A Catalyst for Change: An Examination of Citizen-driven Placemaking (CDP)

This project explores the phenomenon of placemaking and how a design systems approach can enable community members to participate in this process.

Citizen-driven placemaking (CDP) can be defined as residents of a community taking ownership of public urban space and repurposing it for their own benefit or need using guerrilla tactics. Examples of CDP can include a range of urban interventions from temporary to permanent installations and activities, among other ephemeral occupations.

CDP provides an opportunity for citizens to be activists in their community, creating meaningful places driven by their needs rather than government agencies or developers who may not understand the intrinsic needs of that group.

The benefits of these interventions can include beautification of blight, city “improvements,” artistic interventions for self-expression, activism and/or politically charged occupations, among others. Often, with sophisticated communication and technology, these interventions can evolve into global movements, thus becomingĀ a catalyst for change.

In this research, we begin to categorize types of CDP projects by examining characteristics such as motivation, practice, tactics, and outcomes. Through the examination of multiple case studies, we are able to summarize findings and learnings.

Examples of Placemaking

Moving Forward

This research will be presented at theĀ Ninth International Conference on Design Principles and Practices, March 12-14, 2015.

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