Public Interest Design
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June 13, 2014

AfH Names Eric Cesal as New Executive Director


Architecture for Humanity announced long-time employee Eric Cesal as the organization’s new Executive Director to replace founding executive director Cameron Sinclair. Since first joining AfH in 2006 as a volunteer on the Katrina reconstruction program, Cesal has grown into leadership positions, namely with the Haiti Rebuilding Center and AfH’s global disaster operations. Along with design and building experience, Cesal has written about the intersections between humanitarianism and design and is best known for the 2010 memoir/manifesto Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice. With a refined focus on disaster reconstruction, active spaces, community resilience, and education spaces, the future of Architecture for Humanity with Cesal at the helm remains bright.

We will not be an organization that only responds to crisis and misfortune. We will be an organization that prevents crisis and misfortune. We will continue to stand on the side of communities that have been harmed by extreme weather, crisis and neglect. However, we will expand our focus to include communities at risk from harm, and help them strengthen against future calamities

Click here to read more about Architecture for Humanity’s new Executive Director Eric Cesal, online at

June 12, 2014

2014 ACD ‘Emergence’ Conference Kicks Off Today


The 22nd annual Association for Community Design Conference kicks off today at 6pm ET at the Carr Center in Detroit, Michigan. The three-day event attracts architects, planners, designers, and community enthusiasts to convene around a series of short presentations by emerging designers, conversation exchange breakouts, evening “dine arounds”, and neighborhood tours. This year’s event will also commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center–the renowned community-based organization that has collaborated with over 80 nonprofits on projects in Detroit, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »

June 12, 2014

Noun Project Announces New Composting Badges


The Noun Project–a platform of over 50,000 icons and symbols that help people communicate in an effective and universal way–and partner organization Hennepin County just announced the rollout of a new set of organics recycling badges to recognize businesses in Minnesota who are making extra effort to consciously dispose of food waste. The project began during a design hack-a-thon at Public Interest Design Week last year hosted by the University of Minnesota College of Design. Now over a year later, the blue, green, orange, and pink badges are already adorning storefronts, like Barbette, next to Yelp and Zagat decals. The Noun Project co-founder Edward Boatman remarked about the importance of this particular ‘iconothan’:

After learning that nearly 33 million tons of food waste goes to our landfills each year, contributing to greenhouse gasses, we wanted to get our design community involved in finding a solution. Similar to the impact the recycling symbol has had when it was designed in early 1970’s, our goal was to create new “badges of honor” to encourage more recycling programs around the world.

Click here to read more about the Hennepin County Organics Recycling Badges, online at

June 11, 2014

From Interest to Impact: Looking Back and Ahead

Since launching on June 22, 2011, has become the leading communications source for a growing movement of designers working on the world’s most important issues. John Cary started the site to fill a void in this emerging design field and today, nearly three years later, we celebrate with a team of five who are working on the next iteration of the site: the Impact Design Hub. Our microsite showcases the past three years of curating events, opportunities, awards, articles, and profiles on public interest, community-based, and socially-oriented design–all encompassed by a new term, ‘impact design.’ Together with the Autodesk Foundation, we will continue to grow communications and resources on the new Impact Design Hub, which we will be launching in the upcoming months.

In the meantime, we hope you take some time to visit–developed by the talented Jessie Canon, designed by the extraordinary Megan Jett, and created by our own dedicated leader John Cary–and reflect on all that has happened within this amazing field of impassioned designers. We look forward to having you join us for the next chapter of impact design.

Click here to visit

June 10, 2014

Business Fights Poverty Design Expo Underway


The first-ever Business Fights Poverty Design Expo is headed into the second day of online events. Utilizing a mix of online discussions, Google Hangouts, and Twitter Jams, the interactive and engaging five-day schedule is bringing together leaders on the themes of energy (Monday), health (Tuesday), communications (Wednesday), livelihoods (Thursday), and water & sanitation (Friday). Along with the live discussions, there is a growing Showcase section profiling the products and systems that have been developed to improve the lives of the world’s poor, including KickStart‘s MoneyMaker, iDE‘s FDP Pellet, and Inspire‘s Diagnostic Aid. Be sure to peruse the showcase or join a discussion (each day at 10:30am and 11:30am ET) and find out about the latest innovations designed to alleviate poverty.

