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Experiential evaluation as a way to talk about livability in a neighborhood in transformation

Lieve Custers, Oswald Devisch, Liesbeth Huybrechts

In order to preserve the open space in a suburbanized region as Flanders (Belgium), densification is one of the ways to go. But densification means that the existing living environment transforms and has an influence on the livability. This can lead to resistance by the inhabitants: they want to keep the idea of livability in their neighborhood. In the case of the Heilig-Hart neighborhood, we use the method of experiential evaluation to open up the debate on livability in a transformative neighborhood. Hereby, we bring aspects of formal evaluation and joint fact-finding in a participatory action research. At the end of the paper we discuss the first observations of the enrolment of this method so far: the definition of values, its experiential quality via a test set-up and its resulting tradeoffs, its enhancement of communication between city policy and inhabitants by providing a common language and the skills that have been made visible and are developed throughout the process.


A Checklist For A Successful PD Student Project

Jesper Simonsen, Aisha Z. Malik, Gustav From, Marie F. Parslov, Lars T. Sørensen

We identify and exemplify a general checklist of eight important conditions required for a successful Participatory Design (PD) student project with external partners. We address projects aiming to embrace both analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation in complex real-life settings. The checklist is intended to support students, academic institutions, and private/public collaborative partners in planning, initiating, conducting and realizing larger student-driven PD projects.


Designing with as People

Juan Sanín

The expression ‘designing with people’ predefines paradigmatic roles for designers and people collaborating in a design process. This paper challenges this paradigm and asks what other forms of collaboration would look like and what expressions could we use to define them. It shares a personal account of a project originally aimed at designing tools for doing sensory therapies in a psychiatric unit, but where the people working and living there did not  assume the role of participants and I had to collaborate with them in their own terms and ended up making an arts trolley. Building on autonomous design, I propose the expression ‘designing as people’ to make sense of this experience. In the context of this conference, ‘designing as people’ is a provocation and invitation to explore forms of collaborative design where designers move away from the role of facilitators to become participants of creative processes of communities and learn to design in the ways that those who are not designers do it.


AT Makers: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Co-Designing Assistive Technologies by Co-Optimizing Expert Knowledge

Leila Aflatoony, Su Jin (Susan) Lee

Assistive technology (AT) improves the functional abilities of individuals with disabilities and enables them to perform activities of daily living independently. Custom-made ATs have recently received considerable attention because generic, ready-made, as-is AT solutions often do not properly address the unique and intricate issues arising from physical impairments. In this paper, we report on a series of workshops with the goal of studying how three distinct types of participants—occupational therapists (OTs), industrial designers (IDs), and an end-user with physical disabilities— co-designed do-it-yourself (DIY) ATs. We conducted a total of four co-design workshops in which we investigated the benefits of a multidisciplinary approach in designing AT solutions. We did so primarily by studying OT–ID–user knowledge exchange processes. The workshop results indicate that such collaboration empowers participants in a synergistic manner, thus giving rise to a combined expertise that is greater than the sum of their isolated skills, knowledge, and expertise. In other words, this combined expertise—comprised of clinical expertise; design expertise; and personal experiences, insights, and knowledge—resulted in the co-creation of novel and advanced AT solutions.

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