Community involvement

Community involvement in urban planning and environmental impact assessment has gained widespread recognition in the last few decades. In urban design, community participation takes place mostly during decision making process in urban renewal projects. Involvement of community in design process increases their confidence in the project and their responsibility. Through information and knowledge exchange both local community and designers can be inspired. As a result, local community is more likely to support the project and to embrace the designed environment. This leads to satisfaction and long lasting use of the designed place. Therefore, community involvement should always be considered by the designer as an essential part of the design process.

We design outdoor environments for public benefit. Hence, understanding public opinions on their living environments could be helpful in creating livable urban environments. On the other hand, designers should realize that it is impossible to please everyone and respond to everyone’s needs and expectations. Therefore, community involvement should only be accepted as a tool to understand the possible effects of design proposal on its future users.

Cost

Implementation and maintenance costs should be taken into account during design process. Cost efficient design strategies should be adopted in order to maintain durability and longevity of the designed environment. Urban open and green spaces can be designed and managed to minimize expenses. For example, stored rainwater in ponds and lakes could be used in irrigation, or use of fertilizers can be minimized by decreasing amount of lawn areas. Solar energy panels could be used to store energy during daytime which could be turned into electricity for lighting at night time. Multi­functional spaces also reduce cost by letting various activities take place in one place. Selection of durable paving material and site furniture will also decrease the maintenance costs in long term.