Fatemeh Mahmoudnejad

Inclusivity in co-design planning processes in England and Scotland: Assessment and Enhancement

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My research examines inclusivity in co-design practices in England and Scotland’s planning process to understand the extent to which co-design practice provides the space for diverse voices to inform the future of their place and how it can be enhanced. Participants in a co-design practice may experience the same inequalities and discrimination they face in society based on their gender identity, age, ethnicity, faith, ability status, citizenship, social class, and socio-economic status which affect their ability and willingness to actively engage in planning and design collaboratively.  

The current practice of co-design in England and Scotland shows a continuing gap between the rhetoric of engaging with local communities in collaborative processes and the practice on the ground. There is an over-representation of ‘the usual suspects’, more educated, older, affluent, often white, and male segments of the population; and the underrepresentation of vulnerable, marginalised, and hard-to-reach including ethnic minorities, people with mental health problems or physical disabilities, children and young people, minority faith groups, the elderly, women, gender minority groups, traveller communities, those with young families, and those on low incomes.  

On this note, my research focuses on investigating the process and social outcomes of a co-design practice by recognizing the diversity of actors in different contexts as key to understanding the complexity of these design practices and encouraging mechanisms to make collaborative design more accessible, effective, and inclusive in the planning process. 

Names of Supervisors: Dr Husam Alwaer, Dr Sandra Costa Santos