2023-2024 / UEEN0005-1

Participatory Design at an Urban Scale


20h Th, 10h Pr, 20h Proj., 1d FW

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Architectural Engineering2 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Civil Engineering2 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering2 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering (joint-degree programme with the "Université polytechnique de Madrid")2 crédits 


Catherine Elsen, Clémentine Schelings

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The class "Participatory Design at an urban scale" aims to provide engineering students with all the necessary keys for a thorough understanding of participatory issues, as well as concrete tools for its implementation.

As the participatory imperative is more and more crucial to the process, this class will focus on giving students the main operational keys to design and implement such a process, and will also address the recurrent limitations of post-modernist participatory models.

Questions of recruitment and citizen representativeness, methodological choices, and ethics in implementation will be at the heart of debates led by and with the students. Remote and asynchronous participation (e-participation) will also be studied through recent case studies, with the necessary critical distance.

A set of facilitation tools will be proposed, co-designed and tested through workshops and role plays.

The course will be structured around concrete case studies, both at the urban scale (citizen participation as a strategy for territorial development) and at the building scale (e.g. grouped and participative housing).

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

- design a participatory process from A to Z and master its organizational, operational, conceptual and ethical issues;

- build a critical overview of the advantages and limitations of (e-)participation;

- anticipate all the complexities inherent to a participatory process (at the urban or more local level) and regulate their actions as designers/engineers accordingly.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills


Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Face-to-face seminars.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Face-to-face seminar.

Recommended or required readings

A portfolio of readings will be suggested.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Written work / report

Continuous assessment

Out-of-session test(s)

Additional information:

Evaluation will be organized on a continuous basis throughout the semester. 

Students will be evaluated on:

- their ability to take an active part in a debate, a workshop, a role play;

- their ability to synthesize a critical view and to express it publicly with the help of a written support;

- their ability to interact with various witnesses who will relate their experiences of specific case studies.

Oral presentations and short written reports will thus punctuate the entire semester. No other in-session evaluations are expected, provided that students have actively participated in the course. In the case of repeated unexcused absences, the supervisors reserve the right to limit access to the evaluation.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Catherine Elsen, Professor


Clémentine Schelings, Assistant Professor


Audrey Mertens, Assistant



Association of one or more MOOCs