About the Dotte Agency
Dotte Agency is a University of Kansas-led participatory design hub that fosters inter-professional collaboration amongst students and faculty of architecture, design and other disciplines. And beyond KU, having opportunities to engage community residents, neighborhood leaders, civic representatives, policy makers employed by municipalities and alongside non-profit organizations are essential skills of the architectural profession. This work requires that designers work WITH citizens, not for them.Together with community partners we do this in order to improve food access and physical activity in the underserved, urban core community in the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, and in other Kansas City neighborhoods.
This approach has allowed us to test ways in which we re-imagine how universities and communities can work together as partners and help to educate students and faculty willing and able to emerge from silos in order to tackle wicked problems in the built environment. From targeted improvements to civic infrastructure (parks, streets, bikeways, sidewalks); to the development of various programs (walking clubs, educational experiences, events); to data visualization through mapping to make problems and opportunities evident; to designing sites, buildings, tools, games, and vehicles that support healthy community activities, improved food access, and affordable housing; to physical prototyping of elements (benches, bikes, bike racks, signs)—we use design to proactively make the case for an improved public realm.
Since its inception in 2015, over 450 students have participated in Dotte Agency projects and events for a high-impact learning experience—they are essential to the success of this work. The work has been disseminated in numerous scholarly journals, books, and community presentations and has won awards for its impact in community-engaged research, pedagogy, and design. The work is done with the essential collaborative efforts of many and the valuable and continued support of our community and institutional partners, sponsors and funders: