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Design for Social Innovation in the context of Urban Resilience
* 1, 2 , 2 , 2 , 2
1  Senior Tutor, Service Design
2  Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2EU, UK


This paper presents two design projects as case studies where service design thinking and practice is employed in addressing the challenges of engaging communities in the maintenance of Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI). The design projects were initiated by the Royal College of Art in partnership with Enfield council, UK. The aim was to develop service propositions that encourage shared ownership of Broomfield Park between local communities and the council set against the backdrop of a blue green infrastructure intervention that requires active involvement from the public.

In these projects, Design for Social Innovation approach was used, known as a constellation of design initiatives geared toward making social innovation more probable, effective, long-lasting, and scalable. In this approach, designers employ a human-centred design process that uses collaborative, creative and experimental methods to bring local communities into the processes of design and delivery of services and space.

The involvement of communities in city strategy is considered crucial to the success of any resilience initiatives and services. In recognising that simply consulting citizens is insufficient and ineffective in achieving sustainability, there is a need for a more integrated and inclusive approach to designing and managing urban resilience. From the perspective of Design for Social Innovation, the fundamental principle lies in the need to develop partnership with citizens to co-create and co-produce services, in order to effectively address the needs of people. More importantly, by including communities and other stakeholders in the design and delivery processes, the solution becomes legitimate within its social context and sustainable in the long term.

These case studies demonstrate the value of Design for Social Innovation in the design and management of urban resilience through BGI in its potential to fundamentally transform the traditional way in which public services are designed and implemented.

Keywords: Design for Social Innovation; Social Innovation; Service Design; Design