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Public Interest

Participatory Design

Design has the power to change lives and help realize a more equitable, just, and sustainable future for all people. Participatory Design fosters the development of leadership skills in students who are interested in using their design abilities and knowledge to serve society, in particular clients from underserved communities and nonprofit organizations. While at KU's Department of Architecture, students engage in Participatory Design and learn to discern the real needs of stakeholders by collaborating with them on real projects.

Recent projects include:

  • Support for the renovation of a storefront in Kansas City, Kansas, for use by the Dotte Agency, and Community Housing of Wyandotte County
  • Construction of the moCOLAB, a mobile community center made from an Airstream trailer which was renovated by KU Architecture students
  • Dirt Works Studio's student-built rammed-earth structures for the University of Kansas Field Station and an outdoor pavilion for Audio Reader
  • Proposals for urban infill maker-spaces in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Participation in the Spring Greening program by architecture students who have been transforming a house into a community center in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans
  • A pop-up community space for KCUR Public Radio
  • Community engagement for green infrastructure in the Argentine neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas
  • A stage for EPIC Park in Kansas City, Kansas
  • Senior housing designs, including two proposals that were national finalists in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Innovations in Affordable Housing competition
  • A new orthopedics wing for Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya


Professor, Chair, Department of Architecture
Marvin Hall, Room 317 C
Marvin Hall, 102
Marvin Hall, 312
Associate Professor
Marvin Hall, 211
Marvin Hall, 415
Chester Dean Director of the Institute for Health+Wellness Design, D.Arch., FAIA, FACHA
Marvin Hall, Room 200