Participatory Diagnosis

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Participatory Diagnosis is a citizen participation method to determine perception-related and ethics aspects in planning of public spaces.


Participatory Diagnosis is useful to identify feelings of insecurity in cities, communities, districts, and neighbourhoods as an important early step. It is a process giving participants the chance to tell what makes them feel insecure about, and to promote gender balanced participation[1]. Participatory Diagnosis is well established and successfully applied in community planning and development.

The Participatory Diagnosis is undertaken prior to the start of a planning project itself. Its results feed into the project planning, and contribute to the efficiency of planning public policies.

Process description

Participants are grouped according to similar constraints and opportunities. Sessions start with a review of characteristics of topics, concerns and recommendation domain, and move to identify and prioritise problems. Potential solutions are then discussed and alternatives are identified. The process ends with a selection of the best possible solution acceptable to all parties.

How does it support in planning of secure public spaces?

Participatory Diagnosis helps in

  • Identifying motives for a particular type of behaviour and revealing areas of difficulty;
  • Identifying feelings and perception of (in)security and risks;
  • Obtaining information and ideas to handle a particular issue in the process of planning urban spaces.

Footnotes and references

  1. UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Retrieved from:;