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The broad discussion considered public participation in architecture and design and the aim of the colloquium was to find ways to develop and establish participatory practices further. Close the Gap offered people with that shared purpose the opportunity to focus efforts towards a shared mission, through the creation of a Manifesto for user focused design, captured on film.
The impetus for participatory design is the belief that people deserve the best that architecture and design can offer and that meeting peoples’ design needs can be achieved through high quality collaboration and participation. There is currently a momentum towards public inclusion and involvement in the design process, driven in Scotland and Ireland by Architecture and Design Scotland Irish Architecture Foundation and other organisations and individuals who share the ethos of putting people first. Recent initiatives include innovative models of public participation in the design process, the application of design thinking to enhance working and learning situations and the use of collaboration to create better learning environments.