Making Community Design Work:
A Planners Guide

Umut Toker helps engage the community in design.


Since the earliest settlements, people have deliberated the issues that affect their future together. Making Community Design Work shows how planners can guide the process toward effective decision making and beneficial community design.

This well-crafted book distills decades of community design experience into a sound conceptual framework of value to practicing planners as well as planning students. Umut Toker covers a broad range of planning scales and introduces field-tested tools for participatory decision making at regional, city, community, and site-specific levels.

To succeed, any planning project must address both the physical space and its users. From setting goals to evaluating results, Making Community Design Work helps planners navigate the process of creating environments that meet the needs of the people they serve.

Meet the Author

Umut TokerUmut Toker is associate professor of city and regional planning in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at California Polytechnic State University.

He has been involved with several design projects such as the Concept Plans for Downtown Delano and Traver, California; Urban Revitalization of Downtown Mebane, North Carolina; and Sandhills Community Project in Spring Lake, North Carolina.

In 2007, Toker finished the 3D Digital Model of City of San Luis Obispo, a device that will increase future community input for urban design decisions. 

His teaching includes participatory planning and design methods, urban design studios, and computer applications. Toker has written a number of pieces based on his research in Research Policy and Journal of Architectural and Planning Research.

Advance Praise

"Making Community Design Work is a direct response to an international movement aimed at giving people a voice in shaping their future environment. This is a practical 'must have' tool for planners, designers, students, and other related professionals, community organizations, and workshop facilitators everywhere. The book outlines 'off-the shelf' workable methods illustrated by informative case studies. It integrates tools and processes that help to deepen the public conversation. It is equally valuable in shaping the next generation of designers and planners in understanding effective participation processes."

—Henry Sanoff, Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Architecture, North Carolina State University; author of Democratic Design and Community Participation Methods in Design and Planning

"Making Community Design Work is by far the most comprehensive publication on this critical subject to date. Professor Toker does an excellent job in presenting the history, the politics, the concepts, and the methods of community design for a range of scales. Most important, he conveys the feeling and spirit of community design which ultimately determines success or failure in these endeavors!"

—Daniel S. Iacofano, FAICP, founding principal, MIG; author, Meeting of the Minds and The Inclusive City