Co-creative partnerships as catalysts for social change

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Mundane cities are challenged to design for unpredictable and rapidly changing futures. In the current work, we refer to thesechallenges as a collaborative design challenge and explore how co-creative partnerships can enable a participatory turn by establishinga new social infrastructure. The corresponding citizen-centred design approach offers a variety of design opportunitiesto engage with citizens, to empower all involvement, and enabling a social fabric to be increasingly reflexive and responsive.Through the illustration of three collaborative design studies in the public realm, we explore how design can act as a strategytowards a transforming society. It shows that participatory designing enabled empowerment across the co-creative partnership,though it also calls for strategic guidance in order to sustain transformational change. We end with an elaborate discussion onthe role of strategic design in facilitating the interplay among new coalitions of city makers towards a transforming society thatembraces sustainable social innovation. It can be concluded that co-creative partnerships can act as network designers, capacitybuilders, and enablers of transformational change, and have the potential to act as change makers, driving sustainable socialinnovation.