In the 1960s, community-conscious designs were started to be designed by famous architects in order to meet the needs of the users. Because of these, the users got the decision making authority for planning their living. Community design is about the level of involvement between the users and the environment.

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Community ©www.vectorstock.com

In the 1960s, community-conscious designs were started to be designed by famous architects in order to meet the needs of the users. Because of these, the users got the decision making authority for planning their living. Community design is about the level of involvement between the users and the environment. The term of community design umbrellas community planning, community design, and community development. In community design, community participation is an important part, consulting the end-users of the project and designing in synchronization with them. As architects, it is important to communicate with users and understand their needs and propose programmes that cater to their needs. The process of community designing is an interconnected design strategy that supports each and every strategy. Should we design consulting for the end-users? How much freedom should we give to the end-users and should their concerns formulate the design process? What points should one consider to design for a community?    

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Location of the site ©www.indiamart.com

1. Location of the site

The location of the site helps in understanding the activities, needs, and opportunities of the site. The study of the site helps in identifying the surrounding factors, for instance, if it is surrounded by residential projects, with an educational institution next to the site, a lot of design aspects will be in association with the institution.

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Programme formulating sessions ©www.twitter.com

2. Programme 

The community that resides near and around the site, who are mainly the users of the project, become a deciding factor of the programme. Their needs and expectations along with the functions and projects in the location of the site become major concerns in formulating the programme and the brief of the project.

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Mind Mapping the assets ©www.pinterest.com

3. Assets

Once the programme brief is prepared, the users who played an important role in formulating this brief become the assets.  These assets are the target audience and users of the project. Their needs and expectations are either the main functions or play a deciding role in supporting the larger function.  The assets should be subdivided into categories that are main target assets, supporting assets, and other assets, who might not have played an important role in the programme formulation but yet are going to be the users of the project. For instance, the target assets are students, self-employers, freelancers, etc, who are in need of a workspace, for such assets the main function is a coworking space. In the same scenario, there is a need for recreational space for the elderly and children of the community or surroundings, these users are the supporting assets of the programme.

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The historical significance of site ©www.pinterest.com

4. History

The history of the site determines the programme. If its history holds a huge significance and influences the community lifestyle, then there is a need for its implementation in the project. At times the programme formulated could also be based on the history of the site, which becomes the main asset of the project.

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Vicinity mapping ©www.twitter.com

5. Vicinity

The association of the users with the site, understanding the alternative usage of the site by the users. This helps in mapping the association and then modulating the programme which houses the association and usage of the previous users of the site.

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Mind Mapping the stories ©www.peoplepotential.com

6. Network of stories

A lot of interaction with the community is required, informal communication asking them about their health, their daily routine, their needs, their problems, their business, etc. As architects, it’s crucial to learn by heart about the life of the users, forming them into short stories, which will be a major guiding principle for deciding the programme of the project.

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Community inputs mapping ©www.slideshare.net

7. Inputs from community 

These networks of stories have the hidden clue of their needs and problems, this networking also becomes a guiding principle for the inputs of the users. During the interactive sessions and networking of stories, hidden aspirations, needs, of the users can be extracted. Not necessary that all the users have a clear understanding of their needs or daily life problems, so it is our responsibility that while designing we communicate in such a way that these conversations play a key role in deriving these inputs and programmes. 

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Discussion regarding regulations ©www.flickr.com

8. Regulations 

They act as limitations in these vast ideas of community design. It isn’t possible to cater to all the needs and aspirations of users, these limitations help in organizing the programme, decision making in design regarding the heights, area of the project, etc. These rules and regulations vary according to the zoning of the city.

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Local Politics affect the process ©www.twitter.com

9. Local politics

It isn’t a major factor that will affect the designing process, but it will play a major role in executing the project. Their aspirations and needs for the particular site have to be understood, so a reasonable conversation can be initiated which helps them understand whether their demands can be catered or not. 

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Activity mapping of site ©www.twitter.com

10. Mapping of the site

It is important to map the site in order to understand what functions, activities, temporary structures, gatherings, etc., take place around the site. Sometimes with this mapping exercises different accesses to the site are found out and certain functions are added to the brief to the daily use of the site on the bases of mapping. 

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Author

She is an architecture student , a dog lover , a travel enthusiast and a trekker. She is enthusiastic about writing and architecture so mixing both through architecture journalism. She has worked both in commercial architectural firms as well as a sustainable architecture firm and is juggling to find a balance between both.

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