Comunidad la piedra

Community-based Design practices in La Piedra, Dominican Republic

Collaborators: MSU Denver - Design Class 2013, Guanin Cultural Center (DR), Altos de Chavon Escuela de Diseño (DR)

Role: Co-documentation of experience, design process and design research practices

Community Empowerment

Beisbol y karaoke_025.jpg

Design Process

As designers, it is important to be culturally aware of the practices used to work with resilient communities. It is essential to co-design with the community and not for them. The design team was critical in any imperial approaches. It was important for the team to develop trust & immerse ourselves into the community. The approach was first to observe and then proceed into a process of immersion. The design team lived with La Piedra community to understand their challenges and opportunities. From there, community trust was developed allowing design research to take place. Quickly, co-creation led into community implementation.

Diagram of Design Process

Diagram of Design Process

Design Process028_sm.jpg

Research & Activation

Identifying community strengths & generating group discussions geared towards for possible design solutions. 

Community Board_016_2.jpg

Community Ownership

Working alongside community members to provide ownership over design process & tools.

Community Board_051.jpg

Candid Documentation

A strength Ángel holds is documenting the creative process. His main contribution to the project was the candid approach to capture the collaboration spirit of the design team and La Piedra community. Collaborating with teamates, Ángel helped develop multimedia documentation to storytell the student experience, but most importantly, the story of Comunidad La Piedra.


Design Outcomes

In the short three-week experience, the design team and La Piedra community developed a wayfinding system throughout the one-acre community residence. Also, a dual language educational toolkit was developed, alongside a community events board, and a community mural. Other contributions were in support of healthcare awareness and an update Guanin Center’s online presence.