Design Access Works to Leverage Design for Positive Social Change

“We are only beginning to understand how profoundly the built environment impacts human and environmental health, economic prosperity and social justice”.

Understanding that premise and working to disrupt current conditions that perpetuate a built environment that undermines each of those elements was the focus of Design Access 2013, hosted by Public Architecture. During the Design Access Summit, hosted at the Headlands Art Center in early March, a diverse team of designers, NGO’s, philanthropist and corporate leaders spent 2 days identifying problems and designing solutions for positive impact. Topics ranging for integrating design thinking into the class room at an under performing Oakland California school to dealing with child sex slaves were tackled with multi-disciplined approaches.

I loved the Summit “to-do” list:

  • Real Work
  • Learning
  • Food and Wine
  • Socializing
  • Hiking, running and the coast

While certainly not all the ideas from the Summit will be implemented, the process exposed the attendees to the possibilities. One of the solutions is already underway (the Oakland Middle School project led by Sara To at Brute Labs) and the global connections made during the week will almost certainly lead to future work. Last year’s inaugural gathering generated six partnerships working to leverage design for positive social change.

Attendees of Public Architecture's Design Access 2013

From Public Architecture’s Facebook page you can learn more about Design Access.

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