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On the occasion of the Innovative City Forum which took place in Tokyo on October 17th, VisionArc partnered up with our friends at The World Economic Forum and Necessary Projects to design a web-based crowd-sourcing tool to help launch the event’s discussions. At the event, members of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Design and Innovation gathered with global experts and industry leaders to discuss the changing role of design in cities. Contributing to this, the captured more than 600 people’s responses to the question of the 3 most challenging issues for cities globally. Find a brief capture below of the day’s findings spurred on in part by the platform:

“From the discussion, there was a prevailing sentiment that the traditional top-down approach to city design is outdated in an increasingly complex and urban world. Over-determined policies and master-designs which have attempted to reduce complexity have “de-urbanized” the city and resulted in the loss of knowledge and spontaneity which form the essence of the city. In place of the top-down approach, some participants called for a “democratization of design” which puts citizens at the heart of the design process.

Participants debated whether democratic design could actually work in cities. The outcome was an overarching call for balance. Participants resisted the temptation to say that democratic design is the only future. They acknowledged that some of the best urban spaces – the grand boulevards of Paris – were the result of grand-scale master-planning, and recognized that design by consensus can often fail to yield badly needed sweeping changes for pressing social problems. The future must accommodate both approaches. The role of the specialized designer and citizens must thus must be recognized for their potential in the city design process.”

*Text courtesy of The World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Design and Innovation

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