The Six Principles of Community CoDesign

The methodology calls for authentic participation and a willingness to engage stakeholders in a "collaborative and empathic" placemaking process.

April 8, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Public Engagement

Lian Chang / Flickr

Steven Bingler, founder and president of planning and design practice Concordia, outlines his organization's principles for what he calls Community CoDesign, a set of values aimed at developing a "collaborative and empathic approach to placemaking to address the growing complexities of climate change, public health, endemic poverty, social inequities and other challenges of the 21st century."

"In the design arts, one significant example of community codesign emerged during the Great Depression through the WPA’s Federal Art Project, when teams of planners, designers, artists, and artisans came together to craft a whole-community art form, expressed through the design of public spaces, architecture, sculpture, murals, set design, theatrical performance, music, and dance. Multidisciplinary collaborations became a tool for rallying pride, creating employment, illuminating common necessities, arousing an awareness of the suffering of people, and drawing attention to the need for the conservation of natural resources."

The Depression-era programs had a profound impact on American design well after they ended, with many of the projects enduring as popular attractions and points of civic pride today. Bingler claims that a similar approach can help planners and designers create more inclusive design processes to address today's urgent issues, including climate change and sea level rise. As a New Orleans-based firm, Concordia and its staff have first-hand experience with the devastating effects of coastal flooding and displacement. Concordia's methodology, Bingler writes, is grounded in six core values: honest engagement, authentic stakeholder participation, drawing from local talent and leadership, an "all-one" strategy, willingness to let go when the need arises, and commitment to the common good.

The challenges of urbanization and climate change, he argues, can only be faced through a shared vision. "The fate of future generations will be determined by the swift, smart and compassionate actions of today’s planning and design professionals, working hand and heart with the public they are here to serve."

Thursday, March 25, 2021 in Common Edge

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.