Public Interest Design
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August 21, 2014

Watch Aziza Chaouni’s TED Talk on Fez River

Architect and civil engineer Aziza Chaouni–who also made the Global PID100 list–tells the story of a 20 year restoration project in her 6 minute TED talk “How I Brought a River, and My City, Back to Life.” Recorded at the TED2014 Conference in Vancouver early this year, Chaouni describes the vision and ongoing changes being made to the Fez River in her hometown of Fez, Morocco. Taking place in a World Heritage site, the beauty of the project is the intentional and incremental moves to transform the river over many years to meet the needs of the residents.

The Fez River winds through the medina of Fez, Morocco—a mazelike medieval city that’s a World Heritage site. Once considered the “soul” of this celebrated city, the river succumbed to sewage and pollution, and in the 1950s was covered over bit by bit until nothing remained. TED Fellow Aziza Chaouni recounts her 20 year effort to restore this river to its former glory, and to transform her city in the process.

Click here to watch “How I Brought a River and My City Back to Life,” online at

August 20, 2014

“9 Women Who Are Rocking Public Interest Design”


Architect and writer Rennie Jones recently showcased “9 Women Who Are Rocking Public Interest Design” in Architizer. We were thrilled to see familiar practitioners here on–Emily Pilloton, Julia King, Erinn McGurn, Ceara O’Leary, Liz Ogbu, Marika Shioiri-Clark, Emilie Taylor, Chelina Odbert, and Deanna VanBuren–highlighted in a mainstream architecture news website. Along with the publicity, we hope the range of design initiatives and array of practice methods inspires more designers–men and women–to explore outside the bounds of traditional architecture and design practice.

Women are an inspiring presence in this sector of design and, in another trend that contrasts tradition, they are being recognized for it. There are many women (and men!) who put in the sweat and lack of sleep to establish the field, but here we will highlight nine of the next young guns.

Click here to read “9 Women Who Are Rocking Public Interest Design,” online at

August 20, 2014

Design Trust Announces Call for Fellows


The Design Trust for Public Space has issued a Call for Fellows for the new program Design Guidelines for Neighborhood Retail. In partnership with New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, three fellows representing the fields of Architecture, Engineering, and Graphic Design will be selected to collaborate on developing design guidelines for ground floor retail and community space in mixed-use developments. Aimed at practitioners with seven or more years of experience, this unique opportunity offers seasoned designers and engineers a chance to influence New York City’s vibrant streetscapes using participatory design and research methodologies. Applications from interested candidates are due September 15, 2014.

Mayor de Blasio’s ‘Housing New York’: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Housing Plan, calls for a holistic approach to community development that will support diverse, livable neighborhoods, including an increased emphasis on mixed-use development. Because  HPD’s core competency is housing, the agency needs to build capacity in developing non-residential, ground-floor spaces in mixed-use buildings… This project aims to improve retail outcomes by developing guidelines for the physical design of retail space.

Click here to read more about the three fellowship requirements for Design Guidelines for Neighborhood Retail, online at

Image source: Gail Albert Halaban for Design Trust

August 19, 2014

The Work Department Seeking Project Manager


Located in Detroit, Michigan, The Work Department is a “small and mighty” communication design and development studio that collaborates with unique cultural partners, businesses, and organizations on websites, campaigns, applications, and media outreach. They are currently seeking a Project Manager to work with designers, developers, researchers, and strategists on a range of client projects. The position will initially require 20-30 hours per week, with room to grow. To apply, submit a brief introduction and resume to jobs[at]theworkdept[dot]com.

The Work Department is a communication design and development studio. We work with businesses and organizations that make a positive social impact while advancing open-source movements. Our experienced team uses a participatory design process that allows us to launch final products that are flexible, easy to use, and offer intuitive interfaces.

Click here to read more about the Project Manager position, online at

August 19, 2014

Archeworks Announce 2 PID Courses for 2014-15


Archeworks–Chicago’s multidisciplinary design educator and incubator founded by Stanley Tigerman and Eva Maddox in 1994–recently announced two new public interest design initiatives through the Sustainable Urban Design certificate program. For the 2014-15 year, participants will have the opportunity to collaborate on one of two exciting projects: Green Neighborhood School Campus Design Initiative with Chicago Public Schools and several health organizations or Promoting Sustainable Energy Use with local environmental and advocacy organizations. Aimed at providing an alternative learning experience for emerging designers, the one-year postgraduate program organizes students into multidisciplinary teams to work on “real world” projects with nonprofit partners. Applications for the 2014-15 year are being accepted until September 15, 2014.

Founded in 1994, Archeworks is a Chicago-based multidisciplinary design educator that advances design in the public interest and inspires collaborative action to shape more healthy, sustainable and equitable communities. Our public forums and partnership-based education programs propose a range of socially responsible and ecologically resourceful design solutions for Chicago communities.

