The Bartlett School of Planning


CPD Civic Design

Learn how to run a co-design process, better enable civic engagement and involve communities in decision-making.

Civic Design

About the course

This is a blended course for planners, urban designers and architects working in practice, consultancy, as freelancers, or in local authorities. The course is ideal for those involved in co-design processes and community engagement.

Civic engagement is now considered to be a key process in urban design and planning practice. For avoiding ‘box-ticking’ engagement processes that do not genuinely involve communities in decision making, it is essential to learn and experience how to work in collaboration with communities.

Delivered in collaboration with community groups across London, the UCL Civic Design course will:

  • Equip participants with methods and tools to run co-design processes, enable civic engagement and involve communities in decision-making.
  • Expose participants to the direct experience of working in collaboration with community groups.

During the course you will undertake a group project together with a London community group. The brief for the course will be previously agreed with the community groups and it will address some of the current needs of the community. The project is guided by tutors from the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL and offers you the opportunity to learn through direct experience of including communities in the decision-making process.

This course is delivered in collaboration with CivicWise (http://civicwise.org), an international community of professionals working on tools and projects for civic engagement. During and after the course you can engage and share your projects through CivicWise’s digital forum for peer-to-peer collaboration. The course will provide participants the opportunity to connect with this network of professionals.

Course dates

Part 1 (two-week online course): Monday 4th May to Friday 15th May 2020

Part 2 (four-day intensive session at UCL): Wednesday 20th May to Saturday 23rd May 2020

The two-week online course includes approximately one hour of lecture + one hour of live chat with tutor per day.

The four day intensive face-to-face workshop at UCL includes eight contact hours from Wednesday to Friday and four hours on Saturday.

Apply now

Who should apply?

  • Planners and urban designers working for local authorities who wish to develop their skills on community engagement.
  • Urban designers, architects and planners working in practice, private consultancies, or as freelancers who want to learn and experience methods for running co-design processes and other forms of community engagement and co-production with communities.
  • Students of architecture, planning and urban design who want to develop applicable skills for their prospective careers on how to better work in collaboration with communities.

How will this course affect my career?

  • For planners / urban designers working in local authorities: the course will equip you with the skills to work in a role that requires engagement and collaboration with communities in your local authority.
  • For urban designers, architects and planners working in practice and consultancy: the course will equip you with the skills to run co-design processes with community groups.
  • Add this course to your RTPI CPD record.

Certificate and Assessment 

The assessment will consist of a final report to be submitted through the UCLeXtend platform. The report will address the brief previously agreed with community groups. They will be assessed according to:

  • Quality and rigour of the analysis.
  • Capacity of collaboration with community groups and responding to the brief.
  • Originality of the proposals/outcomes.

You will receive a certificate of attendance after completing the course and the final assessment. This certificate will accredit the skills acquired in the course and can be used to demonstrate Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Fees and discounts 

Fees: £595

The cost is refundable up until 7 days before the course start date, after which the full fee is non-refundable. 


More information

Browse the sections below for more detailed course information

  • The two week online course is followed by a three day intensive workshop at UCL’s Bloomsbury campus in central London. During this three-day face-to-face workshop, participants will experience the collaboration with community groups, participate in site visits, learn about local civic initiatives and carry out fieldwork for the group project.

The course combines physical and digital learning environments and is delivered through a mixture of online and face-to-face learning:

The course begins with two weeks of online lectures given by academic staff from the Bartlett School of Planning and visiting lecturers from CivicWise, which will equip participants with methods and practical tools to run co-design workshops and enable civic engagement. The online course will also include activities leading to the development of a project brief in collaboration with a community group.
  • Introdution to civic design
  • Participatory Action Research Methods
  • Protocols for working with community groups and ethics
  • Tools for collaborative mapping
  • Running a co-design process
  • Civic Design Method
  • Introduction to CivicWise

Intensive workshop:

  • Guided visits with community representatives
  • Practice-based collaborative work with community groups
Learning outcomes

During this course you will:

  • Learn innovative methods and practical tools to run co-design processes, enable civic engagement and work in collaboration with community groups;
  • Learn analytical methods to co-produce knowledge and data collection with community-groups; Learn tools for collaborative mapping;
  • Train to foster a more inclusive approach to civic engagement; Understand key concepts of collaborative urbanism and the relevance of community engagement in planning and urban design;
  • Develop skills to work collaboratively with peers, including professionals from different disciplines;
  • Engage with a hybrid digital and physical learning environment, which brings opportunities for collaborative projects.

Course coordinator:

Course coordinator:

Dr Pablo Sendra is a Lecturer in Planning and Urban Design at The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. He teaches at the MSc in Urban Design and City Planning. He combines his academic career with professional practice in urban design. He is co-founder of the urban design practice Lugadero, which works in collaborative processes for designing public spaces. With Lugadero, he has run a co-design process for designing public spaces in Wimbledon, London. He has been involved in CivicWise since its foundation and co-editor (with Maria J Pita and CivicWise) of the book Civic Practices. He is also co-author (with Richard Sennett) of Designing Disorder and co-author (with Daniel Fitzpatrick) of Community-Led Regeneration.

Other contributors:

Domenico Di Siena (CivicWive) is an architect, civic designer and researcher. He designs and develops processes and tools to help local authorities, organizations and universities to collaborate with citizens for the common good. He promotes a culture of collaboration with the use of new technologies for Situated Collective Intelligence processes, where citizens (re) become protagonists of the actions that determine the identity and character of the territory they inhabit. Domenico is the instigator of CivicWise, a distributed and open community that empowers citizens by fostering collaborative urbanism, promoting civic innovation and inspiring better civic engagement.

Nicolas Fonty is a freelance architect /urban designer, independent researcher and experimented mapper. Through research, activism, practice and volunteer support, he has been involved in many civic mapping initiatives for community-led planning in London and Paris at metropolitan and local scales. See http://justmap.eu/He is a member of Civic Wise, an international network for civic design.