University Of Tasmania

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From designed spaces to designer savvy societies: the potential of ideas competitions in willing participation

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 19:21 authored by Picken, FE
The design of public space has gained importance as cities are increasingly positioned in global flows of people, capital, and ideas. These spaces speak to the culture of a place as much as to the quality of its design, but the implementation of design as an inclusive process is fraught with difficulty. This is particularly pertinent in discussions about better ways of engaging people with urban design, where there is often a language barrier between those who specialise in spatial manipulation and the broader ‘society’ that uses this space. This paper gives an empirical account of how a spatial consciousness can be translated to society through an international design competition. The competition method of urban design relies upon promotion and ‘eventfulness’, both of which interpolate the public and contribute towards the generation of a deeper interest in the spatial imaginary of city planning. The creation of ‘urban design consumers’ through the visual consumption of the designs themselves offers an alternative way to gain public interest to the established traditions of public notices and formal public meetings. In this case, the competition extended the activity of urban designers beyond the mechanics of ‘space production’ to include ‘consumer production’ where a more intimate relationship between city planning and the people began to emerge.


Publication title

Environment and Planning A: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research










School of Social Sciences


Pion Ltd

Place of publication

207 Brondesbury Park, London, England, Nw2 5Jn

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Copyright 2013 Pion and its licensors

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Civics and citizenship

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