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Community design in its pragmatist age: increasing popularity and changing outcomes

Toker, Zeynep
Toker, Umut
Community design has originally been influenced by the idealist approaches of human rights movements and advocacy planning until 1980s, during which economic challenges pushed practitioners in the area towards exploring more pragmatist grounds. The last two decades have been even more challenging for community designers, since the term has became popular even though the practice of genuine participation, hence the correct use of the term “community design” has not. In a pragmatist age in the area, many examples of pseudo-participation under the disguise of community design have generated a new context where misuse of the term “community design” is overlooked. The way new urbanism has adopted the term “community design” is an example of such misuse. We argue that even in a pragmatist age, genuine participation should form the foundation of community design. We identify four essential elements to insure genuine participation in community design, and we exemplify the application of these with two projects we have been involved in.