Co-design as a public service to support social innovations in city making


  • Daniela Selloni
  • Anna Meroni
  • Marta Corubolo



co-design, scenario building, public services, service design, city making


This paper discusses the conditions and some possible ways in which co-design can be regarded as a public service offered by public administrations to city dwellers and organizations to foster social innovation in city making projects. It starts by discussing the theoretical and operational entanglement of public services, co-design and place making, in order to understand the background that generates the research question on the opportunity to consider co-design as a public service and set up the conditions for it to be so. Then, the paper presents a case study of a co-design process developed for the city of Reggio Emilia by the authors, to support a huge urban transformation project, and discusses against the context of the advanced participatory policy of the city. Finally, it proposes the conceptualization of ‘permanent vs transient’ public services of co-design and discusses their similarities and differences, to open the debate for further research