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Co-Design and Participatory Research Methods




Civic Systems

Credit Hours


Overview of how, why, and when to use codesign and participatory design in design research.

Codesign and participatory design emphasize a shifting relationship between designers and participants, from hierarchical to collaborative. Specifically, codesign and participatory design offer ways of bringing together diverse groups of stakeholders around complex socio-technical issues such as health, education, transportation, technology, and sustainability. Understanding and designing in these areas require deep knowledge from a variety of perspectives and sectors including non-profit, government, academia, business, technology and citizens at large. This course will review examples of codesign and participatory design from a variety of design research traditions including critical making, critical design, design fiction, and speculative design approaches.

Learning Objectives

Students will become familiar with the use of codesign and participatory design approaches as they are situated within different design research traditions. Specifically, the goals, opportunities, and advantages will be compared with the limitations, difficulties, and disadvantages of codesign approaches through a series of examples from design projects around the world.

Learning Outcomes

  • Become familiar with the history of codesign and participatory design approaches within design research traditions
  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of codesign approaches
  • Articulate the features of successful codesign processes
  • Understand potential applications for codesign across a variety of domains, topics, and issues

Enrollment Restrictions

No prerequisites. Open to all Institute of Design students.