Civic Design class

Our Lab’s Spring 2022 class is a new offering: Civic Design, where we focus on participatory policy-making in local governments, to bring innovative new solutions for better cities.

This quarter our Legal Design Lab team of Margaret and Nora are co-teaching a class at Stanford & public policy school, called Civic Design. Our co-teachers are Kevin Hsu (recently the senior assistant director at the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore) and Kursat Ozenc (a product and service designer, and design VP in financial services).

Our lab team is taking our focus on housing justice, eviction prevention, and better city services & combining it with an interdisciplinary approach to urban design, architecture, and city-policymaking. The goal is to work upstream from our normal focus on legal crises. Can we work on city and local government initiatives, that can make for cities that are better to live in, more safe, and more equitable?

Civic Design is a project-based class that has student teams partnered with city governments in Sunnyvale and San Jose to tackle challenges around how to make more livable, equitable, safe cities.

We have a class website for Civic Design here.

Civic Design is a growing field, that has many innovators (including service designers, technologists, and policy-makers) working in government agencies or nonprofits, focused on making better public services & infrastructure. The class teaches students the methods and principles of civic design, as well as giving them real-world, impactful challenges to tackle by proposing new policies, services, or technologies.

The students also will reflect on how to get more participation in policy-making and government service design. What are the methods that civic designers can use to get more people to set the agenda of what local government is working on, brainstorm ideas for new solutions, and review and approve new initiatives?

Guest speakers from around the world will come to explain how participatory methods are used in governments, how to do collaborative design to create better cities, and how to make equity and inclusion a focus on civic innovation.

Find more resources & readings on the field of Civic Design at our resource page here.

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