Click here to visit Business Fights Poverty Design Expo, online at

June 10, 2014

Apply to be a 2015-2017 Enterprise Rose Fellow


The 2015-2017 Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship is now open for applications. Since 1999, the unique three-year experience has provided fellows the opportunity to work in community-based organizations around the country and develop skills in site acquisition, site planning, architectural design, developing financial pro-formas, applying for financing and obtaining public approvals. Host sites for the next class will be Oakland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Boston, Los Angeles, and Slayton, Minnesota. Applications for one of six rare opportunities are due July 10th, 2014.

The highly competitive Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship develops the next generation of leaders in community-based design. Rose Fellows take part in a unique three-year experience offering unparalleled learning and networking opportunities. Fellows typically help their hosts improve standards and practices for design excellence, sustainability and community engagement. Rose Fellows also gain a national support system of colleagues who share their passion for public interest architecture and community development. As full-time employees of their host organizations, fellows earn an annual stipend ($50,000 beginning in 2015) plus the standard insurance and benefits package provided by their host organization.

Click here to learn more and apply to be a 2015-2017 Rose Fellow, online at

June 9, 2014

Public Interest Design at 2014 AIA Convention


The AIA Convention kicks off in a little over two weeks in Chicago under the banner of ‘Design With Purpose.’ If you are looking for sessions in public interest, community, and impact design, the AIA Chicago’s Community Interface Committee has scoured the schedule to create a fantastic lineup of relevant courses, along with a few additions from us. From starting your own firm to designing for multi-generational housing to creating a community design center, there is a ton to be learned during the four-day convention. Read the rest of this entry »

June 6, 2014

Reminder: CUP Public Access Fellowship Due 6/10

Applications for The Center for Urban Pedagogy’s 2014-2015 Public Access Design Fellowship are due this coming Tuesday, June 10th. Over the course of a year, fellows from art and design fields collaborate with CUP and community organizations in New York City to produce “innovative multi-media tools that make important social justice issues accessible to historically underrepresented communities.” This is a perfect opportunity to collaborate with one of the leading social justice design groups and make a positive impact on the lives of New Yorkers.

Public Access Design projects are short, intensive collaborations of CUP, an artist or designer, and a community organization that is working to break down a complex policy or planning issue that affects its constituents. The collaboration results in a visual tool that meets an advocate’s organizing needs as they arise—getting information directly to communities where they are, and when they most need it.

Click here to learn more and apply for the 2014-2015 Public Access Design Fellowship by June 10th, online at

June 6, 2014

2014 Zumtobel Group Award Nominees Announced


The Zumtobel Group Award has recently announced fifteen nominees for the 2014 awards under the categories of Buildings, Urban Developments, and Applied Innovations–a new category that recognizes “technological solutions that make a trailblazing contribution to the realisation of a more sustainable built environment.” We are elated to see the familiar public interest design practices Rural Urban Framework, Studio TAMassociati, and Urban Think-Tank nominated for a Buildings award, along with new projects like ArchiAid, Megacity Skeleton, and Elemental’s Pres Constitution in Urban Developments and Bamboo Reinforced Concrete and Prefabricated Rammed Earth in Applied Innovations. The jury has their work cut out for them in selecting the final winner, which is due out later this year in September.

The Zumtobel Group Award honours contemporary realised or conceptual works of exceptional innovative content, design, technology and construction. Submissions must make a significant contribution to greater humanity and sustainability in the built environment.

Click here to learn more about the 2014 Zumtobel Group Award nominees, online at

June 5, 2014

Reminder: Design Ignites Change Educator Grant


The deadline for Design Ignites Change’s pilot Educator Grant is fast approaching at the end of this month. Created for college and university faculty that pair classes or student initiatives with community partners, two $5,000 grants will be awarded to grow social agendas in the education system. Applications are due by June 27th, 2014.

Click here to read more and apply for the Educator Grant, 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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