Participatory Design and Strong Leadership By Shelby Goode

More than just community service, Participatory Design is a concept I am beginning to interpret as a multidimensional process to build a community. When I think of community service, I am reminded of voluntary attitude to better an organization, group of people, etc. through donations or dedication time. However, participation design takes community service up one level, and relies less on an attitude of volunteering, and more on an obligation to incorporate various perspectives and ideas to making a long-lasting change in a community.

More complex than community service, participation design involves what we have discussed in class as public dialogue. Easier said than done, creating a place where everyone’s voice is heard and those involved feel like their opinions are respected is challenging. When applying participation design to the Borgo Bello neighborhood, there seems to be a sense of encouragement to be as inclusive as possible. However, someone has to be in charge and not everyone’s ideas can be put into action.

I think that when it comes to electing a leader to represent something that is modeling off of a participatory design it is important for everyone to realize that a good leader isn’t always the person with the official title of leadership. However, for me a good leader is someone who knows how to congregate groups of people and take responsibility for their actions, and sometimes the actions of others. More importantly, an even better leader will know when it is beneficial for them to step back and allow others to lead when it’s the appropriate time. In conclusion, a leader to me is someone who obviously can lead a group, but is just as great of a follower and can take criticism as a means to better the overall design or project.

The concept of participatory design is a strategy along with placemaking that can truly enhance a community. Observing the Piazza Italia and noticing the people who walk throughout it was interesting. Most people walk aimlessly through the center without a thought or care. However, as we have discussed before the people that have filled the streets of the center are they’re because of the placement of shops, restaurants, the fountain, and of course the abundance of other people. In this way placemaking and participatory design both have successfully been incorporated into the very populated and utilized city center. The design and elements of the city center could be used as a template for areas within Perugia like the Borgo Bello neighborhood to make it better known and used by Perugian’s that walk by this area every day. With the leadership that appears to already be successful for the Borgo Bello neighborhood and participatory design, I truly believe in the full utilization of this area by the community.

Related image

Piazza Italia 

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