These workshops are about experimentation, dialogue and research into the potential of designed urban interventions that may offer up social and practical benefits for individuals, social groups and / or whole communities. In such projects, the co-design of communication tools is essential and reinforces the values and identity of the projects. In addition, such tools may contribute to the beginning of a dialogue among stakeholders, who by visiting and interacting with interventions can directly express their ideas, needs and beliefs.
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In the case of Nicosia Pop up Festival, the main objective of facilitating participatory design workshops with relevant stakeholders is to envision the regeneration of urban non-places such as City Plaza in Makarios Avenue, in Nicosia.
About the methodology:
The methodology of participatory design aims towards the active participation of citizens in issues or problems that may affect them. This methodology is proposed for projects aimed towards large and complicated transformation processes, according to which “the multiplicity of small, diverse and participatory initiatives interact to achieve a larger vision.” (Manzini & Rizzo, 2011).
In Xarkis, we’re taking into account the traditional concept of participatory design processes, which perceive the object to be designed as a comprehensive product or service and whereby possible participants (partially professional designers) are fairly intelligible “final-users” that assume co-design roles, (Rizzo, 2010). The evolution however of this theory is of particular interest to us, where the participation process becomes the design process itself and is aimed towards the production of a “socio-material” assembly that occurs in public places rather than within an organization, (Bjorvisson, 2010).
With this in mind, the practical definition of participatory design, as developed by authors, Ezio Manzini and Francesca Rizzo, is chosen as the best way to communicate the specific project processes. Here, participatory design is explained as “a constellation of design initiatives aimed towards the construction of social-material assemblies, for and with the participants’ projects.”
Design initiatives here represent a series of actions in which designers retain an important role and design devises trigger new actions and many shared experiences.
Another reason why this method is chosen for Xarkis project is based on the simplest point that people affected by a design initiative must have an influence in the design process, (Ehn, 2008). In fact, to certify that the existing skills can be made assets in the design process, means to transform the participants’ profile: Rather than perceiving them as people who can carry needs and problems, the idea is to see them as active and cooperative co-designers and co-producers who can enrich the process, bringing invaluable knowledge and ideas for solutions. In this process, people who are not experts or design professionals undertake the roles of designers. (Leadbeater 2009 & Manzini 2011b.)
This workshop was facilitated by:
Anastasia Prokopi Taki
First Participatory Design Workshop
Second Participarory Design Workshop