Participation and triangulation: learning from non-institutional international Architecture Live Projects through a comparative case approach

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Lehane, Jack R.
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University College Cork
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Research Projects
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Noticeable opportunities for architecture education are opening up in the world, markedly non-institutional international Live Project networks that practice independently of university course structures. As distinct from conventional volunteer-based construction in the humanitarian development sector, this emergent and ‘independent’ model of international architecture education represents a unique intersection between the Live Project and new spatial agency. However, despite the increasingly participative nature of Live Project initiatives, there is still a lack of research into the role stakeholder participation plays in the first place, exacerbating this emergent model’s underrepresentation within formal research and literature not least due to its recent and decentralised nature. To address this knowledge gap — and in line with calls for a departure from traditional understandings of participation in an era of globalisation — this thesis employs a first principles reasoning and (re)turns to the fundamental question: What constitutes stakeholder participation for this new model of Live Project in the first place? Through real world participation and a comparative case study approach, this thesis embarks beyond the boundary of the university structure and engages multiple stakeholder groups across three real world Live Project cases in Lebanon, Fiji and Nepal. Each case is investigated according to three sub-research questions: • What can the built artefact reveal about the stakeholder participation? • How are these aspects of stakeholder participation experienced by the stakeholders? • What are the extended implications of this participation for the organisation and the community? Mixed methods were utilised for concurrent data collection during and after each case study — participant observation, semi-structured interviews and post-occupancy participatory walking probe. Following this, three phases of sequential data analysis were employed to measure, contextualise, and assess the implications of stakeholder participation in the projects. The findings offer an original and measurable understanding of stakeholder participation, as revealed through the built artefact. As a result, this research formalises this emergent typology of Live Project through comparative measure; demonstrating distinctions from, and extendedly limitations of, Architecture Live Projects in academic institutions. This extends our current knowledge of how stakeholder participation in these Live Projects operates, informing participation for the organisations and the communities within future initiatives, and offers an empirical basis to broader participatory conditions of an emerging architectural space.
Live Project , Participation , Deinstitutionalisation , Design-build , Community architecture , Student networks , NGO
Lehane, J. R. 2022. Participation and triangulation: learning from non-institutional international Architecture Live Projects through a comparative case approach. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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