Participatory design process for the public space of Chamanga

How can we understand participation? How can we introduce it in the design process? The Arnstein ladder of participation still serves as a reference to such questions.


A participatory design process takes into account to various degrees the design ideas, aspirations and desires of  the recipients. It incorporates not only those, but also ideas about the construction itself and participation by incorporating the concept of “autoconstrucción asistida”, as well as management thereafter.

In this workshop for Chamanga’s public space this is what our design group attempted to do. For this reason, a model at 1:250 scale of the area to become the public space was created.  This last weekend we proceeded with this process.  Our meetings took place on Sunday and Monday, September 4 and 5.

An entire day on Sunday was centered around eliciting people’s thoughts on the area and on their conception of what a public space should look like. On Sunday we had about 15 community leaders, both men and women. The content of the workshop brought forth ideas for a future vision of the space, and uses by different age groups. Together, we took a walk through the space in the afternoon and discussed in situ various aspects of it.

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The continuation of the workshop on Monday included more than sixty students, and several of Sunday meeting’s adults. Students expressed their ideas for a public space, for a name and for uses in it. Our model served for beginning to localize ideas…

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