Public Interest Design
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Posts Tagged ‘Public Policy Lab’

August 27, 2014

Feature: How will Public Interest Design look in 2024? 18 Practitioners Weigh In


Rewind to 2004 and think about what you were doing on August 27th. On this day ten years ago, a cold air conditioned breeze was blowing through my hair and onto my sticky skin as I took a break from moving boxes and bags into my apartment in New Orleans. Entering my fourth year of architecture school at Tulane University, I was looking forward to learning a new computer program called Revit. Public interest design–and social impact, community-led, humanitarian, and the lot–hadn’t even entered my evolving architecture vocabulary. Since that hot, humid August day in New Orleans, the field of passionate designers has blossomed beyond anything I could have imagined. Now, students entering their fourth year at Tulane have most likely heard of public interest design, if not participated in a studio or class specifically focused on the subject.

With the immense strides, enthusiasm, and involvement in this field of work since 2004, we were curious to hear from practitioners–new and established, young and, ahem, seasoned–on what the next 10 years has in store. We posed the following question to a few of our favorite designers:

How do you think the field of public interest/ impact design will look in 10 years?

Amongst the eighteen responses below, we see a resounding vision for more established methods, metrics, tools, and a mainstream position within the wider design and architecture industries. With these designers and many more at the helm of this movement, the promise for what we can achieve by 2024 is very bright. (more…)

May 6, 2014

Reminder: NEA International Design Webinar 5/7


Tomorrow, May 7th, marks the second of three NEALearning from Abroad’ webinars on international design. Beginning at 1pm EDT, moderator Camilla Buchanan from the Design Council UK will speak with Beatrice Andrews from the UK Cabinet Office’s Open Policy Making Team, Chelsea Mauldin from Public Policy Lab and Abby Wilson from The Lab @ Office of Personnel Management about “When Government Meets Design.” Get a preview of the conversation from Buchanan’s blog post and register to attend for free.

The session will share insights on how design is being used to create public services around the people who use them, to introduce new methods into the civil service skill set, and as a tool to aid the process of public policy development… We will also be thinking about areas for further research and work, and would welcome wider views. We invite you not only to listen in but also to contribute to the Q&A.

Click here to read Camilla Buchanan’s blog post on, and click here to register for the webinar on

April 16, 2014

Catch the Final 2 Impact! Social Design Sessions


The 2014 Impact! Design for Social Change webinar series–a collaborative production by the School of Visual Arts, Design Ignites Change, and Worldstudio–has surpassed the halfway point in this year’s season. If you missed the first four webinars with Forward MapworksJohn Bruce on Strategy Mapping, NESsT’s Lee Davis on Social Design Entrepreneurship, Public Policy Lab’s Chelsea Maudlin on Design Citizens, or Design Impact’s Ramsey Ford on Embedded Design, the production team has expediently uploaded the archived videos to the Impact! website for your viewing pleasure. Catch the final two conversations live by registering on Eventbrite.

Friday, April 18, 2014, 12:30pm EST
“The Legal Labyrinth: Where Do I Begin?”
with Carly Leinheiser, Perlman and Perlman

Friday, May 2, 2014, 12:30pm EST
“Inspiring the Next Generation: Harnessing Brilliance”
with Emily Pilloton, Project H and Camp H

Click here to watch the archived Impact! Sessions on, and click here to register for the two remaining webinars on

April 1, 2014

PPL Seeks Multimedia Journalist Fellow


Nonprofit service design organization Public Policy Lab is seeking a multimedia journalist fellow to join their team in New York City for a short term assignment. The role entails capturing visual and audio content and creating stories across a range of multimedia platforms while working closely with the public and project teams. The fellowship includes a $2,000 stipend for working approximately 2 days a week over a 4-week period beginning in May 2014. If you’re interested in joining their team, download the complete fellowship description here and apply by April 8, 2014.

Public programs are how our society invests in citizens. Too often, however, public services don’t feel very friendly, or even very useful. Here at the Public Policy Lab, we think the solution lies with the people themselves: when services are thoughtfully designed to serve the needs of their users, to be engaging and easy to use, then they’re more satisfying for citizens, as well as more effective and cost-efficient for government.

Click here to read more and apply for the Multimedia Journalist Fellowship by April 8, 2014, online at

March 26, 2014

“Fellowships: Redesigning Public Service”


Our own editor and Design Affects founder Katie Crepeau took to the pages of the AIA Young Architects Forum ‘Connection’ issue on Advocacy. In “Fellowships: Redesigning Public Service,” she traverses through the evolution and emergence of architectural fellowship opportunities in the public realm, citing diverse institutions such as the Van Alen Institute, Public Policy Lab, and San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Innovation. Together with articles from Design CorpsBryan Bell, Center for Public Interest Design’s Sergio Palleroni, Enterprise Community Partners‘ Katie Swenson, Urban Land Institute’s Jess Zimbabwe, and many others, the Advocacy issue highlights the ever-expanding opportunities for architects to make an impact in new ways.

What happens between obtaining an architecture degree and a practicing license typically goes one of three ways: work, return to a university for post-grad studies, or abandon the profession altogether. However, this window of opportunity has the potential to be much more exploratory, both creatively and professionally… how might someone bridge the gap between education and practice by continuing creative interests and grounding oneself in the practicalities of design and building?

