“Participatory design” and “public engagement” are terms which appear more and more often in contemporary architectural discourse. International architectural awardees such as Assemble and Elemental both emphasize the importance of public participation throughout design, construction and post-completion phases.
Despite the power distribution between architect, client and users is rarely at an equilibrium position, the “participatory” approach is getting more attention nowadays due to its consideration of a larger group of stakeholders, especially the end-users. Using it both as a token and a design method, the “participatory” discourse is now slowly changing the process of architectural production. While at the same time, more architects see this as an opportunity to bridge between the profession and layman.
Why should architects not only be professional service providers to their clients but a social advocate?
Why should architectural schools equip students in this upcoming “participatory” trend?
How can architectural education go beyond the classroom-studio learning to tackle more real-life socio-economic issues in our society?
Receiving her architectural education and professional training in Hong Kong and in France, Rosalia Leung’s research and teaching primarily focus on community participatory design and urban-rural development. As the HKU MArch elective course instructor “Research on Participatory Design in Architecture” since 2018, she has been promoting participatory design in Hong Kong by initiating collaborations between the academia and local NGOs.
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