Educator. Designer. Heritage Advocate. Wife. Director and Co-Founder of Participate in Design
Saul Bass once said that “Design is thinking made visible” and for Mizah Rahman, it’s about creating an inclusive space to design with people, not just for people.
To Mizah, being a female leader is about empowerment, it’s about having the opportunity and platform to share your journey with the spirit of giving, to listen to multitudes of stories, and to always remember why it matters to care about what matters and take necessary steps to address issues close to the heart.
As a trained architect, Mizah wanted to empower people through design, which led to the birth of Participate in Design (P!D).
So, what’s the story?
Having run P!D for 5 years now, Mizah recalls her journey, telling us that she feels “truly blessed” to have the kind of work that fills her with a sense of purpose and joy.
A typical day at P!D would involve lots of projects- from neighbourhood planning, design and consultancy services and even volunteering projects!
Founded on the firm belief that everyone has the right to participate in and influence the design and planning processes that affect them, P!D provides services in designing and facilitating the public participation and engagement process concerning the built environment. – Participate in Design
Mizah started P!D to give communities a greater sense of ownership in their built environment. To accomplish this, P!D has come up with a framework that consists of a community-centric design methodology, where all stakeholders are involved in the planning process. Additionally, P!D has volunteer opportunities so those with special skillsets can help to facilitate projects or take part in the projects!
When we asked Mizah about her work, she said that part of her mission is to change perspectives. In an article with GovInsider, Mizah says that rather than just being a contractor, she hopes that government officials see the architect’s role as a designer, a facilitator, and a community organiser.
On top of working to improve shared spaces through her work at P!D, Mizah is also a lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Design School and a loving wife to her husband.
Oh, did we mention that she’s a huge heritage advocate? She says with a cheeky grin that she’s on Singapore Heritage Society Exco Board, gleaming with passion as she mentions her efforts in heritage conservation. Mizah strongly believes in doing all things with great love and compassion, which really explains her choice to work tirelessly researching, testing and developing socially just and inclusive methods of design that are appropriate for our local neighbourhoods. Because, if not for passion,
“why bother right! Life is too short to focus on things that don’t matter.”
When asked what being a woman leader means, Mizah confidently expounded,
“Being a woman leader is all about hard work, determination, dedication, getting things done, and hopefully kicking ass while at it!”
Share with us an interesting life story which you feel made an impact in your life, be it the moment you realized you felt like a leader or you felt driven to be a leader.
Mizah: When we first started out P!D, it was just the two of us. Over the years, I have seen the P!D community grow with our volunteers and my core team, the kind of passion that they have and the spirit and energy they bring to the conversations and dialogue to continue the mission and vision of P!D where we want to empower communities through participatory design. This is when I realised that I have helped to create something larger than myself. It was one of the most magical moments of my journey in P!D.
With that, Mizah wants to make the designing process less exclusive, perhaps making people feel like they’re a part of something bigger would channel a greater appreciation of our shared spaces, and foster a stronger community spirit.
Through #TheGoodWomen series, we challenge the notion that being a successful woman has to look a certain way, and that inspiring female entrepreneurs and leaders are so much more than just their titles.