Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) transforms impoverished communities by collaborating with residents to create low-cost, high-impact built environments (Productive Public Spaces) that improve their daily lives. Begun in 2006, KDI is an innovative international partnership specializing in the practices of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, and urban planning. KDI believes that participatory planning and design are key to sustainable development. By working collaboratively with communities from conception through implementation, we build on their ideas, enhance them with technical knowledge and design innovation, and connect them to extant resources. In doing so, KDI empowers communities to advocate for themselves and address the major physical, social, and economic challenges they face.
Productive Public Spaces (PPS) are:
1. Formerly unusable and sometimes unsafe areas that become active public spaces such as community meeting areas, vegetable gardens, and micro-enterprise and recreation spaces, along with basic infrastructure (e.g. sanitation, bridges, walkways)
2. Conceived, constructed and managed by the people who use them, in collaboration with local and international partners
3. Income-generating, socially constructive, and sustainable
4. Projects that would otherwise not be realized through traditional channels
5. Targeted areas that employ strong design concepts to create beautiful places
6. Catalysts by which communities improve the social, economic, and environmental lives of their residents
Kounkuey: /con-coo-ee/ is a Thai word meaning to know intimately.