UXer Jess Eddy describes collaborative design as “a great facilitation tool that helps get the best ideas on the table by engaging various different stakeholders with different perspectives.” Jess compares it to user experience (UX) in that both allow for problem solving in different contexts:
Much like in my experience for using collaborative design methods to design digital experiences, the process almost allows urban designs to unfold naturally since this type of facilitation and structure allows a space for solution thinking to occur and thrive. Designers and Urban Planners still have an important job to do, which is to execute on the actual design while using the valuable information produced by the group, but solutions are much more readily available and much of the guesswork is removed. Especially considering that the feedback is coming from people living in the environment that is being designed.
Cool. These days, sustainable is synonymous with equitable. Cities that aren’t made for the folks who live in them won’t last. Planners, legislators and designers will do a better job the first time around if they account for the experiences and concerns of everyone they work for.
The challenge is to build quality feedback loops. A few of these examples work well for local engagement and reporting. The problem tree, for instance, seems great for connecting community orgs with local governments and design agencies, using mobile apps. Which goes well with what I wrote about civic participation here.