reconceptualising civic participation in the urban planning process
Systems Oriented design + democracy
My first semester at AHO was spent diving into the complexities of democracy and the built environment through Systems Oriented Design. The course allowed me to bring together my experience working with the built environment, my education in international studies (a highly systemic field), and pushed me to reconsider what design can be and do. The course focused on developing a systemic sensitivity, exploring what design for democracy can be, and was focused on the local context in Tønsberg, Norway.
Through extended site visits to Tønsberg, meetings with officials, urban planners and local people, I decided to focus on how design can be used to redefine public participation in the formal Area Planning process. Interviews with planners, developers, architects and other stakeholders in the formal processes highlighted several priority targets for design interventions: trust, communication, capacity, knowledge and accountability.
My final design proposal centred on a participatory urban festival, modelled after the successful 100in1Day series of urban events. The goal of the project was to move urban planning process to places where citizen engagement is already high, surrounding the legally-mandated (and often unsuccessful) consultative methods with a vibrant network of citizen-led events.