NEW BOOK RELEASE – All-Inclusive Engagement in Architecture: Towards the Future of Social Change

Edited by Farhana Ferdous and Bryan Bell

Should all-inclusive engagement be the major task of architecture? This new collection of essays and case studies presents the case that the answer is yes. Through original contributions and case studies of 58 authors, this volume shows that socially engaged architecture is both a theoretical construct and a professional practice navigating the global politics of poverty, charity, health, technology, neoliberal urbanism, and the discipline’s exclusionary basis. The scholarly ideas and design projects presented demonstrate the architect’s role as a revolutionary social agent. Exemplary works are included from the United States, Mexico, Canada, Africa, Asia and Europe. Architecture can bring forth a radical reformation of the profession and its relationship to society, and become an instrument of social change.



This book is a timely and valuable contribution to both the teaching and practice of Architecture in times of significant social and environmental change. Its informative chapters and excellent case studies from around the world illustrate the importance of community participation in enhancing both equity and efficiency in the design and management of the built environment. The authors offer theories, frameworks and tools for practice which demonstrate how to be rigorous to the discipline of Architecture whilst at the same time ensuring relevance in dealing with some of the big issues which the profession faces today.

Nabeel Hamdi, Professor Emeritus, Oxford Brookes University.


Rich evidence of practice and theory convinced me that “all-inclusive engagement” is not a mere added option of architectural production but an indispensable approach to change the future of a complex and entangled society. Moreover, this innovative architectural mode stresses the radical nature that the humans have the ability to create their own built environment themselves.

Akiko Okabe, professor, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, the University of Tokyo


Farhana Ferdous and Bryan Bell have assembled a remarkably diverse set of essays and case studies that explore the teaching, scholarship, practice, and public-health implications of community engaged architecture. All of the authors make a strong case for architecture as a field deeply rooted in the cultures of a place and ethically obligated to address the inequities and exclusions often reified by the built environment. I know of no book more insightful and inspiring in its treatment of all-inclusive architecture than this one.

Thomas Fisher, Director, Minnesota Design Center, University of Minnesota


Current community participation theory suggests that politicians and bureaucrats have exploited ordinary people and that they have been excluded from the community development process. The community design movement initiated in the 1960s argued that engagement in architecture’s strength lies in being a movement that cuts across traditional professional boundaries and cultures. Its roots lie in the ideals of a participatory democracy where collective decision-making is highly decentralized throughout all sectors of society. This collection of essays and case studies advances this notion of the social and cultural responsibility of architecture through education and professional practice. It is an invaluable resource for identifying directions for the future.

Henry Sanoff, Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Architecture, North Carolina State University: author, Democratic Design


All-Inclusive Engagement in Architecture: Towards the Future of Social Change emerges at a unique moment in global history. Confronting the persistent disciplinary divide between experiential and the material culture, this publication expands our terms of engagement to offer a unique resource for those wishing to think through the future of architecture as an ethical project. Thoughtfully structured across four theoretically grounded platforms – practice, pedagogy, scholarship and publicness, each is complemented through exploratory case studies. The challenges surfaced under these concerns remain to be tested under post-covid conditions wherein emergent social manifestations will require radical (spatial) innovation in order to preserve humanities transforming need for sustaining (human) engagement.      

Iain Low, Professor, University of Cape Town


        1. Preface: Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman
        2. Introduction: Farhana Ferdous and Bryan Bell
        3. Pedagogical Engagement


          3.1 Modes of Interaction: Categorizing and Valuing Community Engaged Teaching
          Liz Kramer, Washington University in St. Louis

          3.2 Critical consciensization in designing for social impact: the limitations of design pedagogies that respond to humanitarian crises
          Harriet Harriss, Pratt Institute

          3.3 The Empathetic Designer: Emotional Intelligence in the Design Studio
          Edward M. Orlowski, Lawrence Technological University

          3.4 Setting Criteria to Assess the Educational Value of Engagement
          Joongsub Kim, Lawrence Technological University

          Case Studies:

          3.5 Agronomy Campus, Bella Vista, Bolivia,
          Ralf Pasel and Andreas Skambas

          3.6 The Pedagogic Value of Architectural Co-Design; How embedding students within communities can challenge societal inequality
          Craig Stott and Simon Warren

        4. Scholarship of Engagement


          4.1 The Need for Knowledge Management in the Scholarship of Social Engagement in Architecture
          Barry Ballinger and Kapila Silva, University of Kansas

          4.2 Design (Re)Thinking: Situated Experience and Spatial Agency in Indigenous Architecture
          Wanda Dalla Costa, Arizona State University

          4.3 Architectural Education vs. Societal Reality: Mapping the Gap through the Lenses of Educational and Epistemological Theories
          Naushad Huq, University of Asia Pacific

          4.4 Making ‘Community’ through Architecture
          Farhan Karim, University of Kansas

          Case Studies:

          4.5 Engaged Practices, Improvisation and Aesthetics in Architecture
          Ruth Morrow and Timothy Waddell

          4.6 Building a Proposition for Future Activities
          Robert Burghardt, Christopher Dell, Bernd Kniess, Dominique Peck, Anna Richter, Marius Töpfer and Rebecca Wall

        5. Practices and Tools of Contemporary Engagement


          5.1 Technologies for Inclusion
          Nathan King, Virginia Tech University

          5.2 Activating Medellín and the Politics of Citizen Engagement
          Anthony Fontenot, Woodbury University

          5.3 Engagement Through Art Festivals
          Virginia Melnyk, Clemson University

          5.4 Collaboration and Practice
          Sony Devabhaktuni, University of Hong Kong and Min Kyung Lee, Bryn Mawr College

          Case Studies:

          5.5 NavADAPT LAB
          John Folan, Carnegie Mellon University

          5.6 The Public Agenda
          Kelsey Menzel, Lizzie MacWillie, Omar Hakeem and Thor Erickson, bcWORKSHOP

          5.7 Crafting Space
          DK Osseo-Asare and Yasmine Abbas

          5.8 Design as Interface: Case of Rwandan Development Architecture
          Yutaka Sho and James Setzler

        6. Public Engagement and Public Health


          6.1 Taking “Engagement” Seriously: Mobilizing Community for Better Parks and Public Health
          Shannon Criss and Nils Gore, University of Kansas

          6.2 Lessons on How Not to Design a Community Space: The España Park Public Library in Medellin, A Fading Symbol of Hope
          Valentina Davila, McGill University

          6.3 Afro-Christian churches as (invisible) care-takers in/of the city: between precarious occupation and dynamic appropriation of the built environment
          Luce Beeckmans, Ghent University

          6.4 Design Representation: Engaging Community Health Design
          Matthew Kleinmann, University of Kansas

          Case Studies:

          6.5 Foundations for Health: Building the University of Global Health Equity
          Caroline Shannon, Gerard Georges, Jean Paul Uzabakiriho, Sarah Mohland and Johan Verspyck

          6.6 Healing Garden Chamchamal, Kurdistan, Iraq – A Practice Integrated Design Build Project
          Eike Roswag Klinge, Ralf Pasel and Leon Radeljic

          6.7 From Project to Process: Interweaving Architecture, Engagement, and Public Health in Lesotho
          Garret Gantner and Costanza La Mantia

          6.8 Villagers and Neighbors: Utilizing a Participatory Design Process to Revolutionize Responses to Homelessness in Portland, Oregon
          Sergio Palleroni and Todd Ferry

        7. Epilogue: Susan Szenasy