Abstract: Design is increasingly entering planning beyond the subfield of urban design. At a larger scale, designers are moving into the social sciences to apply design skills at intersections with the social sciences. This article offers an overview of research and practice at the forefront of both interpreting design fields and understanding their growing importance within planning. This transcends examinations of urban design to incorporate the potential of design more broadly in planning, with particular emphasis on community development and engagement. The article does this through a case study of an existing design-based nonprofit (bcWORKSHOP) which leverages techniques across design and planning to generate new forms of community planning practice in the State of Texas. Ultimately, this case study begins to ask whether planning can fully address a number of issues (like social/racial justice and climate change) without understanding these issues from both design and planning perspectives simultaneously. It also emphasizes the importance of training planners to both envision and build alternate possible worlds, a skillset fundamental to design that could reshape planning education and practice.
Keywords: design; planning research; community-based design; interdisciplinary research; design practice