Decode (Community Design for Conflicting Desires) is one of Sweden’s Innovation Agency’s (Vinnova) strategic research projects.

The project is one of a number that forms part of the Attractive Sustainable Cities programme (

The goal of the project is to develop services in the form of collaboration platforms. The project is innovative because it is creating new knowledge with respect to citizen led views of what is an attractive sustainable city. The starting point for the project is the idea that sustainable urban development is created by an inclusive collaboration with all groups in society, based on social, environmental and cultural targets.

Many planning proposals for homes, infrastructure solutions and public facilities are appealed against. The reason for this is that the proposals are seen as problematic because they do not correspond to needs, interests and possibilities. This results in revisions, which frequently lead to the plans being shelved. The socio-economic consequences are almost incalculable.

The project’s central focus concerns how the accepted ways of working, as applied in the planning process, can be challenged. It is frequently taken for granted that citizen and user participation leads to democratic and efficient change processes. The starting point for the project is that active participation in the planning process is a form of tool, which must be carefully designed so those who participate really can contribute in an effective way with their experience and knowledge. This applies for all stakeholders (private sector, public administration, citizens and politicians) which is also a clue to the title of the project, Decode – Community Design for Conflicting Desires.

The project ran from May 2014 to August 2016.

The next phase of the project is to apply it to other European countries.