The failure of participatory design in the government housing provision program

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While there has been a general acknowledgement of the need to provide decent housing for the underprivileged, the self-help housing approach has been found to provide a more focused built environment. The Million House and Zero Slum Program was launched by the Government of Indonesia (GoI) to overcome housing backlogs and reduce slum settlements within five years. The GoI has gradually championed participatory design (PD) to develop compatible prototype housing designs. This study used an action research approach to examine a housing provision program for fishing communities, determine the contributions of each stakeholder in the PD and assess the community and government interest levels in the decision-making process. Significant obstacles were found to the existing self-help housing approach and that the authority's decision determined the final result. It was also found that the PD program failed to consider the end-user's needs in the house design because the expected equal partnership between the government as the donor and the community as the benefactor was not achieved and there was still a malfunctioning top-down approach. This study provides valuable information on the government's role in the PD process by examining the various volatile interest levels of the engaged stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Design in Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Design
  • Fishing Communities
  • Government
  • Housing
  • Participatory


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