A Review of the Role of Facilitators in Community-Based, Design-Led Planning and Placemaking Events

Husam Al Waer, Ian Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
470 Downloads (Pure)


Critics have suggested that the style of those who facilitate community-based, design-led planning and placemaking events can be biased, over-powering, manipulative, and more concerned with the form of the built environment than with meeting wider community needs. Where this happens, outputs from design-led events may not deliver long term outcomes that meet community and other stakeholders’ aspirations. This article reviews the role of how facilitators are expected to operate. It sets out the opportunities and challenges of effective facilitation throughout key stages of community design processes. The literature reviewed demonstrates that high expectations are placed on facilitation, yet there are no standards for how facilitators should act nor any agreement on when their contributions might have best effect. This is significant in terms of building trust in collaborative planning processes and outcomes. The article draws together the set of skills and personal traits of facilitators, as identified in a large body of existing literature on community design processes. It brings these together to form a research agenda based on the questions raised or left unanswered, and reflections on how the facilitation of community-based, design-led interventions in the built environment might be improved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-211
Number of pages22
JournalBuilt Environment
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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