• Day, Alan (PI)
  • Johnson, Peter (CoI)
  • Richens, Paul (CoI)

Project: Research council

Project Details


Design is normally thought of as an individual activity, or perhaps something that is carried out by a small team of experts. However, when it comes to urban design, the needs of a wide range of users have to be taken into account and it is highly beneficial if ways can be found to involve these users in the creative process. Participative Design is an excellent way of doing this and this project is concerned with enhancing the participative design process by investigating the feasibility of developing a set of digital tools that will enable non-experts to engage with design at a high level. Non- experts often find it difficult to understand conventional architectural drawings and so, when participative design exercises occur at the moment, extensive use is made of hand drawn sketches and simple card models. Although these tools are easy to use they are very limited in terms of what can be represented and this constrains the ways in which design ideas can be explained and developed. Over the past twenty years computer-aided design (CAD) has become commonplace in architects offices, to the point where conventional drawing boards are now a rarity. Although when CAD was first introduced it was very difficult to use, it has become more user-friendly and within the last few years a new generation of CAD packages have been introduced that have a much more intuitive feel to them. Also, as computers have become more powerful it is not longer necessary to have a workstation to run a CAD program as an entry-level laptop will suffice for all but the most demanding applications. This project aims to capitalise on these developments by investigating the possibility of adapting this technology to support participative design. This would allow participants to create much more realistic digital models of their ideas and visualise what they are designing in an accurate and convincing way. This project is a pilot study which will investigate whether a set of digital tools could be developed to aid the process of participative design. Its objectives are: 1. To understand how participative design operates currently through case studies of existing practice. 2. To investigate the potential of existing hardware and software to facilitate the process of participative design. 3. To describe how that hardware and software could be developed into a new set of tools specifically designed to support participative design.
Effective start/end date2/04/071/04/08


  • AHRC


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