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A sustained quest for democracy in design and planning decision making : Review of 'Democratic Design: Participation Case Studies in Urban and Small Town Environments' by Henry Sanoff

Salama, Ashraf M (2012) A sustained quest for democracy in design and planning decision making : Review of 'Democratic Design: Participation Case Studies in Urban and Small Town Environments' by Henry Sanoff. [Review]

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Abstract

A new round of discussion on participatory design by a committed architect, consultant and educator and a giant in the field of community design is available to the international community. In this book Henry Sanoff presents some of the important cases that elucidate how design processes can be democratized. Sanoff discusses participatory design as a way to apply democratic principles into the creation of meaningful environments. He argues “Participatory design is an attitude about a force for change in the creation and management of environments for people. Its strength lies in being a movement that cuts across traditional professional boundaries and cultures. Its roots lie in the ideals of a participatory democracy where collective decision-making is highly decentralized throughout all sectors of society, so that all individuals learn participatory skills and can effectively participate in various ways in the making of all decisions that affect them.” One should note that based on a strong belief and value system Sanoff has been working in the field of participatory and community design for over four decades and his work has resulted in many design interventions that reflect such a long and outstanding career. Merely, this manifests a sustained quest for democracy in design and planning decision-making.