Using Theory of Change to Support Participatory Visual Mapping in Urban Transformation Projects

Hadas Zohar, Luca Simeone, Nicola Morelli, Laura Martelloni, Dario Marmo

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Theory of Change was created as a logic planning model to explore andrepresent a potential change in a way that reflects a complex and systemicunderstanding of development. Even though it is a familiar tool in the contextof community initiatives and philanthropic projects, Theory of Change isunder-applied in design as a problem-solving practice and underexplored withindesign research. Design projects that are looking for more comprehensive waysof negotiating change can greatly benefit from it to inform a deep understandingof the dynamics of change. This paper focuses on how a designerly approach toTheory of Change can support participatory visual mapping, thus creating someenabling conditions towards transformation in cities, namely: facilitating moregranular communication, suggesting a multifaceted and systemic perspective,helping to navigate complexity by creating shared mental models amongstakeholders, fostering thinking through different temporalities, and boostingcreativity. The paper will examine a case of an urban transformation projectthat involves six European cities under regeneration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDesign Management Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)32-47
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
EventDesign Management as a Strategic Asset dmi: : Academic Design Management Conference - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 3 Aug 20224 Aug 2022


ConferenceDesign Management as a Strategic Asset dmi:
Internet address


  • participatory design
  • Theory of Change
  • urban transformation
  • visual mapping


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