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Co-Designing Urban Planning Engagement and Innovation: Using LEGO® to Facilitate Collaboration, Participation and Ideas

Tewdwr-Jones, Mark; Wilson, Alexander; (2022) Co-Designing Urban Planning Engagement and Innovation: Using LEGO® to Facilitate Collaboration, Participation and Ideas. Urban Planning , 7 (2) 10.17645/up.v7i2.4960. Green open access

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Abstract

There is a growing academic interest in the idea of co-designing methods to achieve urban innovation and urban planning. As we see cities as “living laboratories,” beyond the control of elected city government, there is a momentum to develop and test shared responses to the social, environmental, and economic challenges present in contemporary urbanism. These living laboratories are a function of open innovation or “quadruple helix” actors, drawn from state, business, higher education, and community sectors. However, translating the often-good intention principles of working together through shared and co-designed arrangements in any major urban area is often a significant challenge and a topic neglected to date. This article addresses this gap through the case study of Newcastle City Futures, a university-anchored platform in the northeast of the UK, that sought to co-design collaborative urban research, public engagement, and innovation. Newcastle City Futures created novel working methods centred on participatory games to facilitate shared understanding and joint ideas for new urban innovation projects across established sectors. This article will examine one method that was successful in generating collaboration and participation: “LEGO® mash-ups.” Detailed empirical accounts of the development of the LEGO® mash-up method are used to illustrate attitudes to urban challenges, the fostering of a spirit of open collaboration, and the development of innovative responses through co-design. These are used to support the conceptual argument that the use of the quadruple helix as a form of urban innovation system needs to be accompanied by accessible, workable, and easily interpreted translation methods, such as games, by intermediaries.

Type: Article
Title: Co-Designing Urban Planning Engagement and Innovation: Using LEGO® to Facilitate Collaboration, Participation and Ideas
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.17645/up.v7i2.4960
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v7i2.4960
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 by the author(s); licensee Cogitatio (Lisbon, Portugal). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribu‐ tion 4.0 International License (CC BY).
Keywords: co-design; engagement; innovation; LEGO®; LEGO® mash-up; Newcastle City Futures; quadruple helix
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10146591
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