Desire lines are the paths that people create through regular usage. They appear where people repeatedly choose to walk and usually signify a route from A to B that's quicker than the formal path provided. In most cases they indicate the mismatch between what local people want and what designers think people want. By employing some social research basics in the design development process, placemakers can work more meaningfully with local communities to meet their needs and aspirations.
This is a practical guide to running public consultations, co-design and community engagement to help practitioners make the most of local knowledge and insight for the benefit of design. It offers guidance on managing community participation, and unapologetically aims to encourage designers to start thinking like social researchers when they undertake these programmes.
It's intended for placemakers - architects, urban designers, landscape architects, and other built environment professionals involved in the planning and design of public realm - who want to develop more people-centred, community-led design approaches.
Lesley Malone has a MSc in Social Research Methods, specialising in the study of public realm. With a career background in the built environment in a variety of research, information, and communications roles, she now works as a freelance writer specialising in research methods for people-centred public space.
1. Introduction 2. Research Essentials for Community Participation 3. Observation 4. Diary Studies, A Quick Guide to Qualitative Data Analysis 5. Exhibitions and Public Meetings, A Quick Guide to Public Events 6. Survey Methods 7. Focus Groups, A Quick Guide to Communications 8. Collaborative Approaches, A Quick Guide to Reporting Research 9. Ethical and Inclusive Practice 10. Participants' Experiences