Public Interest Design
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April 10, 2014

New Social Innovation Resource: SOCINN


A new site dedicated to social innovation has recently shown up on our radar. Under the tagline “Let’s design the future of our dreams,” the straightforward and simple SOCINN has five areas–Go, Work, Learn, Fund, and Look–ready and available for anyone looking to learn, explore, or find resources for social innovation. From an extensive list of funding options to a global events calendar, we are sure you’ll find something of interest!

Click here to visit SOCINN, online at

April 10, 2014

PID Global Schedule Released


The first-ever Public Interest Design Global symposium, organized by École Spéciale de l’Architecture and Design Corps, kicks off in one week on April 18th in Paris. The schedule of events has just been released (and republished below,) which includes discussions between 2014 SEED Award winners and public interest design leaders paired with interactive workshop sessions. Registration to attend is free. Read the rest of this entry »

April 10, 2014

Camp Firebelly 2014 Call for Applications


Now entering its seventh year, the popular Camp Firebelly–an apprentice offshoot of the brilliant graphic design studio Firebelly Design–is now accepting applications for the Summer 2014 program. In line with Firebelly’s motto “Good Design for Good Reason,” the 10-day intensive program is open to ten talented folks “looking to break into the design profession and use their powers for good.” The deadline for applications, including a $250 deposit, is due May 9, 2014.

Camp Firebelly promises non-stop adventure in good design for good reason. We anticipate long days (seriously) and a ton of work. But don’t worry, we know all design and no play makes for stir-crazy campers and crabby counselors. So we’ll have plenty of chances to find inspiration, build camaraderie and develop our creative skills too. There will be secret field trips, surprise guests and a view of the Chicago design community only 9 others will ever say they got to experience.

Click here to learn more and apply for Camp Firebelly 2014, online at

April 9, 2014

Emergent Structures Tackles Construction Waste

Deep in the heart of Georgia, Emergent Structures is on a mission to reduce building material waste through innovative repurposing projects. The Savannah-based nonprofit has been facilitating project collaborations between building professionals, developers, local government, and community members since 2009. Through this process, they have developed a forthcoming comprehensive framework for material repurposing that can be applied by municipalities and developers. With construction and demolition waste estimated at 170 million tons in 2003 alone, their efforts from a systemic level are key to tackling this issue.

Emergent Structures works toward transforming the public’s perception of waste. We believe there are ways to empower local populations by facilitating the distribution of these formerly unwanted materials throughout the community, including schools, other non-profits; municipal buildings and parks, and local and indigenous craft incubators.

Click here to read more about Emergent Structures, online at

April 9, 2014

WarkaWater Harvests Drinking Water from Air


768 million people on this planet don’t have access to safe water. In response to this deficit, architects Arturo Vittori and Andreas Vogler of Italian-based Architecture and Vision have developed a handmade water tower called ‘WarkaWater.’ With support from the Italian Cultural Centre in Addis Ababa and the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development, the tower–a 30-foot flexible bamboo framework with a hanging netted fabric–was developed to harvest water from air and fog in Ethiopia’s mountainous region where the local warka trees are disappearing. Keep an eye out for two working towers in Ethiopia next year.

In rural Ethiopia women and children walk several hours to collect water. Most people collect water from shallow, unprotected ponds which they share with animals and are subject to contamination. ‘WarkaWater’ is a 9 m tall bamboo framework with a special fabric hanging inside capable to collect potable water from the air by condensation. The lightweight structure is designed with parametric computing, but can be built with local skills and materials by the village inhabitants.

Click here to learn more about WarkaWater tower, online at

April 8, 2014

Watch MASS on “Beyond Sustainability”

MASS Design Group just released the third video for their year-long Beyond the Building series on architectural impact. Entitled “Ilima: Beyond Sustainability,” the poignant and captivating 6-minute video documents the building of a school project in the remote Congolese village of Ilima–a place where it’s nearly impossible to import supplies. Working in collaboration with the African Wildlife Foundation, local masons, and community members, the school, as MASS project manager Andrew Brose puts it, is growing up out of the ground.