Click here to learn more and apply for Archeworks 2014-15 Sustainable Urban Design program, online at

August 18, 2014

First Episode of Rebel Architecture Airs Today

Spider Structure

The first episode of Al Jazeera’s highly anticipated ‘Rebel Architecture’ series premieres today at 11:30pm BST (6:30pm ET / 3:30pm PT) on the programme’s website. Created and produced by Daniel Davies, the series kicks off with “Guerilla Architect” Santiago Cirugeda, the legendary self-build Spanish architect who is attempting to turn an abandoned factory into a vibrant cultural centre. The following five episodes will premiere on Mondays through September 22nd. Read the rest of this entry »

August 15, 2014

Thomas Fisher on “Redefining Practice”

Thomas Fisher, Dean of the College of Design at University of Minnesota, recently spoke about “Redesigning the Practice of Architecture to Reach the 95%” with Enoch Sears on the Business of Architecture podcast. In the 26-minute episode, Fisher–a prominent thought-leader with a long-standing commitment to public interest design–shares ways architects can leverage mass-customization to challenge traditional architectural business models. He also reveals efforts the College of Design is undertaking to expand and customize design education in response to the interests and needs of the students. Although many of us close to this work will be familiar with a lot of his points, it’s encouraging to see Fisher featured on a media platform with more traditional architecture focus.

Thomas R. Fisher encourages architects to expand their horizons, think outside the box, and figure out ways to bring the power of design to the 95%. He also shares with us the University of Minnesota College of Design’s pioneering works that aims to redefine and redesign the practice of architecture.

Click here to read more about the episode, including a full transcript, online at

August 14, 2014

SPIEGEL Launch Orange Social Design Award


SPIEGEL ONLINE and KulturSPIEGEL–two of Germany’s leading media sites–are organizing the first annual Orange Social Design Award. Under the motto “We’re designing our city,” individuals and teams with ideas that help make cities more liveable are encouraged to enter. Along with a feature in the latest issue of KulturSPIEGEL and on SPIEGEL ONLINE, two winners–one jury-selected and one reader-selected–will each be awarded a prize of €2,500. Submissions are due August 31, 2014.

Mobile buildings, wheelchair ramps made with 3-D printers, vegetable gardens for everyone — KulturSPIEGEL, DER SPIEGEL’s monthly culture supplement, is currently preparing an issue in which we will present exciting and trend-setting social design projects. But that’s not all: KulturSPIEGEL and SPIEGEL ONLINE are organizing the first Orange Social Design Award. We are looking for new designs that improve life in the city. The objects should be reproducible and provide an answer to the following question: How can we best shape the public space in which we live together?

Click here to read more about the Orange Social Design Award, online at

August 14, 2014

Van Alen Announce Future Ground Competition


The Van Alen Institute recently launched the Future Ground competition in New Orleans as part of their multi-year initiative, Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape. Future Ground invites multidisciplinary teams to generate flexible design and policy strategies to transform abandoned lots into resources for residents of the Big Easy. The competition is open to individuals and firms with expertise relevant to the topic–architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, graphic design, policy, engineering, finance, real estate, and community development. Entrants are also encouraged to partner with at least one individual or organization based in New Orleans. Registration and RFQs are due September 29, 2014.

Future Ground will develop strategies to bring small, piecemeal projects to scale at the neighborhood and citywide level; craft policy to support promising design strategies; make these strategies flexible and participatory enough to be sustained into the next generation; and share resources with a growing network of innovators who are reusing vacant land in cities around the country.

Click here to learn more about Van Alen’s Future Ground competition, online at

August 13, 2014

bcWORKSHOP Issues Call for 2014-2015 Fellows


Texas-based nonprofit buildingcommunityWORKSHOP has announced a call for applicants to the annual bcFELLOWSHIP Program. With five openings available, the program offers recent graduates an opportunity to work with communities in Texas–Dallas, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley–to advance the public’s interest through engagement and design efforts. Ideal bcFELLOWs will have 1-3 years’ experience in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture or planning with direct client experience and a strong commitment to public interest design. Applications–email interest letter, resume, and work samples–can be sent to Trena Lechleitner at trena [at] bcworkshop [dot] org.

The buildingcommunityWORKSHOP is a Dallas based nonprofit community design center seeking to improve the livability and viability of communities through the practice of thoughtful design and making. We enrich the lives of citizens by bringing design thinking to areas of our city where resources are most scarce. To do so, the bcWORKSHOP recognizes that it must first understand the social, economic, and environmental issues facing a community before beginning work.

Click here to learn more and apply for the 2014-2014 bcFELLOWSHIP, online at

Autodesk Foundation is an evolving resource of the Autodesk Foundation, a first-of-its-kind foundation focused on design for a better world.



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