University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN


University of Minnesota to Host Inaugural "Public Interest Design Week"

By Design at Minnesota
Dec 10, '12 3:06 PM EST

Contact:  Trevor Miller, College of Design, 612.625.6566,;
John Cary,, 510.757.6213,


University of Minnesota to Host Inaugural "Public Interest Design Week"

New York Times Architecture Critic Michael Kimmelman & D-Rev CEO Krista Donaldson
Among Headliners March 19-24, 2013

Minneapolis / St. Paul (12/10/2012) - Today, the College of Design at the University of Minnesota proudly joined with in announcing the first-ever Public Interest Design Week - March 19-24, 2013 - set to take place on University's Minneapolis campus.

Public interest design lies at the intersection of design and public service, representing a human-centered approach for the delivery of design services in order for people to live their best lives, regardless of their socio-economic background. The weeklong series of events will bring together public interest design leaders from across the U.S. and around the world.

"This will be one of the largest gatherings of people involved in the public interest design movement and will feature some of the best work going on locally, nationally, and internationally in this field," said College of Design Dean Thomas Fisher. "Our college has played a leadership role in this emerging discipline, and this week-long series of events demonstrate that commitment."

In addition to keynotes by thought-leaders such as New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman and D-Rev: Design Revolution CEO Krista Donaldson, PhD, among others, the inaugural Public Interest Design Week will feature a variety of events, including:

  • Shelter: connect - Led by award-winning filmmakers from DocuCinema and The Shelter Media Project, this media and storytelling workshop will give attendees the tools and information-sharing platform they need to amplify their public interest design work.
  • Affordable Housing Design Forum - This Enterprise Community Partners program will convene leaders on the frontline of affordable housing design and community development to share innovative best practices.
  • Public Interest Design Institute - This Design Corps training program focused on architecture and design students and professionals will explore methods of how to engage communities in the process of design.
  • Social/Economic/Environmental Design Awards - The third annual SEED Awards for Excellence in Public Interest Design will recognize and showcase six finalist projects from Kenya, Indonesia, Sudan, and several states within the U.S.
  • Structures for Inclusion (SFI) - Launched in 2000 by Design Corps, this 13th annual traveling conference, the theme of which this year is "Dignifying Design," is an international forum to present and discuss design projects and career paths in public interest design.

"This unique and unprecedented collection of programming is premised on our belief that everyone deserves great design, but that designers need a better toolbox of skills to draw on," notes John Cary, founder of, who is chairing the week of events. "Building on the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting earlier this year, we will focus on 'designing for impact,' including for individual needs, our environments, and the social systems shaping our world."

Registration for Public Interest Design Week and individual events within will open in January. More information as well as a working agenda are online at  To stay up-to-date on everything related to Public Interest Design Week, follow the College of Design and online. The College can be found on Twitter at @UofMDesign, and on Facebook at is on Twitter at @PubIntDesign, and on Facebook at


About the University of Minnesota College of Design and

The College of Design is a national leader in the area of public interest design. Its students and faculty have worked in places such as the post-Katrina Gulf Coast, in countries such as India and Malawi, with Habitat for Humanity and most recently with studios in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. At the same time, the College has convened conversations about this topic, including a recent symposium in partnership with and Tandus Flooring, and has funded a report on the state of public interest design resulting in infographics on the field, chronology of its history and just last week the first-ever Public Interest Design 100 to honor the many diverse and passionate people that are re-imagining the world. More information is online at, founded and curated by John Cary, serves as the online hub for the ever-growing public interest design movement. Cary is a College of Design Research Fellow and author whose writing appears in The New York Times,, Fast Company and The Christian Science Monitor among others publications. More information is online at