Socially Connected Cities by Design: A Design Toolkit for Evaluating Social Impact

Jen Ballie, F-S Bruce, Stephen McGowan, Lee Johnstone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development acknowledges the role of creativity and cultural diversity in reconciling economic progress and social inclusion. Social innovation leads to social change and emanates from people’s everyday interactions, reshaping the ways in which communities deal with social, economic, or environmental challenges. Co-production and community-led consultation have emerged as ways of working in partnership to inform and improve the delivery of public services. This positional paper is exploratory in how design led innovation can support the evaluation of community led projects which in turn lead to policy changes that endorse and support cultural and creative regeneration strategies. Adopting a Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology, workshops were facilitated to scope the requirements for the development of a pilot design-led toolkit for social innovation interventions underpinned by an evaluation model for impact. Findings from the research highlight opportunities for building capability and capacity in place-based knowledge exchange partnerships with community stakeholders to support participatory place-making in cities. The paper closes with recommendations for the adoption of design-led tools to embed creative practice in local and regional policymaking to help move from critique to creation, techniques that encourage deep collaboration and a process that enables ideas to grow in real-life settings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 23rd dmi: Academic Design Management Conference Proceedings
Place of PublicationCambridge, MA
PublisherDesign Management Institute
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2022
Eventdmi: Academic Design Management Conference: Design Management as a Strategic Asset - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 3 Aug 20224 Aug 2022
Conference number: 23rd


Conferencedmi: Academic Design Management Conference
Abbreviated titleADMC2022
Internet address


  • Social Innovation
  • Design Methods,
  • Evaluation
  • Design Policy
  • Impact
  • Toolkits
  • Placemaking


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