Participation x Action symposium

Participation x Action was the leading theme of the Participatory City Making symposium, held on Wednesday, February 20th, at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, TU Delft. Project leader Ingrid Mulder welcomed a diverse group of city makers, existing of students, researchers, policy makers, designers and entrepreneurs to actively join the closing event of the NWO funded Research through Design project Participatory City Making. Consequently, the first part of the symposium showcased the main research insights, presented by Emma Puerari, Jotte de Koning, Berit Piepgras and Gaston Gelissen, and opened a lively debate with the audience. One of the main insights is citizens and civil servants should not be seen as two opposing stakeholders, instead both parties can innovative and active contribute to transitions. In other words, within the government as well as grassroot initiatives there are forces that have the potential to change the regime. The so-called interaction space between those two is the space where the changes will happen. Before the break Eva van Genuchten released a card set, that summarized both research insights and design examples of the Participatory City Making.

Pictures were made by Dennis Wendersteyt and Barro de Reus.

After a coffee break, the event continued with a panel discussion moderated by Peter van Waart. The discussion was about two main topics, and four panel members were asked for their opinion: Gerard Nijboer, Jorn Wemmenhove, Alicia Calderon Gonzalez and Federico Rita. The first one being Participation x Action: How do these two relate? Do they strengthen each other, or are they opposing each other? The panel members thought the two were very intertwined in many ways, and resulted in an interesting debate how participation differs across cultures and how the Dutch are generally seen as very actionable. The second topic stressed the role of the designer in facilitating these processes. Everybody thought that designers could and should play an important role here. But then who is the designer? And can everybody be one?

The final part of the symposium highlighted a few ongoing projects that continue the research collaboration in city making. Nazanin Hedayati of Stimuleringsfonds introduced our collaboration in the Program ‘Anders werken aan Stad, dorp en land’ that utilizes the gained insights in a workshop series for municipalities on the value of participatory city making and city labs. Alicia Calderon Gonzalez promoted Designscapes open call for pilots that stimulates pilots on Design Enabled Innovation in the urban context, and Paula Steenstra pitched her project Verhaalt that was developed in Participatory City Making and that has received Designscapes funding for a feasibility study. Of course, we are keen to collaborate with other city makers too. If you are interested to join, let us know!

You can have a look at the presentation slides below: