2016 The Principles of Community Design

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Urban Design and Built Environment
Dohi Masato 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
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Course description and aims

Description: It has been only 15 years since the requirement of citizen participation in designing the public space came to be taken for granted. Why is participation necessary? How is the participatory design different from the conventional design offered by experts, in terms of the designing process and forms? This course lectures today’s position of community design as a solution for the current challenges of socio-spatial design from a theoretical perspective.

Aim: This course provides lectures on principles and techniques required for community design, which is seen to be practical realisation of socio-spatial approaches. It aims to get students understand and acquire these principles and techniques.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1) Understand and explain the theoretical background and historical development of community design.
2) Understand and explain the features and social role of community designers’ occupational ability.
3) Understand and explain the processes expressed in the urban design through citizen participation under the principles of community design.


Community design, citizen participation, community designer, urban design

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

How each class will be conducted: A lecture on a topic is provided for the first 45 minutes; and for the second half, students present their research results on the topic followed by an open discussion.
How the subject matter will be covered over the course of teaching: The course shows the theoretical and historical position of community design and the occupational ability of community designers. It discusses the challenges for community design, which is essential for the coming era.
The method of teaching: This course encourages the proactive thinking of students by combining presentations and discussions with lectures.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Orientation Understand how community design can be situated theoretically in the academic sphere.
Class 2 What is community design: the historical development Understand and explain the historical development of community design including how it was generated and developed.
Class 3 What is community design: challenges and techniques Understand and explain techniques that are distinctive of community design.
Class 4 What is community design: principles as an occupation Understand and explain the professional ethics and practices that community designers are required.
Class 5 What is community design: the occupational ability Understand and explain the features of the occupational ability of community designers.
Class 6 The principles of community design: working together Understand and explain how to work together with diverse groups of people and the social sector, which is one of the community design principles.
Class 7 The principles of community design: advocacy Understand and explain the necessity and components of advocacy, which is one of the principles of community design.
Class 8 Practices of community designers: examining examples Understand and explain community design practices by learning practical examples.
Class 9 Practices of community designers: examining the academic outcomes Understand and explain how the academic intelligence on community design has been accumulated.
Class 10 Designing through working together: living environments and space Understand and explain the influence of working together on people’s living environments and space.
Class 11 Designing through working together: sharing a language with the government sector Understand and explain how to translate the government sector language into something that can be applied to living environments: an ability which is necessary for working together under community design.
Class 12 The recent history of citizen participation in Japan Understand and explain the history of citizen participation that enabled community design after the 1980s.
Class 13 Challenges for citizen participation in Japan Understand and explain the current challenges of citizen participation that has social and spatial limitations, as well as the ways to overcome those challenges.
Class 14 The urban design produced through community design Understand and explain the role of community design in achieving comprehensive socio-spatial designs.
Class 15 Summary Understand and explain the processes by which community design through citizen participation is expressed in the urban design.


Hester, R. T. and Dohi, M. (1997) “Machizukuri no hoho to gijutsu [The methods and techniques of community design]”, Gendai Kikakushitsu

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Course materials are distributed as necessary.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students are required to do a research presentation and submit a report. Both presentations and reports are marked out of 100 with 25 for the degree of understanding, 25 for the knowledge, 25 for the ability of structuring the report, and the final 25 for the ability of expressing the idea.

Related courses

  • ARC.P302 : Landscape Architecture
  • ARC.P204 : Introduction to Urban Study
  • UDE.D412 : The Practice of Community Design
  • UDE.D403 : Theories of Urban and Community Design
  • UDE.D449 : Landscape Design Studio Ⅱ

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

None required.

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