Enquiry by Design

Collaborating with stakeholders and passionate communities

Collaborative design has been part of DR’s way of working for more than two decades. The team uses Enquiry by Design to explore, test and resolve design strategies for projects at all scales.

The EbD is essentially a design workshop — a collaborative, engaging and inclusive process. It’s a powerful consultation tool  where there are diverse or competing interests and passionately held beliefs. It’s also a cost effective and time efficient way to develop consensus and understanding, especially where there are complex criteria to consider.

The EbD workshop brings structure and clarity to the issues of a design project, including the aspirations of clients and stakeholders, physical, social and climatic factors, and the planning and policy context.

Typically an EbD helps the project team to:

• produce coordinated, deliverable outcomes with good prospects for achieving support; and
• create a deep understanding of a project’s complexities by bringing together many stakeholders simultaneously.

The process also involves our expert team members literally drawing design options and ideas — in public and with stakeholders — so that ideas can be visualised quickly, shared and tested.

DR has used EbD workshops in master planning for controversial and challenging development areas, in education master planning, and in planning for large public housing projects, urban expansion and new settlements. Alongside our own designers, our project teams usually  include specialist consultants.

The EbD is often part of a wider programme of engagement strategies, all aimed at sustaining not one but many conversations with stakeholders.

The process may also be used multiple times within a project. Some EbDs involve technical specialists and client representatives only; others involve a wide range of community representatives and stakeholders.

DR’s featured projects will be progressively renewed to share more examples of the EbD in use.