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Bellevue Believes: Design Thinking as a Catalyst for Community Development in Bellevue, Pennsylvania

Kerr, Donald Kent (2020) Bellevue Believes: Design Thinking as a Catalyst for Community Development in Bellevue, Pennsylvania. Masters thesis, Radford University.

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Abstract

The concept of community manifests from a location’s collective history, geography, culture, economy, and the perceptions of the people who contribute to these systems. These shared experiences result in community identity. Conversely, the dissociation of one’s community may lead to identity decline, or a diminished sense of community identity (Howard-Grenville, Metzger, & Meyer, 2013). Drawing upon design-thinking strategies, the purpose of this research was to explore how design thinking integrates and supports the process of community identification by way of a community development initiative within the borough of Bellevue, Pennsylvania. A secondary purpose recorded the influence of design thinking on the creation of social capital and its influence on community dissociation, identity decline, and public perception. Due to its human-centered focus, design thinking is uniquely qualified to engage with community members and explore the unique qualities of the community and the shared perceptions of its citizenry. Yet, there is minimal research detailing the deliberate use of design-thinking methodologies in support of community identification and development and no recorded instance of such techniques having been used in Bellevue. This research follows a purposive sample of 20 stakeholders and their engagement with this research. It records their perceptions, their experiences, and the influence they had in the creation of social capital, the articulation of community identity, and the inspiration behind community development initiatives. Results culminated in three concept posters advocating graphic rebranding via signage, consistency in code reinforcement, and mini-murals enhancing walkability within the Bellevue community. While this research contributes to a comprehensive understanding of design thinking, community identity, and development initiatives within small communities, the solution phase did not produce innovative solutions typically associated with design thinking and needs further exploration.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bellevue, community development, community identity, design thinking, participatory design, social capital, community dissociation, identity decline
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Radford University > College of Graduate and Professional Studies
Depositing User: Donald Kent Kerr
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2021 17:20
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2021 17:20
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/625

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