Negotiating the design of emerging urban futures: co-creating mixed modes of living and working with developer-clients

Zagami, B 2019, Negotiating the design of emerging urban futures: co-creating mixed modes of living and working with developer-clients, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Media and Communication, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Negotiating the design of emerging urban futures: co-creating mixed modes of living and working with developer-clients
Author(s) Zagami, B
Year 2019
Abstract Urban design is a client-centric profession, yet taking the responsibility to engage developers as active participants in the design process to address complex urban problems is not a core part of most urban design practices. As a consequence, the relationships between urban designers and their clients remain largely under-investigated. The aim of this research was to explore the challenges and opportunities of this relationship through the negotiation with a non-expert developer-client of mixed modes of living and working, and by so doing to not only expand my urban design practice, but to also contribute to the development of the broader urban design profession.

This research was driven by two questions:

- How might communication tools and client engagement processes come together in formats that are useful for urban designers interested in negotiating the design of emerging urban futures?, and
- How might urban designers recalibrate relationships with non-expert clients in order to afford the time and space for generative-ideation?

These questions drove me to necessarily expand my practice, to develop an independent experiential reflective practice and an approach to co-design. I adopted a mixed method approach to expand my practice through two action research cycles. The first cycle involved psychogeography based walking and reflexive video-making, and the second cycle involved scenario-building, participatory walks and semi-structured interviews with my client. This research adopted a constructionist epistemological stance and an interpretivist theoretical perspective to foreground the iterative development of my practice and draw broader conclusions relevant to urban designers beyond the specific context of my work.

The primary contribution of this research is the identification of the curator and steward roles, and the associated tactical tools and settings, for urban designers to practice generative-ideation for co-design with non-expert developer-clients. The curator and steward roles are each characterised by their active and deliberate moves to mediate and negotiate with non-expert developer clients as co-designers. I argue that multiple variations of moves between these roles are necessary to enable urban designers and their non-expert clients to consider and co-create their own preferred urban futures with their selected community. This approach to co-design encourages urban designers and their non-expert clients to embrace complexity, conflict and tension in order to share control of the process and open up projects to unknown potentialities that serve the needs of people and place.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communication
Subjects Design Practice and Management not elsewhere classified
Urban Design
Keyword(s) Urban design
Experiential reflective practice
Reflexive video-making
Unknown potentialities
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Created: Thu, 05 Mar 2020, 13:35:48 EST by Adam Rivett
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