Cultivating Communities

Duration: 2011 – 2015

Project Description:


Cultivating Communities investigates how to engage and enable local communities to participate in designing future scenarios on how to cope with issues regarding their living environment. In our research cases these issues involve the lack of green in urban environments, the decreasing biodiversity of fruit trees and the emission of dust particles that impacts the local air quality. Design authors such as John Thackara stress the importance of addressing these complex issues in a participatory way. This requires input of experts from various backgrounds, including politicians, scientists, and the local residents as experts of their living environment. According to Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger (1991), these different actors have to form a community of practice during the design process to collectively build towards a better living environment. Authors like Bleeker (2009) or Raijmakers (2007) have described the engaging role of scenarios in participatory processes. Building on their work, the challenge of this research is to develop scenarios, which can be used as tool to enable different actors to participate in a design process. Also, we will investigate how these scenarios can be adopted and adapted by local communities to fit their own needs. Based on our fieldwork we show that designing a participatory scenario is not just a tool or method, but also involves creating the right platform for collaboration.

Website: Cultivating Communities website

Team members from CUO | Social Spaces:

Ben Hagenaars


LSM – Limburg Sterk Merk


Hagenaars, B. & Huybrechts, L. (2013). Cultivating Communities Participatory scenario making: a tool for engaging and enabling local communities in reshaping their living environment. Crafting the Future. 10th European Academy of Design Conference.: 2013-04-17, Volume: 10, Issue: 1, Pages: 91-91

Schoffelen, J., Hagenaars, B. & Huybrechts, L. (2013). Enhancing ownership in design games through documentation. NORDES ws on Reflection on design games: 2013-06-09.

Recent activities:

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