Short courses


Civic Design

  • 48 hours
  • 4 months


On this short course you'll learn to deliver urban initiatives in collaboration with local communities.

You'll explore ways of working in partnership with community groups in London. You'll learn how to better enable civic engagement and involve communities in decision-making.

You'll also undertake a group project together with a London community group. This will allow you to learn through direct experience of including communities in the decision-making process.

The course is mixture of online and face-to-face learning. For 10 weeks you'll take part in weekly online sessions, before attending an intensive 4-day workshop.

This course is run by The Bartlett School of Planning, in collaboration with CivicWise, an international community of professionals working on tools and projects for civic engagement.

Who it's for

This course is aimed at urban designers, planners, architects and other students and professionals of the built environment with an interest in working on projects involving public participation.

There are no prerequisites for taking this course.

Course content 

The course will include:

  • an introduction to civic design
  • case studies of civic design
  • civic design method
  • protocols for working with community groups and ethics
  • guided visits with community representatives
  • community activism and its involvement in London planning
  • mapping tools
  • innovation in governance 
  • civic tech: communication and technology
  • the civic economy
  • network thinking and collaboration

Structure and teaching

The course is delivered through a mixture of online and face-to-face learning.

Each week, for the first 10 weeks, you'll watch 1 hour of pre-recorded lectures and take part in 1 hour of live discussion every Thursday at 18:00-19:00 UK time.

You'll then attend four days of face-to-face teaching and coursework at UCL's campus in London. You'll take part in a workshop developed in collaboration with community groups, and go on site visits guided by these groups. You'll learn about local civic initiatives and carry out fieldwork for your group project.

2023-24 Course Dates

  • Part 1 (10 week Online Course): Monday 8th January to Friday 22nd March
  • Part 2 (4 Day Face-to-Face Workshop): Wednesday 24th April to Saturday 27th April


The assessment will be based on your report addressing the brief previously agreed with community groups.

It'll be assessed according to:

  • quality and rigour of the analysis
  • capacity of collaboration with community groups and your response to the brief
  • originality of the proposals/outcomes


You'll receive a certificate of attendance after completing the course and the final assessment.

Learning outcomes

This course will help you:

  • learn innovative methods for working with community groups to develop their urban initiatives
  • 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

Costs and concessions 

The standard fee for this course is £595.

There are early-bird registration discounts available, as follows: 

Early bird registrations until 31 October 2023:

  • 20% discount (£476): use discount code earlybird20 (enter this code into the ‘voucher’ box at the checkout)
  • 30% discount (£416.50) for UCL alumni, students and staff (email pablo.sendra@ucl.ac.uk to request a 30% discount code)

After 31 October 2023:

  • Full price: £595
  • 20% discount (£476) for UCL alumni, students and staff  (email pablo.sendra@ucl.ac.uk to request a 20% discount code)

Free bursaries are available for members of community groups collaborating with the course. To claim this discount, you'll need to enter the voucher code you'll receive when booking.

Course team

Dr Pablo Sendra - Course Lead

Dr Pablo Sendra - Course Lead

Pablo 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’s also co-founder of the urban design practice Lugadero, which works in collaborative processes for designing public spaces. With Lugadero, he’s run a co-design process for designing public spaces in Wimbledon, London. He’s been involved in CivicWise since its foundation. He’s co-editor of the book Civic Practices and co-author of Designing Disorder and Community-Led Regeneration.

Domenico Di Siena

Domenico Di Siena

Domenico is an architect, civic designer, researcher and instigator of CivicWise. He designs and develops processes and tools to help local authorities, organisations 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. 

Course information last modified: 6 Sep 2023, 14:33