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Participatory Design is a diverse collection of principles and practices aimed at making technologies, tools, and social institutions more responsive to human needs. A central theme of Participatory Design is the direct involvement of people in the design of things, spaces and technologies they use.
Participatory Design Conferences have been held every two years since 1990 and have formed an important venue for international discussion of the collaborative, social, and political dimensions of technology production and use. The conferences started as a dialogue about user involvement in IT systems development between, on the one hand, Scandinavian scholars and promoters and, on the other hand, Europeans and Americans interested in how the Scandinavian experience could be adopted and extended. Since then, the conference agendas have broadened to address participatory approaches in a variety of other arenas, including communications, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), co-design, design research, Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D), development studies, design anthropology, sociology, media studies, participatory architecture and spatial planning, and participatory arts.
PDC brings together a multidisciplinary and international group of software developers, researchers, social scientists, designers, practitioners, cultural workers, activists and citizens who both advocate and adopt distinctively participatory approaches in the development of information and communication artifacts, systems, services and technology. A central concern has always been to understand how collaborative design processes can be driven by the participation of the people affected by the technology designed.