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Design for social sustainability: A reflection on the role of the physical realm in facilitating community co-design

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>6/09/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>The Design Journal
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)s1705-s1724
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Understanding the environmental conditions that shape the physical support for developing social sustainability requires analysing the symbiotic relationship of people and place. Place is considered an essential aspect in shaping social identity, identification and cohesion. Thus, this paper explores the role of the physical realm in enabling co-design practices within community initiatives. It outlines two PhD research projects focused on strengthening community engagement using co-design approaches. It evidences its findings analysing two different settings. Firstly, a PhD research project exploring the mutual influences between spatial and service design also through the investigation of public spaces as platforms for strategic interventions with experimentations in the urban fabric of Milan (Italy). Secondly, a doctoral research exploring the value of community co-design on rural areas in the Highlands and Islands (Scotland) associated with Leapfrog, a three-year-funded project by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Conducted by two different research teams, we analyse to what extent participatory processes can strengthen communities and their identities, as well as reflecting on place-based approaches for design strategies of territories.