Participatory City Making


Cities are increasingly complex environments where different actors and stakeholders co-exist and learn how to live together. Within these complex environments, different types of grassroots initiatives are arising that represent a new form of urban insurgent activism that aim at transformation, calling for new answers to citizens’ needs.


These kind of initiatives are typically formed by social entrepreneurs, civic volunteers, local activists and similar groups. They are challenging the traditional ways through which urban services, spaces and buildings are managed. These new and different makers also bring along the need for new processes and a different way of City Making; processes that not only bring together various disciplines but also enable a collaborative new way of working between these different disciplines of professionals, academics, private enterprises, policy makers and citizens.


The aim of the Participatory City Making project is to develop a framework that can enhance participatory city making of the various groups. In particular, the project will explore the interaction between grassroots initiatives and the public administration through small-scale experiments. Collaborative construction of new visions through small-scale experimenting, as a way of triggering a process of broader change and transformation, are studied within a Transition Management perspective.


In the city of Rotterdam, the case study context, the project aims at uncovering unique insights and governance issues by analysing the opportunities, challenges and barriers for Participatory City Making. A new toolset will be developed that should enable heterogeneous stakeholders to participate actively, explore the collaborative envisioned potential, and articulate their own role in the new city making process. This development of the toolset will contribute to the understanding of the value of prototyping for systemic change.


Do you want to read more about the current outcomes? Visit the Participatory City Making website.

Duration of the project

The Participatory City Making project started in October 2016 and will run until September 2018.

Commissioning party

This project has received funding from NWO under the Research Through Design Programme. Project number: 14604

Partners / Team

The project is developed by the TU Delft in collaboration with the Dutch Research Institute for Transition and the Hogeschool Rotterdam


Derk Loorbach, Jotte de Koning, Emma Puerari