. 3 (12/07/2017)

Featuring contributions from the most experienced and respected figures in community design, as well as emerging democratic designers, Design as Democracy presents 60 techniques for engaging with communities in empowering and effective ways. The book’s nine chapters reflect the progression of the community design process: from approaching the initial stages of a project, to getting to know a community, to provoking political change through strategic thinking.

Featured techniques range from “Cellphone Diaries” and “Cross-Cultural Prototyping” to “The Spatial Design Game” and “Mapping Environmental Injustice.” Clear, numbered instructions and real-world case stories reinforce key concepts, while guided worksheets encourage practical application. Readers may approach the book as they would a cookbook, with recipes open to improvisation, adaptation, and being created anew.

Design as Democracy itself is an open, democratic way of sharing techniques and stories that should spark additional approaches to reform democratic design. Filled with inspiration, techniques, and case stories for a wide range of contexts, this essential collection belongs in the hands of anyone striving to create vibrant, important places.

David de la Peña is an architect, urban designer and Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Davis. Diane Jones Allen is Director of the Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Texas, Arlington, and Principal Landscape Architect of DesignJones LLC. Randolph T. Hester, Jr. champions cultural and biological diversity through his writing and built work in complex political environments. Jeffrey Hou is Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington, Seattle. Laura J. Lawson is Dean of Agriculture and Urban Programs at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Marcia J. McNally runs The Neighborhood Laboratory, an on-demand community design center in Durham, North Carolina.

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