Decode is meeting challenges that concern requirements for innovation in sustainable urban planning. Decode, Community Design for Conflicting Desires, is a research project operating within Vinnova’s advertised area Challenge-driven Innovation – Sustainable Attractive Cities. The goal is to develop services in the form of collaboration platforms – Co-Design and Interdisciplinary Service Design – for complex planning processes. The project is innovative because it is creating new knowledge, with reference to town planning and citizen-related visions of sustainable attractive cities, in particular with regard to societal sustainability requirements.

Decode is meeting challenges that concern requirements for innovation in sustainable town planning and in the planning processes, with the focus on social sustainability. The starting point for the project is the idea that sustainable urban development is created by an inclusive collaboration with all groups in society, based on social, environmental and cultural targets.

Many planning proposals for homes, infrastructure solutions and public facilities are appealed against. The reason for this is that the proposals are seen as problematic because they do not correspond to needs, interests and possibilities. This results in revisions, which frequently lead to the plans being shelved. The socio-economic consequences are almost incalculable.

The project’s central issue concerns how the accepted ways of working, as applied in the planning process within different forms of urban development project, can be challenged. It is frequently taken for granted that citizen and user participation leads to democratic and efficient change processes. The starting point for the project is that active participation in the planning process is a form of tool, which must be carefully designed so those who participate really can contribute in an effective way with their experience and knowledge. This applies for all stakeholders – private sector, public administration, citizens and politicians – which is also a clue to the title of the project, Decode – Community Design for Conflicting Desires.

The project will run from May 2014 to August 2016.

Client: The project coordinator is Konstfack. Main partners: Konstfack, Södertörn University, Stockholm University, SCORE Business School/SU, Tyréns AB, Sweden Green Building Council, Upplands Väsby Municipality and Varberg Municipality.