In the five years since MASS began, we have witnessed that architecture can improve the health, economic, and social outcomes of everyday people. But architecture is more than just a building. In 2014, we want to help tell those stories through film.

Click here to watch “Ilima: Beyond Sustainability” at, or click here to read more about MASS’s Beyond the Building Series at

April 8, 2014

Promising New Blog: Creative States


With a mission to “explore bold new creativity in the public realm,” Creative States is our favorite new blog documenting the dialogue on design, community, and government. In a matter of months, sustainability consultant and design strategist Maren Maier has filled the site with articles on thought-provoking exhibits, emerging technologies, citizen-led actions, and lively debates at local, regional, and national levels. If you’re interested in visionary civic ideas, be sure to stop by!

Creative States invites a bold new culture of creativity in the public realm. Its mission is to encourage creative expression that revives healthy civic dialogue and citizen ingenuity in our politics, public sector, and civic space. We follow creative champions in the arts, design, government, and local communities who are actively challenging the political status quo, re-imagining our nation’s future, and leading the edge of change.

Click here to read more about Creative States, online at

April 8, 2014

Join the Asheville DesignBuild Studio This Summer


The Asheville Design Center–the community based non-profit in Western North Carolina–has just announced the 2014 DesignBuild summer project for design students. With partner organization YWCA of Asheville, the project entails transforming an unused grassy area in front of the YWCA building into an outdoor classroom, gathering spot, and fitness area. In true community design spirit, selected students will work closely with YWCA members, children, and staff, along with the broader community, to better inform their design process. Applications to take part are due April 15th.

The Asheville DesignBuild Studio, a program of the Asheville Design Center, is a multi-disciplinary, hands-on, educational experience. Participants will have the opportunity to affect a lasting and positive impact on Asheville’s vibrant and diverse communities. Individuals will come together as a team, draw upon their wide range of design and technical disciplines to gather community input, define a project type, design and develop the concept, and build their design. The DesignBuild Studio addresses issues of social justice, community sustainability and good design, not simply by watching, but by doing.

Click here to read more and apply to the 2014 Asheville DesignBuild Studio by April 15th, online at

April 7, 2014

Design Trust Launches New Website


New York City’s Design Trust for Public Space recently launched a brand new, revitalized website. The refreshing and engaging design showcases the nonprofit’s work in the Big Apple’s five boroughs over the past 19 years. Close to the heart of our own Autodesk Foundation and following in the footsteps of D-Rev, Design that Matters, and many others, Design Trust has focused on highlighting their impact through a variety of mediums, including this video about the Five Borough Farm and an interactive map that displays it’s four areas of work.

The Design Trust for Public Space is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the future of public space in New York City. Our projects bring together city agencies, community groups and private sector experts to make a lasting impact–through design–on how New Yorkers live, work and play.

Click here to visit the newly-relaunched Design Trust for Public Space website, online at

April 4, 2014

Public Architecture Seeks Summer Associates


Our friends at Public Architecture are seeking full-time student associates to join their team in San Francisco this summer. The role involves research, writing, and communications support for The 1% program and Public Architecture’s blog ‘The Public Dialogue,’ along with providing general support for the organization. Students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate level business, design, social studies, urban planning, or marketing programs are encouraged to apply by April 21st.

Past projects led by Summer Associates have included conducting interviews about pro bono design with some of the country’s top architects and developing a program for material reuse within The 1% program.  While specific projects may vary based on candidate’s skills and interests, all Summer Associate projects will likely involve significant research, writing, and communications support.  As part of the Public Architecture team, Summer Associates play an integral role in advancing key initiatives to realize our mission more broadly.

Click here to learn more and apply to be a Summer Associate, 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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