Traction started working with their first community in 2009, at the informal urban settlement of Lomas de Zapallal in Lima, Peru. They also started working with the University of Washington, working on projects through donor funding and study abroad with the University. In 2019, Traction was registered as a nonprofit organization in Washington. Traction has […]

John Chavis Memorial Park

Built in 1937 in Raleigh, NC, the park underwent degradation and gentrification in the neighborhood in recent years. To better understand the needs of and place-based memories of African American residents, the city convened an 18-month community conversation in collaboration with Skeo Solution. A Public Leadership Group of different stakeholders with training in Collaborative Problem […]

Traction + Claverito Community

Traction is an interdisciplinary design and research nonprofit that collaborates with at-risk communities to implement participatory design interventions. Claverito is a floating informal community in Iquitos, Peru located on the Amazon River. The Traction team (including students from the University of Washington, Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana, and Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos) […]

Sharing Design Agency with Local Partners in Participatory Design

This article provides an overview of some of the opportunities and challenges associated with participatory design processes, especially those involving local partners in high poverty and informal settings. It reviews a participatory design project that took place in a Brazilian favela in collaboration with a local NGO and outlines 5 strategies for addressing challenges and […]

Storytelling in design for social innovation and politics: a reading through the lenses of Hannah Arendt

This article is about the use of innovative storytelling in participatory design processes. It highlights two techniques designed to engage community members in imagining futures and collectively constructing the public realm. The first involves the use of traditional puppets. The second involves a social television program. Authors Virginia Tassinari, Francesca Piredda & Elisa Bertolotti [button […]

Massive Codesign: A Proposal for a Collaborative Design Framework

This book outlines strategies for involving large groups of people in codesign processes. It includes a “collaborative design framework,” case studies and a series of “quick lessons” on collaborative creative process. Authors Anna Meroni, Daniela Selloni, Martina Rossi [button url=”″ target=”blank” background=”#444444″]Read Here[/button]

What does it mean to engage in activism through design? To engage in design through activism?

An inspiring collection of statements from designers and educators in the field of landscape architecture on what it means to engage in activism through design and to engage in design through activism. Compiled by the McHarg Center [button url=”” target=”blank” background=”#444444″]Read Here[/button]

Democratic Drawing: Techniques for Participatory Design

This article addresses the challenge of drawing with the public in collaborative design processes. It outlines methodologies for representing people, exchanging information spatially, coauthoring design, encouraging self-representation and visualizing deep community values. Author Randolph Hester [button url=”” target=”blank” background=”#444444″]Read Here[/button]

A Refrain with a View

In this classic text Randolph Hester, a pioneer of community engaged design, presents a survey of participatory design history and outlines opportunities for improving this practice today. He notes the need for visionary synthesis as well as greater inclusivity and collaboration in planning. Author Randolph Hester [button url=”” target=”blank” background=”#444444″]Read Here[/button]