Co-designing educational spaces: unveiling opportunities for empowered learnings in post-apartheid secondary school in South Africa
Paper i proceeding, 2024

In the context of a secondary school in a township in South Africa, this study employs a participatory action research approach to engage primarily the students into co-designing a selfmanaged space. This approach aims at utilising the local resources to reduce the gap between students from townships to other privileged secondary schools in the city. The applied concept is based on self-management, a novel approach in the South African context, draws inspiration from global educational reforms. The methodology is developed in collaboration with the Tsako Thabo Secondary School in Mamelodi, Pretoria, South Africa, with students aged 14 to 18 years acting as co-designers and space managers. In three on-site workshops, spanning from contextual
understanding, over design exercises, to the base foundation of the self-management’s concept, the workshops yield significant outcomes. Two different designs: an architectural design of the co-created space, and a design of the system regulating the space between all its members, with a funding strategy, have been developed. The design proposal includes a self-managed space with four distinct areas, and three booklets to guide future initiatives. Challenges in the field, including cultural differences and logistical issues, were navigated with adaptability and effective communication. Despite these challenges, the students' resilience underscores the transformative potential of participatory research in fostering an empowering educational environment. This research contributes a unique perspective to the self-management discourse, emphasising a macro-level impact on students and their autonomy. The co-designed space provides a platform for experimentation and addresses resource deficiencies in the community. Overall, the study
unveils novel opportunities for collaborative educational initiatives, emphasising the importance of adaptability and meticulous planning in diverse contexts.




South Africa


Naïna Dion-Barbin

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik

Shea Hagy

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Byggnadsteknologi

Liane Thuvander

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Arkitekturens teori och metod

IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science

17551307 (ISSN) 17551315 (eISSN)

Vol. 1363 012085

World Sustainable Built Environment conference, WSBE24
online, ,


Hållbar utveckling




Lärande och undervisning

Pedagogiskt arbete



Mer information