Most every project we work on begins with a visioning process and ultimately ends up with an implementable design. Our design process strategically integrates key community stakeholders early on in order to generate investment and validate the project as a necessary resource. As professional designers representing numerous disciplines, our goal is to promote a robust participatory design process that plants the seed for the community to take ownership of the project and ensure its long-term success.
The action part of the project is where we get most excited. This is where the community design becomes a built physical resource. We partner with the community to educate them on construction practices taking place and bring them into the process to the greatest degree possible. Leveraging community labor for project construction serves to further increase investment in and ownership of the new amenity and helps ensure that it will be sustained through learned maintenance practices as necessary.
Research is critical in order to understand the complex problems present in these vulnerable communities and determine how design can have a positive impact. While the design-build process is the "creation" part of the project, our research initiatives serve as both the "evaluation" stage for built projects and as catalysts for new work. In this sense, our research effectively closes the project cycle loop. Knowledge gained helps determine whether a project is performing as expected and whether adaptations need to occur, while also serving as the foundation for initiating the design of a new community resource.