Click here to read “Fellowships: Redesigning Public Service” or click here to read the full issue of ‘Connection’ online at

March 19, 2014

Public Policy Lab’s Evaluating Design Impact


The Public Policy Lab has been on a roll with disseminating reports and findings from their various public projects. Joining the resource shelf with ‘Designing Services for Housing’ and ‘Understanding the School Choice Experience,’ the ‘Preliminary Evaluation Plan’ follows up on implementing the pilot projects for the Designing Services for Housing project. The publication details the Public Policy Lab fellows’ support activities in collaboration with New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. We compliment them on the transparency with information, methods, and outcomes in an easily-digestible format.

Our fellows are supporting the pilot roll-out and also collaborating with the agency to evaluate the implementation process and eventual pilot outcomes… This plan will be followed by two more evaluation reports. The second report will assess pilot implementation, while the third will focus on project impacts.

Click here to read PPL’s blog post ‘Evaluating Design Impact’ or click here to download a PDF version of the publication, online at

March 11, 2014

NEA Announces ‘Learning from Abroad’ Webinars


The National Endowment for the Art’s Design Programs office, led by Director Jason Schupbach, are convening panels of leading international practitioners to present case studies and provide insights on successful design models from around the globe. Entitled ‘Learning from Abroad,’ the webinar series comprises three discussions, each lasting one hour with presentations by experts and a Q&A session with audience members. The schedule to tune into the live broadcast is:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. EDT
Finalists of the 2013-2014 World Design Impact Prize – How Did They Do It?
Moderated by Mariam Masud, Icsid, in discussion with Anton Ljunggren, Biolite HomeStove; Johan Karlsson, Refugee Housing Unit; and Dr. David Swann, ABC Syringe.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. EDT
When Government Meets Design
Moderated by Camilla Buchanan, Design Council UK, in discussion with Beatrice Andrews, UK Cabinet Office’s Open Policy Making Team; Chelsea Mauldin, Public Policy Lab; and Abby Wilson, The Lab @ Office of Personnel Management.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. ET
Universal Design + Landscape Design
Moderated by Valerie Fletcher, Institute for Human Centered Design, with panelists TBD.

Click here to read more and register for NEA’s ‘Learning from Abroad’ webinar series, online at Arts.Gov.

February 26, 2014

PPL’s Understanding NYC School Choice


Service design non-profit Public Policy Lab has just released a project storybook on “Understanding NYC School Choice.” In partnership with the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and the Office of Student Enrollment, the team conducted interviews with dozens of policymakers, school staff, parents, and 8th and 9th graders. After this ‘discovery’ phase, they identified four key needs that everyone in the process shares and proposed more than 30 opportunities to design services that respond to those needs–ready for implementers to take charge!

Each year more than 75,000 students navigate the admissions process to apply for seats at New York City’s 700+ public high school programs… Ultimately, we hope that the discovery process outlined in this document will inform the design of supports that assist students — particularly those from high-need and non-English-speaking families — in making more informed and confident decisions when applying to high school.

Click here to download and read “Understanding NYC School Choice,” online at

February 6, 2014

Impact! Design for Social Change Webinar Series


Heading into its second year, the popular Impact! Design for Social Change webinar series organized by the School of Visual Arts and Design Ignites Change kicks off on Friday, February 21, 2014. Worldstudio principal Mark Randall will return to host the free 30-minute sessions with business leaders, creative professionals and social change influencers and explore how design-driven ideas for social good are launched. The six webinars this year include:

Friday, February 21, 2014, 12:30pm EST
“Strategy Mapping: Starting Out Right”
with John Bruce, Forward Mapworks

Friday, March 7, 2014, 12:30pm EST
“Social Design Entrepreneurship: In Search of the Holy Grail”
with Lee Davis, MICA and NESsT

Friday, March 21, 2014, 12:30pm EST
“Design Citizen: Working with the Government”
with Chelsea Mauldin, Public Policy Lab

Friday, April 11, 2014, 12:30pm EST
“Embedded Design: Impact from the Bottom Up”
with Ramsey Ford, Design Impact

Friday, April 18, 2014, 12:30pm EST
“The Legal Labyrinth: Where Do I Begin?”
with Carly Leinheiser, Perlman and Perlman

Friday, May 2, 2014, 12:30pm EST
“Inspiring the Next Generation: Harnessing Brilliance”
with Emily Pilloton, Project H and Camp H

Click here to read more about the Impact! Sessions on, and click here to register for the webinar series on

January 8, 2014

NYC’s ‘Designing Services for Housing’ Released


An 18-month study on New York City’s affordable housing services, conducted by the Public Policy Lab, the Parsons Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) Lab, and New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development, has been presented in an 80-page publication available for free on Public Policy Lab’s website. This extensive yet delightful report documents the team’s service design process, including context studies, a kit of ideas, pilot proposals, and evaluation, with a mix of narrative, images, diagrams, and data. If you are involved or interested in affordable housing design and services, this report will provide you with provocative insights beyond building design derived from residents who utilize government services to find affordable accommodations. Kathryn Matheny, former Chief of Staff for the Department of Housing Preservation & Development, summarizes the collaborative experience:

Focusing on living conditions is not, in itself, an innovation for HPD employees — it is concern for residents and their quality of life that drives us, day in and day out, in our provision of services to New Yorkers. But viewing those services through the eyes of designers, residents, and service providers offers a clarifying perspective nonetheless — one that highlights the challenges residents can face when attempting to access and navigate the broad array of public services offered by the city of New York. It is my hope that by the end of this unique collaboration we will have gained a better understanding of that experience and used it to improve the clarity, effectiveness, and efficiency of our interactions with residents and the building owners who develop and maintain housing.

Click here to download “Designing Services for Housing,” online at

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