Public Interest Design
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April 30, 2014

2014-15 Loeb Fellows Announced


Harvard Graduate School of Design’s esteemed Loeb Fellowship recently announced ten design practitioners who will be joining the 2014-2015 residency. From sustainable agriculture and food security to traditional practices for tribal community development to water rights and coastal resiliency, the Fellows represent a wide spectrum of people who are “logging extraordinary successes to achieve equity and enhance our built and natural environment.”

Gísli Marteinn Baldursson, former city councilor and television talk show host

Jamie Blosser, architect at Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative

Scott Campbell, director at Palmer Land Trust

Shahira Fahmy, Cairo-based architect

LaShawn Hoffman, CEO at Pittsburgh Community Improvement Association

Andrew Howard, co-founder of Better Block and principal at Team Better Block

Maria Jaakkola, director of Helsinki City Planning Department Environmental Office

Thaddeus Pawlowski, planning advisor at NYC Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations

Marc Norman, director of UPSTATE at Syracuse University School of Architecture

Kolu Zigbi, program director for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems at the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation

Click here to read more about the 2014-2015 Loeb Fellows, online at

April 30, 2014

Apply for CUP’s Public Access Design Fellowship


The Center for Urban Pedagogy is seeking six New York City-based artists and designers to join the 2014-2015 Public Access Design Fellowship. Over the course of a year, fellows collaborate with CUP and community organizations to produce “innovative multi-media tools that make important social justice issues accessible to historically underrepresented communities.” Last day to apply for the 2014-2015 Fellowship cycle is June 10th.

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, online at

April 29, 2014

Register for Global Assistance Program By 4/30


Team registration–including student and professional groups–for Rebuild Global‘s Summer 2014 Global Assistance Program ends tomorrow, April 30th. The program offers participants “a unique opportunity to travel overseas and collaborate on projects that address issues such as health, education, housing, food, water, and sanitation.” This year projects will take place in West Africa, Guatemala, and India, with the first program beginning June 15th in Gambia.

Inspired by programs such as the Peace Corps, Teach for America and Operation Crossroads Africa, Global Assistance is a program designed for professionals and students from the fields of architecture and design who wish to travel overseas and work on social impact projects. We establish partnerships with local organizations, communities and institutions to deliver essential services and resources where they are unavailable and needed most.

Click here to read more and register for the Global Assistance Program by April 30th, online at

April 29, 2014

Profile: CityStudio Vancouver


Under the banner “The City is the Classroom,” Vancouver’s CityStudio is changing the course of education for university students by focusing on real-world projects and on-the-ground training for urban sustainability leadership. As part of a collaborative between the City of Vancouver and six Vancouver universities–British Columbia Institute of Technology, Emily Carr University, Langara College, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, and Vancouver Community College–the program has engaged over 480 students and 18 instructors contributing over 20,000 hours of credited learning. With projects like the Woodland Community Center, Lounge Avenue, and Keys to the Streets, the future of Vancouver is bright thanks to engaged students, professors, program creators, and civic leaders.

CityStudio Vancouver is an innovation hub inside City Hall where staff, university students and community members design and execute projects on the ground. We provide opportunities for students to become leaders in the green economy. Our students learn skills for collaboration, dialogue, design and inter-disciplinary and group project work.

Click here to learn more about CityStudio Vancouver, online at

April 29, 2014

Jonathan Kirschenfeld Receives Richardson Award

Jonathan Kirschenfeld

Last night the AIA New York State chapter awarded the H.H. Richardson Award for Public Architecture to Jonathan Kirschenfeld, architect and founder of the new Institute for Public Architecture. Kirschenfeld was recognized for the nearly 30 years of work on environmentally- and socially-sustainable projects, including the recent Floating Pool moored along New York City’s riverfronts. From supportive housing to recreation facilities to child care, Kirschenfeld’s long-term commitment to public architecture for underserved populations is wholeheartedly commendable.

Wanting to make meaningful civic contributions through architecture, I embarked in the mid-1990s on a quest to create low-income housing and urban projects for not-for-profit clients with minuscule budgets, supporting underserved populations. Embedded in housing is social engagement. I have taken great pride in serving typically-forgotten clients and making contributions to the design of the public realm. There were times, however, when I was ready to throw in the towel, when my sense of isolation from the profession itself was painfully real and when the idea of creating luxury buildings, with a decent salary, was very appealing. What I did not have through these years, and what I would like now to help create, is a community of like-minded design practitioners working towards the diverse but common goal of  high quality public architecture.

