The last decade a shift towards more democratic, participatory, decision-making processes outside of centralized institutional models has been noticed.
This “participatory turn” was based on the various methods of consultation and participation of citizens and social groups developed in the past decades (Arnstein, 1969), and was substantially reinforced by the explosion of new technologies, social media and modern political theories. In architecture, urban design, and urban planning, participatory design dates back to the 1960s, where it was associated with civic movements that demanded transparency and greater participation in decision making about public space and the city. The concept of public participation has become central to several projects such as Giancarlo di Carlo’s Urbino and Reyner Banham’s Non-Plan. At the same time, several Municipalities and Central Governments began to adopt and integrate methods of involving citizens in planning, particularly in social housing programs, with the most prominent example being the SAAL program in Portugal in the 1970s.
In recent years there has been a steady decline and the concept of participation has been re-examined in the context of the introduction of more “democratic innovations” (Manzini and Rizzo, 2011) in design. Although Public Participation / PP procedures in the design of public space have been partially incorporated into Greek law (eg Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans), the relevant bodies are not familiar. Typical consultation procedures usually take place and conflicts of interest (eg environmental conflicts) remain unresolved and make planning difficult. The need for a different approach to public space planning arises, resulting in the development of decision-making methodologies by users towards the state.