Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Peter Miniutti, John Alexopoulos, Miriah Kelly

Field of Study

Plant Science


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


The purpose of this thesis is to use participatory design strategies throughout the design process in order to make fair, transparent, and successful design outcomes. Participatory design is an approach that encourages actively involving all stakeholders, clients, community members, and site users to make sure the solution meets their desires and needs. This approach is used in two community based projects; the Ecological Screen in Fairfield, CT and Wolcott Park in West Hartford, CT. For my research I completed a series of stakeholder and client meetings, public workshops, and surveys in order to educate the public and build a strong consensus not only for the final design result, but also at every step throughout the process. This thesis provides case studies of the Ecological Screen and Wolcott Park projects in order to fully evaluate the effectiveness of its participatory design component. I used different evaluation methods for each case study. For the Ecological Screen project, I used a single method approach that focused on qualitative research. I had received speculation for using this evaluation method from the science community at UCONN. I then teamed up with social scientist, Dr. Miriah Russo Kelly, who educated me on using a blended methods approach. This mixed approach combined qualitative and quantitative research strategies through the use of surveys in order to evaluate the success of the participatory design component for the Wolcott Park Project.

This thesis will explain the participatory design process as a fully integrated component of the design process throughout each case study. These processes will be evaluated through the separate methods as explained above. This thesis will also show how using blended or mixed research methods, instead of a single qualitative approach, when it comes to evaluating the success of a participatory design component will lead to a more concrete and in-depth findings. These discoveries lead to the development of an improved participatory design process and evaluation method that can be used in future projects.

Major Advisor

Peter Miniutti