University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management

PhD thesis defense

Anne Louise Cunningham defends her thesis about urban space design

PhD thesis defense — Anne Louise Cunningham 20 FEB


Date & Time:

Auditorium Kongelunden, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C

Hosted by:
Lincoln University, New Zealand and Landscape Architecture and Planning, University of Copenhagen


Anne Louise Cunningham defends her thesis,

Practicing Together: Designing with Consent
Towards a new theoretical approach to the professional-led participatory design of urban space

Video link

Senior Lecturer Andreas Wesener, Lincoln University, Aotearoa – New Zealand
Associate Professor Trine Agervig Carstensen, IGN
Professor Emeritus Simon Swaffield, Lincoln University, Aotearoa – New Zealand
Associate Professor Gillian Lawson, Lincoln University, Aotearoa – New Zealand

Assessment Committee:
Senior lecturer Maria Rita de Jesus Dionisio, University of Canterbury, Christchurch – New Zealand
Associate Professor Lone Søderkvist Kristensen (chair), IGN

Local participation is now a mainstream practice within Landscape Architecture and Urban Design. The literature review considers ‘participation’ as the primary lens for democratising design practice and examines how it has enabled and limited participatory design practice – pinpointing the need for further theorisation at the intersection of design professionals and local people. This study addresses this intersection by developing an interpretative model that draws on interdisciplinary concepts of informed consent. A grounded, more-than-human empirical study interprets two case studies, Aro Park in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand and Grønne Park, Superkilen in Copenhagen, Denmark. The substantive findings are presented in the form of seven episodes that follow how participatory design enables and limits the formation of informed consent. In addition, this analysis both develops and applies the theoretical model, leading to a Framework of Informed Consent. Three key synthetic insights examine why the interrelationships between design professionals, local people and the sites led to the disruption of the participatory design process and designed landscape. Theoretical, methodological, and substantive conclusions are drawn detailing opportunities for future research and practice.

 A digital version of the PhD thesis can be obtained from the PhD secretary Anne Marie Faldt at