Public Interest Design Institute/SEED training 2012

Beautiful design that enhances a community from the inside – that does not impose a designer’s ego upon it.

The Public Interest Design Institute® will provide training to architecture and other design professionals in public interest design with in-depth study over two days on methods of how design can address the critical issues faced by communities. Training in public interest design is a way of enhancing an existing design practice and learning skills to become pro-actively engaged in community-based design. – Public Interest Design website

I had the pleasure of attending the Public Interest Design Institute’s training at the University of Cincinnati this past weekend.  The organization is the product of Bryan Bell‘s passion in creating design solutions for everyone – not just the wealthy 10%, as most commissioned projects facilitate.  The organization has financial support, but continues as the product of our passion, as designers, to use our skills not as a commodity, but as a vital contribution to society, whether locally or across the globe.

I will provide a list of the speakers, their project case studies, and key information they shared.  On a personal level, the training was a success in that I realized there are many others who seek to use their strengths and privileged education and position to make the world better designed.  While this in itself can arguably provide little improvement in the quality of life, if the goal is simply to provide a designer-focused, design that is.  When considerations of users, the community, and societal goals are taken into account, and actually implemented, this unique design solution is able to surpass any measure of success designers may be able to come up with on our own.

SEED (Social, Economic, Environmental Design) is the measurable goal of Public Interest Design, as developed by the institute.

Every person should live in a socially, economically, and environmentally healthy community. – goal of SEED

SEED Design Principles:

  • Advocate with those who have a limited voice in public life.
  • Build structures for inclusion that engage stakeholders and allow communities to make decisions
  • Promote social equality through discourse that reflects a range of values and social identities
  • Generate ideas that grow from place and build local capacity
  • Design to help conserve resources and minimize waste

The next couple entries will be day-by-day in more detail.  There will be more training sessions throughout the U.S. over the next couple years, as the organization is enthusiastic about its growth within both the professional and academic branches of all design fields.

To continue to Day 1 – Part 1, click here.


Author: Meg C

Meghan is a recent Master of Architecture graduate from the University of Cincinnati. She is interested in all aspects of sustainability, finding the most pertinent ways it relates to the built environment including social justice in terms of material choice, implementation, and life-cycle. While pragmatic concerns are ever-present, she constantly explores the inexplicable beauty to be found in the intersection of order and the poetics of space.

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