Playing to Plan: Hands-on and sensory-based community engagement

Research Seminar

Speakers: John Kamp and James Rojas
Hosts: Alexandra Gomes and Atefeh Motamedi

Thursday 18 November 2021

5.00-6.00pm GMT

In this seminar, James Rojas of Place It! and John Kamp of Prairieform will explore how they engage people in urban planning, and landscape and transportation design through their hands, explorations of memory, and the senses. Their approach centres on the observation that engaging people through these methods instead of mere talking radically changes outcomes in planning and design. It simultaneously levels the playing field and allows people of all backgrounds to participate. They will briefly ground their work in the psychology behind this phenomenon and then explore key projects on transportation station design, shared bike/ped spaces, and a new plaza and discuss how they engaged diverse audiences through their hands and senses to radically change the outcomes of these projects.


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If you would like to explore James and John’s work in advance of the seminar you can explore the following links:

James Rojas, is an urban planner, community activist, educator, and artist who runs the planning, model-building, and community-outreach practice Place It!. He is an international expert in public engagement and has traveled around the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and South America, facilitating over 1,000 workshops, and building more than 300 interactive models. His research has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Dwell, and Places, as well as numerous books.

John Kamp, runs the landscape, urban design, and engagement practice Prairieform. He has developed innovative tools to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in both design and the natural world, with two decades of experience leading hands-on interactive workshops with James Rojas of Place It!. He frequently translates the findings

and outcomes of those workshops into designs for inclusive and livable streets and neighborhoods that leave room for all residents to improvise and help create a more welcoming public realm. 

Alexandra Gomes, Research Officer, LSE Cities
Atefeh Motamedi, Town Planner