SP1: Participatory Design With and Within Communities

Insightful examples of ‘with whom’ contemporary participatory design activities are being undertaken: examples of participatory design being conducted at the scale of low-income households, to neighbourhoods, geographically tied communities and distributed communities of practice. In different ways these papers evidence the growing diversification of the ‘sites’ where participation in design is taking place, and the ways in which the assumptions and practices within the participatory design community may need to be challenged and reimagined in these new contexts.

Thursday, 18. August, 09.00 – 10.30
Peter Bøgh Andersen Auditorium, Nygaard
Chair: Erik Grønvall , IT University of Copenhagen

Building Connections: Technology Design for Living on a Low Income

Stephen Snow, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Peter Lyle, Aarhus University, Denmark
Margot Brereton, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Dhaval Vyas, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Abstract: This paper presents an exploration through participatory design in supporting those living on a low income. We share our findings from a workshop with users of an Australian non-profit organisation involved with food relief. This process of co-creation with disadvantaged participants led to ideas for technologies to assist those rebuilding after a crisis; namely the ideas of a time-stamped public transport card and a “crisis phone”. Finally, we reflect on our design process to date with some considerations for future designs. For example, how we found that the informal conversations and diversions from the content of the workshop served to define the problem space better than activities that had been specifically planned for this purpose.

Designing in “Constellations”: Sustaining Participatory Design in Neighborhoods

Karl Baumann, University of Southern California (LA), United States
Benjamin Stokes, American University, United States
François Bar, University of Southern California (LA), United States
Ben Caldwell, Kaos Network, United States

Abstract: Sustaining participation in design is difficult, especially in neighborhoods that seek change consistent with their cultural values. Participatory Design offers several approaches (e.g. infrastructuring) that help to balance the sensibilities of urban planning with the immediacies of design. This paper investigates the distinctive value of a “constellation” of participatory activities that sustained engagement throughout the design of an urban plaza, combining physical and digital flows. Based on a three-year collaboration in a historically black South LA neighborhood, this study analyzes the re-invention of urban furniture – payphones, bus benches, newspaper boxes, planters, and public displays – into community interactions. After reviewing the concrete vision of this constellation, the City of Los Angeles decided to fund the implementation of a pedestrian plaza. This paper articulates our methods of infrastructuring, providing techniques that sustain participation over time around physical urban objects that become touch points for fluid groups of designers. More than any one design, the constellation approach provides a platform for horizontal iteration, maintaining focus and participation in imagining a neighborhood’s socio-technical future.

Participatory Infrastructuring of Community Energy

Andrea Capaccioli, University of Trento, Italy
Giacomo Poderi, University of Trento, Italy
Mela Bettega, University of Trento, Italy
Vincenzo D’Andrea, University of Trento, Italy

Abstract: Thanks to renewable energies the decentralized energy system model is becoming more relevant in the production and distribution of energy. The scenario is important in order to achieve a successful energy transition. This paper presents a reflection on the ongoing experience of infrastructuring a socio- technical system in which local communities can manage renewable energies as a Common Pool Resources. We explore how to create a space for citizens’ participation in a continuous process of design for energy management. Objectives of the paper are: i) to clarify how Participatory Design could support the sustainability and the effectiveness of an alternative, ii) to present an experimentation with renewable energy as CPR as an alternative model to the actual vision of the energy system. Preliminary results reported in this paper suggest that a Participatory Design process can be valuable for communities in order to establish new energy management models.

Using Sketches to Communicate Interaction Protocols of an Indigenous Community

Tariq Zaman, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Indonesia
Heike Winschiers, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia
Franklin George, ISITI- Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Indonesia
Alvin Yeo, ISITI- Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Indonesia
Hasnain Falak, ISITI- Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Indonesia

Abstract: Being engaged in long term collaborations with indigenous communities requires a continuous adjustment of interaction protocols beyond set projects. Although the Long Lamai community in Malaysia developed a detailed cultural protocol for guest researchers, numerous conflicts were still recorded. In this paper we present our most recent approach to overcome the cross-cultural communication gaps using sketches, as developed by the local community members. We present a validation session that took place between the community members and guest researchers. We confirm the success of the sketch session, as guest researchers followed the underlying themes of the interaction protocols and internalised the concepts.

What’s GNU Got to do With it? Participatory Design, Infrastructuring and Free/Open Source Software

Lisa Haskel, Bournemouth University, United Kingdom
Paula Graham, Fossbox, United Kingdom

Abstract: In this paper we link Participatory Design (PD) to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) via Infrastructuring. We describe the characteristics of FOSS focusing on extensibility, generativity and their communities of practice. We discuss how FOSS products and communities provide valuable resources to PD projects beyond the design phase. We use evidence from our long-running, community based PD project to show how FOSS provides essential elements of infrastructure that contribute to the sustainability of this project and suggest that the mutual learning outcomes of PD, together with FOSS resources, can support users’ participation after design. We contribute to PD by providing a point of view from developers and facilitators, who combine FOSS and PD, that furthers an understanding of how these two areas are related.