De Feyter / Baukultur in a superdiverse society

Baukultur in a superdiverse society design-driven participatory action research in the case of the Ten Eekhovelei

Authors: Nathan De Feyter; Johan De Walsche, prof. dr. ir.arch., University of Antwerp; Thomas Vanoutrive, prof. dr., University of Antwerp; Marleen Goethals, University of Antwerp

Supervisors: Johan De Walsche, prof. dr. ir.arch., University of Antwerp

Research stage: PhD, early stage

Category: Extended abstract

DDR Statement

The main method for this research is design-driven participatory action research (DD-PAR). DD-PAR started with the concern about processes that promote social injustice and inequities and more important the desire for action towards improvement. The decisions of what should be done best come from within the social context itself, or from a group of people or community members dwelling within that social context. In this way, PAR is not only meant as a learning process but also aimed at producing knowledge and improving practice within committed communities. Urban and architectural designs are the turning force of this method, as a future-oriented practice that can conceive alternative solutions for the prevailing, often failing, top-down planning systems.

In doing so we want to act as “agents of change” to find culturally and ecologically resilient solutions to local challenges and to empower marginalised communities to contribute to shifting spatial renewal agency from the government to collaborations among citizens, experts, companies and the government. Transforming fragile actor networks into more accountable and action-oriented networks is an important element in DD-PAR. These stronger networks can support the improvement of living environments on a neighbourhood scale, involving academics, community activists and community participants. While discussing the designerly depictions of spatial chances and the financial, legal and organisational solutions, researchers activate and mobilise social groups. Researchers and stakeholders evolve into operable civic projects through an iterative process of discussing and adjusting the solutions. Diverse participation techniques such as informal talks, round tables and actor workshops are experimented with. Urban tactics are deployed to involve residents who usually don’t engage.