Design Principles and Practices’s Updates

Catherine Normoyle and Cotter Christian - Winners of the International Award for Excellence for Design Principles and Practices, Volume 10

Design Principles and Practices is pleased to announce the selection of “A Catalyst for Change,” Catherine Normoyle and Cotter Christian as the recipients of the International Award for Excellence for Volume 10 of the Design Principles and Practices Collection. 

This article was selected for the award from among the ten highest-ranked papers emerging from the peer review process and according to the selection criteria outlined in the referee guidelines. 

Catherine Normoyle, Assistant Professor, Graphic Design, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, Tennessee, USA  

Cotter Christian, Assistant Professor, Interior Design, Parsons School of Design at The New School, New York, New York, New York, USA


Citizen-driven placemaking is a category of placemaking where residents of a community take ownership of an unused, inauthentic, or transient public space and repurpose it for their own benefit or need. This category implements a tactical, do-it-yourself approach that is often an unsanctioned hack of space, including a range of space interventions from temporary to semi-permanent installations, activities, and other ephemeral occupations. These placemaking endeavors provide an opportunity for citizens to be activists in their community, creating meaningful places driven by their needs rather than government agencies or developers. In this paper, we consider the concept of place and identify key characteristics of placemaking to define citizen-driven placemaking. Through analysis of four case studies, we reveal elements such as impetus, intention, execution, and results of citizen-driven placemaking endeavors to understand how these different examples create a unique sense of place. By considering some of the approaches of these endeavors, we recognize challenges associated with the topic such as issues of subjectivity, legality, capital, and continuity. In conclusion, we identify core commonalities that may enable successful endeavors, establishing it as an often positive catalyst for greater change in the development of place for diverse communities. 

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