Abstract

This paper suggests that collaborative design can be an effective tool to promote social change. A co-design methodology and the results of its application in branding the Waterfall Way (New South Wales, Australia) as an eco- and nature-based tourism destination are presented as an example. The co-design exercise actively involved stakeholders in all stages of the design process, harnessing local tacit knowledge in relation to communication design, stimulating reflection upon what is special about the places, and consequently reinforcing a sense of belonging and the environmental and cultural conservation of place. The achieved results reflect the involvement and ownership of the community towards the design process. However, the application of a collaborative brand design methodology produced more than just a destination brand that is attractive to visitors, in line with local values, ways of living and the environment. It helped to catalyse a social network around tourism, triggering self-organising activity amongst stakeholders, who started to liaise with each other around the emergent regional identity - represented by the new brand they created together. The Waterfall Way branding process is a good example of social construction of shared understanding in and through design, showing that design exercises can have a significant social impact not only on the final product, but also on the realities of people involved in the process.

Keywords:

Destination Branding; Collaborative Process; Social Design; Self Organising Systems; Sustainable Tourism

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Jul 16th, 12:00 AM

The Social Role of Design on Collaborative Destination Branding: Creating a new journey, a new story for the Waterfall Way, New South Wales, Australia

This paper suggests that collaborative design can be an effective tool to promote social change. A co-design methodology and the results of its application in branding the Waterfall Way (New South Wales, Australia) as an eco- and nature-based tourism destination are presented as an example. The co-design exercise actively involved stakeholders in all stages of the design process, harnessing local tacit knowledge in relation to communication design, stimulating reflection upon what is special about the places, and consequently reinforcing a sense of belonging and the environmental and cultural conservation of place. The achieved results reflect the involvement and ownership of the community towards the design process. However, the application of a collaborative brand design methodology produced more than just a destination brand that is attractive to visitors, in line with local values, ways of living and the environment. It helped to catalyse a social network around tourism, triggering self-organising activity amongst stakeholders, who started to liaise with each other around the emergent regional identity - represented by the new brand they created together. The Waterfall Way branding process is a good example of social construction of shared understanding in and through design, showing that design exercises can have a significant social impact not only on the final product, but also on the realities of people involved in the process.

 

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