Designing Smart
for Sustainable and
Resilient Communities

The Role of Participatory Design in Addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals

PDC 25 August, 2022
PDC Places, Brisbane, Australia

The Workshop

This workshop reflects on the role of participatory design and its community of facilitators and participants in addressing sustainable development in cities, regional centres and rural communities. The workshop will bring together academics, researchers and practitioners to share their experiences, expertise and visions for:

  1. evolving participatory design approaches to move beyond the individual;
  2. reinvigorating a stronger relationship between communities and institutions across different scales in order to re-politicise participatory design practices, projects and methods; and
  3. making a concerted effort of contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We are specifically interested in ways of ‘designing smart’ by engaging and working with communities to address complex challenges, such as social inequality, economic disparity and environmental degradation to build more sustainable, resilient and socially ‘just’ communities.

The workshop will be run in conjunction with the Brisbane, Australia PDC Places event as a full day face-to-face workshop.

Audience and Theme 
The workshop invites contributions from academics, researchers, and practitioners interested in exploring the opportunities, challenges and complexities of designing smart for sustainable and resilient communities. We seek accounts of theoretical, situated, experimental and/or experiential work that leverages participatory and co-design processes with communities to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We welcome both conceptual/theoretical as well as empirical/practical contributions that respond to one or more of the following areas of interest: 

  • Recognising/designing for the complexity of communities and their entanglements with nature;
  • Learning from the cultural, aesthetic and rich diversity inherent in communities maintaining positive relationships with the natural world;
  • How participatory design approaches can inform more sustainable, resilient communities; 
  • Addressing issues at the intersection of social and environmental sustainability.

Submission Process and Workshop Format
Submissions to this workshop will be in the form of an online registration questionnaire. Based on the responses and key themes identified, a series of activities and discussion points will be facilitated throughout the day. During the workshop, participants will contribute to small group discussion, as well as larger discussion and workshop activities.

A key component of the workshop will be a speculative design challenge to engage workshop participants in envisioning scenarios set in the future, that allow participants to move beyond their day-to-day experiences, discuss situations that are relevant to their SDG focus, share stories and knowledge around sustainable development, and express future needs, wants and aspirations around participatory design and decision making.

The overarching aim of the workshop is to foster creativity, inspiration and empathy by capturing how participatory methods and co-design can be applied for a collective cause.

Complete the online EOI questionnaire here.

Workshop Outcomes 
The aim of the workshop is to produce a publication plan based on the outcomes of the day. After the workshop, we will identify publication options and invite participants to contribute.

Important Dates

20 June 2022: Submission due . We are still accepting late submissions

4 July 2022: Notifications 

25 August 2022: Workshop day

Register for the workshop 
Registration is now open for the workshop. Please register here.

Previous Workshop
If you are interested in our previous workshop on Designing Smart you can access the information here

                UN Sustainable Development Goals. Source:


Workshop Activity

Keynote speaker
Group activity session 1
Morning tea
Group activity session 2
Speculative design challenge
Afternoon tea
Group presentations
Workshop wrap-up

Time (AEST)


Workshop Organisers

Dr Joel Fredericks

Lecturer in Design - The University of Sydney

Joel Fredericks is a Lecturer in Design and Program Director of the Bachelor of Design Computing at The University of Sydney’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning. Joel is an urban planner, community engagement practitioner and interaction designer. His research is transdisciplinary and sits across the domains of community engagement, smart cities, participatory design, social inclusion, digital participation and immersive technologies. 

Prof. Marcus Foth

Professor of Urban Informatics - QUT

Marcus Foth is a passionate wombassador and beekeeper. In his spare time, he is Professor of Urban Informatics in the QUT Design Lab, Brisbane, Australia. He is also an ACS Fellow and ACM Distinguished Member with a long-term research focus on interaction design and sustainability. Marcus currently leads the More-than-Human Futures research group at QUT. Together with Dr Sara Heitlinger and Dr Rachel Clarke, Marcus is currently editing a new book for Oxford University Press on Designing More-than-Human Smart Cities: Beyond Sustainability, Towards Cohabitation.


Dr Hilary Davis

Senior Research Fellow - Swinburne University of Technology

Hilary Davis is a social science researcher with an Human Computer Interaction background. She has a strong focus on research for social impact, particularly for people from marginalised or diverse backgrounds. She conducts research with networks of stakeholders in rural Australian communities including community members, community leaders and CEOs of rural health organisations. You can usually find her online or dodging kangaroos somewhere in the Australian outback. 

A.Prof Glenda Caldwell

Associate Professor in Architecture - QUT

Glenda Amayo Caldwell is an Associate Professor in Architecture, and the Academic Lead Research in the School of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Engineering at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. She is an architecture and design scholar with expertise in physical, digital, and robotic fabrication, leading Industry 4.0 innovation through human-centred and participatory design research in design robotics and media architecture

Dr Callum Parker

Lecturer in Design Computing - The University of Sydney

Callum Parker is a Lecturer in Interaction Design at the Urban Interfaces Lab in the University of Sydney’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning. Callum’s research seeks to gain new understanding of interactive digital city interfaces and their place within urban environments, contributing towards the broader smart city. He is specifically focused on leveraging cutting edge technologies such as pervasive displays, {augmented, virtual, and mixed} realities, and media architecture.

Prof. Martin Tomitsch

Professor of Interaction Design - The University of Sydney

Martin Tomitsch is a Professor of Interaction Design in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, and Director of the Urban Interfaces lab at the University of Sydney. He has been a visiting Professor at the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Visual Art Innovation Institute and is a founding member of the Media Architecture Institute (MAI). Recent books he authored/co-authored include Making Cities Smarter – Designing Interactive Urban Applications (Jovis), Design Think Make Break Repeat – A Handbook of Methods (BIS Publishers) and Media Architecture Compendium – Digital Placemaking (AV Edition).


QUT Kelvin Grove
Cnr Musk Ave and Gona Parade

Room 607, Level 6, Building Z9