A case study: co-designing social infrastructure in Casanova, Bolzano

In 2020, many of us are becoming social infrastructure designers out of necessity. With an ad-hoc, as-you-go approach we are discovering and trying out new ways to connect with each other – be these digital or in person.

But how did we connect in a business-as-usual (non-pandemic situation) situation? What structures made and could continue to make connecting with the people around us possible? How can we bring people together and strengthen communities?

In 2019, within the framework of OfficineVispa’s Public Space Innovation series, we developed a participatory game (Convivial) designed to help residents of Casanova, Bolzano do exactly this. Using Convivial, residents co-designed eight new social infrastructure ideas tailored to their neighbourhood, all with the aim of creating places and moments of connection and exchange.

We will present Convivial* as well as the eight social infrastructure ideas and reflect how offline tools and projects such as these can be continued and transported into a digital space.

“The social and physical environment shapes our behaviour in ways we’ve failed to recognise; it helps make us who we are and determines how we live.”

Klinenberg, 2018

“Face-to-face contact improves our ability to fight disease, remember information and decreases our sense of loneliness.”

Pinker, 2014

“How might we (re)design our living environments to enhance local qualities and experiences? How might we design for localist attributes such as sense of place, locally rooted experiences, neighbourhood, and community building? How can we give meaning to the local, whilst acknowledging that all locals are (or can be) globally connected?”

Schwarz and Krabbendam, 2013

About Convivial:

*Convivial is a participatory game designed to harness citizens’ local knowledge to creatively improve the social infrastructure in their neighbourhoods. It seeks to draw on citizen’s local knowledge and empower them to take the initiative in contributing to civic life and improve their public spaces. It does this by encouraging dialogue and guiding participants through a four staged hands-on idea development process. With the help of Convivial citizens develop concrete ideas for social infrastructure – be these one-off, continuous, large, small, physical or virtual – unique to the needs of their neighbourhoods


Lea Luzzi

I am an eco-social designer who specialises in participatory processes. My passion lies in co-creating innovative spaces, which strengthen communities and enable sustainable living. Within my work I bring together methods and concepts from design, urban planning, participation theory and systems thinking.

M.A. Eco-Social Design

B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies (Sustainability)

Xenia Trojer

Sono Xenia, laureata in Design & Arte presso la Facoltà della Libera Università di Bolzano.

Da sempre vicina al mondo dell’educazione, faccio parte di una Cooperativa sociale che si occupa di Sviluppo di Comunità, rigenerazione urbana e empowerment.

Mi piace definirmi una ​proto-social designer​

B.A. Design & Art