Collaborative Design

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Collaborative design covers a broad range of methods and techniques used to engage citizen participants in a project's design process from the beginning. Collaborative design is a broad term that may refer to more specific methods like collaborative planning, events that follow a collaborative design such as hackathons, or approaches to governance and policymaking.

Problems and Purpose

Many methods of participatory governance only involve citizens in one aspect of the process. For example, officials may consult citizens before designing and implementing a project or citizens may be consulted after a range of alternate designs have been drafted. Collaborative design on the other hand, typically refers to methods that include citizens from the beginning - during the intitial drafting process - until the end - sometimes continuing their engagement after the project's finalization. 


Participant Selection

Participant selection will depend on the kind of design project and the chosen combination of methods and techniques. However, since the method is quite time and resource intensive, participant selection is usually targeted or drawn from a representative sample. For example, organizers using collaborative design for the redevelopment of an urban area may only select from among those living near to the area or who are directly affected by the construction.

Depending on the specific method or project, collaborative design may involve engaging multiple stakeholders, as in collaborative planning, or citizens and other actors such as researchers, as in community-based participatory research.

Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction

The process of collaborative design often follows a set methodology which may also incorporate various tools and techniques of deliberation and decision making. For example, multi-criteria analysis or thematic dialogue tables may be used during an Enquiry-by-Design

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Collaborative methods usually have several positive effects on the participants such as increased trust in government officials, belief in the legitimacy of the design and decision-making process, and a heightened sense of ownership over the finished product. 

Analysis and Lessons Learned


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