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Participatory Design: Investigating the Next Step

Wed, May 24, 2017    6:30pm

As participatory, horizontal, action-based, and hyper-localized interventionist architectural methods are integrated more plainly into institutionally sanctioned modes of urban organization, an emergent group of architects and legal advocates is asking how these self-instigated processes, and their implicit promise of emancipation, can move beyond instrumentalization for conventional development.

Focusing on the subject of ownership and exclusion that underlie even the most well-intentioned activist practices, the Owning It research initiative is exploring ways that socially-driven design work relates to intended, unintended, regulatory, and activist patterns of organization. Led by University of Michigan faculty and members of the UNESCO Creative Cities of Design network, the project is conceived simultaneously as an analytical tool and a tactical manual to help architects, urban advocates, landscape architects, planners, designers critically confront complex legal, financial, and economic mechanisms that shape collective experience. 

Capitain Ludd

In the design field, the collective responds with objects, spaces and develop graphic and digital work. On the urban environment, they develop collaborative projects to activate and question the use of certain spaces in the cities. With the will to initiate shared management of collective spaces, the group participates on debates, negotiations and urban experiments by creating temporary spaces where French law allows some freedom…

Active members: Paul Buros, Pierrick Faure, Juliana Gotilla, Martin Guillaumie. Colaboradores Pierre Brunet Vogel, Lola e Diard, Romain Liboux.


Akoaki is a Detroit-based architecture and design studio founded by Anya Sirota and Jean Louis Farges. Since 2008, Akoaki has established a reputation for innovative and resonant projects that critically engage the social, spatial, and material realities of place. Bridging the commonly perceived divide between social and aesthetic practice, the work explores urban interventions, perceptual scenographies, and pop actions as responses to complex and contested urban scenarios.

Akoaki’s design philosophy recognizes the pleasure and value of collective, aesthetic experience. The creative process, supported by intensive research and fieldwork, builds on existing dynamics and forges relationships between diverse networks of people. The resulting set of inter-related experimental works produces conceptually and materially surprising, unrestrictive, and inclusive environments.​