Institutioning: Participatory Design, Co-Design and the Public Realm
Journal article, 2017

In this introductory article to the special issue ‘Co-design and the public realm’, we discuss a common interest in how meso- and macro-political institutional contexts frame and are informed by Participatory Design (PD) and Co-Design processes. We argue that unilateral focus within PD and Co-Design on the micro-political scale of fieldwork obscures interactivity with institutional framing processes, undermining their potential as sites of critique and political change. Our argument is drawn from a study of literature on the role of institutions in relation to PD and the public realm and our experience as participants in an EU-funded research project. The case study descriptions unpack how various institutional frames inform PD processes and how, conversely, PD processes inform various institutional frames: metacultural frames, institutional action frames and policy frames. To highlight the move to engaging with and creating new institutions, we introduce the notion of institutioning.


public realm



Participatory Design


Liesbeth Huybrechts

Universiteit Hasselt

Henric Benesch

University of Gothenburg

Jonathan Geib

Chalmers, Architecture, Urban Design and Planning


1571-0882 (ISSN) 1745-3755 (eISSN)

Vol. 13 3 148-159

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