Click here to read more about Jonathan Kirshenfeld on, or click here to read more about the Institute for Public Architecture on

April 28, 2014

Ideas for’s Amplify Challenge Due 4/30

Wednesday marks the final day to submit ideas to’s first Amplify challenge on women’s safety. Over 400 ideas have already been submitted to OpenIDEO, ranging from a media campaign giving women a voice to safe community spaces to a journey sharing ‘pool.’ You can submit your own idea or ‘applaud’ an idea that you want to see move forward. After the deadline at 9:00am PDT on Wednesday, April 30th, the most innovative ideas will move along to refinement for a chance at an award up to $500,000 in funding and design from and UK Department for International Development.

Safety is a basic human right. But for the millions of women and girls living in low-income urban communities across the world, personal safety can be difficult to achieve – giving way to gender-based violence, social isolation or a lack of basic social services… Let’s use insights from the Research phase to develop creative solutions that make low-income urban areas safer and more empowering for women and girls. No matter where you live, adding your ideas is a great way to get feedback and connect with others around the world interested in your type of project.

Click here to support or submit your idea on “How might we make low-income urban areas safer and more empowering for women and girls?” by April 30th, online at

April 26, 2014

Watch David Damberger on “Learning from Failure”

Although David Damberger’s TEDx talk just passed the 3 year mark, “Learning from Failure” remains ripe for the development aid sector–and relevant to the emerging public interest design field. As founder of Engineers Without Borders’ Calgary chapter, Damberger cites the countless, repeat failures made by well-intentioned NGOs that he observed in the field–and how he ended up making the same mistakes. Rather than retreating, Damberger and the EWB turn repeat failures into an opportunity to improve the process for engineers and designers around the world.

After building the organization in Calgary and working with them in India, David spent four years building EWB’s overseas programs as the Director of Southern African Programs. In this role, David consulted for dozens of African based companies, non-profits and governments in the fields of agriculture; food processing; water and sanitation; and mobile applications for development… [He draws] on his work experience in Africa to speak about the transformative power of publicly admitting failure in the development aid sector which currently lacks accountability, creativity and transparency.

Click here to watch “Learning from Failure,” online at

April 25, 2014

Job: CUP Seeking Program Manager

Civic design nonprofit Center for Urban Pedagogy is seeking a full-time Program Manager to join their team in New York City. Combining education, design, and communication skills, the position primarily entails working on the Community Education projects, such as the Public Access Design program and the Making Policy Public and Envisioning Development toolkits. Applications are due Friday, May 16th at 5pm EDT and the selected candidate will begin in June.

The ideal candidate for Program Manager would be someone with a demonstrated understanding of urban policy and planning issues; a strong desire to create accessible and creative tools that help demystify these topics; a belief in the power of visual communication to do so; experience managing creative projects; a desire to work in a collaborative setting with a broad range of partners; and a commitment to social justice.

Click here to read more and apply for the role of Program Manager at CUP, online at

April 24, 2014

Next City Vanguard Kicks Off Today


The fifth annual Next City Vanguard Conference kicks off today in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Bringing together forty bright minds from the non-profit, government, and private sectors, the two-day conference is packed full with workshops, neighborhood tours, presentations, and–we’re positive–many future collaborations and partnerships. If you are currently in Chattanooga, there are two free events open to the public: PechaKucha Vol. 17 on Friday, April 25 at 8:30pm and The Next City Challenge: Chattanooga on Saturday, April 26 at 11:00am.

Click here to learn more about the Next City Vanguard Conference, online at

April 24, 2014

PID Mexico Announces Call for Projects


After two successful convenings in New York City and Paris, Design Corps and the SEED Network are heading south to Mexico City in September. PID Mexico has announced a call for projects for a chance to present at the conference. An esteemed judging panel–including Dr. Michael E. Conroy, Teddy Cruz, Josep Maria Llop-Torné, and Gabriela Videla–will evaluate projects undertaken in Mexico based on Participation, Effectiveness, Excellence, Inclusiveness, Impact, and Systemic. The deadline to submit projects is May 15, 2014, and winners will be announced June 16, 2014.

Public Interest Design – Mexico is an opportunity to discuss the practice of designing for social impact and how best to significantly increase the value of design for the public good. Projects are being created all over Mexico which are addressing the many issues we face as a nation, in communities and as individuals. These projects are taking on the challenging issues of democratic decision making, empowerment and engagement. While inclusive design practices worldwide are beginning to help communities use design to address their most critical issues and define resilient futures as they see fit, as in Mexico, design professionals still remain at the margins of these lively debates and initiatives.

Click here to learn more and apply to present your project at PID Mexico, 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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