Participation is a commonly used word in planning and architecture nowadays. Nevertheless, it seems that few care to understand the complexities and limitations of participation. Participation has often been misused for political purposes accepting it as mere feedback from citizens, using voting systems and,exhibitions of nished products that did not imply any real and lasting interaction with the will of the public. Many have focused on participation as an “answer” while it should be a process, a continuous question.
In my research “Attention city in the making!”, I argue that participation is key to urban regeneration and that public buildings designed with the participation of communities can be a paradigm and the central piece of these processes. Supported by in-depth literature review on issues of participation in planning and design, an experimental investigation was undertaken in the deprived neighbourhood of Nazaret in Valencia, Spain, in order to test the hypothesis.
This paper aims to rst disentangle the democratic role of participation in urban development, which usually implies con ict between the parties – and the potential regenerating power of participatory planning and design processes for urban areas. Second, the experiment illustrates the proposed discussion and nally the design translates the theory into a tangible proposal of an elderly house and kindergarten in the heart of the neighbourhood, which will turn into a new gathering point, will help regenerate the block and then, the area.
Keywords: Participation, Urban Regeneration, Public Building, Public Values, Right to the City