chapter  5
16 Pages

Design initiatives in public spaces

Eight interpretative lenses
ByMaurizio Teli, Maria Menendez-Blanco

In this chapter we investigate “what does designing in public spaces mean?” through a qualitative research with six design researchers. These design researchers were all seeking to explore ways in which designers can engage in the public space with different participants, such as citizens, policymakers and private partners. Our research method focused on qualitative inquiry as a way to interpret the relations among people, data, and contexts, relations in the design researchers’ practice. The answer to our general question can be summarized as follows: designing in public spaces means to engage with relational practices that continuously redefine participation in a historically and geographically contingent way. Continuously redefining participation leverages on the novelty brought by design practices allows for the emergence of controversies and the questioning of boundaries, to transform social relations toward a more communal way of living.