In the upcoming three decades, global settling dynamics will heavily influence whether or not we will be able to transform our habitats in a just, sustainable and livable way. Science and research play a pivotal part in this mission by fostering society-related research questions, developing practical solutions, generating visionary ideas, and assessing their effectiveness. From a scientific point of view, the idea of social based design has great potential, with many questions still unanswered. Therefore, in 2019, we engaged a mapping in the field of participatory design creating value for urban societies. In the Dutch Research Institute for Transition (DRIFT) we found an excellent scientific partner who brought in their wide expertise in the field of transformation and transdisciplinary research as well as their broad experience in urban research. The compiled mapping not only identifies the key academic actors and institutions, the state-of-the-art theories, models and methods but also includes possible future research pathways in the field of participatory design of people-centered cities. It proofs that participatory design is an interdisciplinary theme, which builds upon very different bodies of knowledge and varying communities, bringing together knowledge and research results far beyond boarders of traditional academic approaches.