Online Conference, 25-26 March 2021 | SDN Symposium
SDN Symposium
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14:00 - 15:30


In this session we are discussing design as common good from perspectives that try to understand different levels and methods of governance and their impact on communities.
We will be discussing aspects of equitable access to information, the role of codesign in policy making and participatory approaches to building relationships and trust. Each paper presents a case study that reveals moments of frictions in the process of community participation. Identified limitations to inclusivity and to the mechanisms and processes of community involvement include:

  • Inequality issues of participatory methods.
  • Barriers to accessibility of information, knowledge, interfaces, processes and physical manifestations.
  • A lack of a mutually respectful approach to trust building within institutions and between institutions and communities and between communities.

This session aims at the articulation of recommendations and approaches to overcome frictions between actors that contribute to the design of protocols that support more equal relationships. Structure of session:

  • Pre-circulation of papers.
  • Co-presentation of papers by authors.
  • Break-out group explorations of recommendations and approaches.
  • Sharing of explorations.

Panel speakers

Presented papers

  • The Role of Co-Design in National Policy Making for Sustainability - Creating England's Post-Brexit Environmental Land Management Approach

    by Judith Tsouvalis, Ruth Little, David Rose

    This paper considers the role of design for the “common good” in the context of the co-design of England’s new Environmental Land Management approach (ELM), which will remunerate farmers and land managers for the delivery of environmental “public goods”. The success of ELM is essential to achieving the UK’s 25-year environment plan objectives and its commitment to Net Zero 2050. The approach is being co-designed with users by the Government. This paper presents findings from qualitative interviews with stakeholders and civil servants involved in ELM co-design since 2018. It outlines their views of principles of good co-design and discusses their experiences of the process to date, highlighting significant barrier government-led co-design faces. The paper reflects on the meaning of inclusive design, both in regard to “harder to reach” participants, and in regard to “more-than-humans” who have to date been neglected in design thinking for complex systems transitions.

  • Regaining the Right to Our City: Designing Reilly Commons

    by Kate Catterall, Alyson Beaton, Jorge Zapata

    Reilly Park is the site for a public design intervention lead by a neighborhood sustainability committee in North Central Austin and a teacher at a local school, alongside faculty and student researchers from University of Texas at Austin. The project is an example of denizens seizing a ‘right to the city’ through participatory public design and a negotiated process of decision-making between government entities, an NGO, residents, and researchers. It is a Lefebvrian appropriation of space, reclaiming use value for all inhabitants of an economically and racially diverse area undergoing rapid gentrification. The 7.4-acre (28733.7 square meters) Park is delimited by a 5-foot high (1.5 meter) wire fence, erected by Austin Indepen¬dent School District (AISD) citing school security. The fence gives the appearance of ‘private property’ and deters access to those unaffiliated with the school, despite a portion of the land being owned by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) and designated for public use. There is a dearth of publicly accessible green space North Central Austin and Reilly Park is positioned to serve two park-deficient neighbourhoods, Highland and Skyview, fulfilling a new City of Austin mandate for accessible greenspace within a 10-minute walk of most urban dwellings. Reilly Park is under the shared jurisdiction of AISD and PARD. It is situated with proximity to a light rail station and two major vehicular arteries; unprecedented access to mass-transit for Austin, Texas. The park is bounded by Waller Creek, a sensitive watershed being closely monitored by The Nature Conservancy Texas, according to whose data the park has fewer visitors than any other in Austin. Situated within a floodplain, half the park serves as a water catchment area for the Highland and Skyview neighbourhoods. Flood mitigation being a priority for the city in recent years, as Austin has experienced an increase in dangerous storm events; the severity of related floods being exacerbated by intermittent and prolonged periods of drought in the region. This paper presents a participatory public design process undertaken to make Reilly Park the centre of a more environmentally and socially resilient neighbourhood: Including plans for a new community garden and documentation of the design process, alongside the circuitous route of negotiated decision-making between government entities, residents and designers throughout the project. The Reilly Park project takes the form of a discrete design intervention in Austin Texas that revealed disenfranchisement and informed a strategy for strengthening and unifying the voice of a previously dispersed community: A future publication will present a roadmap for similar projects.

  • Knowledge as Common Good - Design and the Changing Frameworks for Collaboration Between Institutions and Communities

    by Lorenz Herfurth, Jérôme Elissalde

    This paper addresses the notion of knowledge as common good in relation to public health and local social care services and discusses the role for design in a post-COVID19 social innovation context. We are a social innovation practitioner and design scholar who got together to reflect on and discuss a specific area of social innovation – the creation, dissemination, integration and utilization of knowledge and data in a public health and social care context. Of significant interest to us with regard to a post-COVID19 world is the interaction and integration of knowledge as common good meaning the sharing and interpretation of data as well as citizens’ experiences between institutions on a municipal, regional and federal level and local groups.