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As professionals, designers and planners often find themselves struggling to find the “right” way to engage with residents of a community. In practice, they may use multiple models and methods, even in a single project. This course reviews a range of models for engaging communities, and the ways these different models have been used in design and planning practice and community building.

The website is organized into several sections. Under the “Approaches” menu above are detailed reports prepared by students on various ways designers and planners can engage with community: advocacyparticipatory designconsensus buildingcommunity organizingcapacity building, and knowledge building. In addition, other pages discusses the topics of media and technology and the arts in these approaches and beyond. The “Blog” section contains class discussions on each of these approaches, as well as three cross-cutting cases discussed: West Philadelphia Landscape Project, Shed Studios, and The Garden. A list of the readings about these cases and the approaches is available here.

This web site is the work space for a class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but it is designed as a resource for anyone interested in issues of public participation and in working collaboratively with communities. Those not enrolled in the class are most welcome to visit, and we invite your comments and contributions.