Utilizing co-design approach to identify various stakeholders’ roles in the protection of intangible place-making heritage

Haorui Wu (Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA)
Chaoping Hou (College of Architecture and Urban-Rural Planning, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, China) (Faculty of Environmental Engineering, The University of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan)

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 12 March 2019



The protection of traditional grassroots place-making knowledge and skills that comprise valuable intangible heritage has not been attracting enough attention in the field of post-disaster reconstruction and recovery. Based on the Guchengping Village’s reconstruction that followed the Lushan earthquake (Sichuan, China), the purpose of this paper is to identify the benefits of a co-design approach for post-disaster reconstruction and recovery, in order to ascertain various stakeholders’ contributions toward the protection of community-based intangible place-making heritage.


A qualitative method was employed to assist the professional designers in facilitating the co-design approach by bridging governments closer together with local communities. At the governmental level, focus groups and personal interviews were conducted to discover the government’s role in preserving the communities’ intangible heritage. At the community level, community-based workshops and family-based design partnerships engaged various community stakeholders to decipher their roles and contributions toward advancing the heritage age.


As the advocates of intangible heritage, all levels of government guaranteed that intangible heritage would be safeguarded in the government strategic plans. At the community level, local residents played a fundamental role as the grassroots protectors. Professional designers utilized cutting edge technologies to improve weaknesses found in the traditional knowledge and skills, by performing the protection in practice. Community-based service agencies promoted the value of heritage to address societal issues.


The co-design approach offered a new method of intangible heritage protection in post-disaster reconstruction and recovery by engaging different stakeholders, in order to effectively transfer the governmental strategic plans into community-based action plans, and in turn, enabled the grassroots voice to inform the government policies.



Wu, H. and Hou, C. (2019), "Utilizing co-design approach to identify various stakeholders’ roles in the protection of intangible place-making heritage", Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-09-2018-0291

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