Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Participatory Planning. Community Design

Participatory Planning. Community Design
First semester
Main language of instruction: English

Teaching staff

Teaching staff are available by appointment through email.



Dr Reena Tiwari


This course introduces the theories and concepts of participatory practice and their value in urban upgrading.  The workshop will outline the principles and practices of participation related to current themes in urban development and will outline a guide to good practice.  The first part of the course will provide a structured understanding of the forces that shape and develop cities and particularly in situations of contested urbanisms of the global South, and the contemporary approaches to design and intervening in urban transformations. From this base it deconstructs and re-calibrates the discipline of urban design. Intersecting continental philosophy, participatory design literature and informal urbanism literature the course is set up a re-conceptualizing urban design as the political economy of space, elaborates the building blocks to construct a theoretical understanding of urban design in the global south, and provides examples of how these conceptual approaches are playing out on the ground at different scales in developing cities / local areas. Transformations are thus critically analysed within the context of development, in terms of the different morphologies and tensions that shape current urbanisation patterns and processes, their conflicts and contested nature, and the resistant, formalised or informal practices and experiences of individuals and communities. Thus the role of design, including approaches to and methods of urban analysis to assess and evaluate the potential of local areas, is explored as a multi-dimensional transformative praxis.


The workshop will provide students with a structured understanding of the issues, concepts, tools and techniques of participation as related to urban upgrading, with particular emphasis on cities in the global south. Students will develop a working knowledge of how to get information and how to use information when engaging with communities in designing action plans.


  • 01 - That students apply the knowledge acquired and the capacity to solve problems in underpriviledged places in multidisciplinary contexts related to the area of international cooperation.
  • 07 - Be capable of aplying to a specific project the knowledge acquired.
  • 15 - To know how to extract global identity factors aplicable to local territorial situations
  • 16 - To know how to apply the knowledge acquired of international socio-economic analysis to systems of local economies.
  • 19 - To propose and develop constructive techniques based on local cultures and materials
  • 21 - Saber aplicar los conocimientos en técnicas constructivas low-cost, fundamentales y universales, aplicables a todos aquellos países en fase de desarrollo o afectados por catástrofes naturales y humanas.
  • 24 - To know how to manage projects of different scales with the objective of prioritizing individual interventions in multidisciplinary tasks

Learning outcomes

An introduction to participatory concepts and methods and forging multi stakeholder partnerships.

An understanding of participation and partnerships in relation to good governance.

A framework for professional interventions in urban upgrading. 

A means for engaging with and mobilizing community.

Teaching and learning activities

In person

Sessions will be structured to include group work, group discussions, role play and lectures.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

Per UIC grading guidelines with emphasis on attendance, quality of participation and graphic and verbal communication.

Bibliography and resources

Basic bibliography listed below, class material will be provided prior.


Hamdi, Nabeel and Goethert, Reinhard (1997) Action Planning for Cities.  A Guide to Community Practice. New York, John Wiley and Sons


Hamdi, Nabeel (2004) Small Change: about the Art of Practice and the Limits of planning in cities. London. Earthscan


Hamdi, Nabeel (2011) The Placemakers Guide to Building Community. London, Earthscan


Hickey, Samual and Mohan, Giles (2004) Partcipation: from Tyranny to Transformation. London, Zed Books


Cornwall, Andrea (2011) The Partcipation Reader. London, Zed Books


Hamdi, N (2005) Urban Futures IT Publications, Rugby


Beall, Jo (ed) (1997) A City for All. London, Zed Books


Hamdi, N and Majale, M (2005) Partnerships in Urban Development, IT Publications, Rugby

Gehl, J. 2010. Cities for people, Washington, Island Press.


Mehta, V. 2008. Walkable streets: pedestrian behavior, perceptions and attitudes. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability 1.


Tiwari R and Curtis C (2012) Three-pronged Approach to Urban Arterial Design: A functional + physical + social classification. Urban Design International Vol 17:2, pp. 129 -143.


Hillier, J. (2003) ‘Agonising over Consensus: Why Habermasian Ideals cannot be “Real”’ in Planning Theory 2 (1): 37-59.


Tiwari (2010) Performativity in Cities: Rituals, Bodies, Spaces, Lexington Publishers, Maryland.


Tiwari R (April 2010) Integrating the Marginalised – Towards a Connected City in Mateolli L ed. City Futures, 2009.