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Public Interest Design Institute: Dallas

Over the past decade, humanitarian, conscious, social impact, human centered, and community-based design has gained such momentum, industry executives are taking notice. From Autodesk’s Impact Design Hub to IDEO’s non-profit branch, large companies and a plethora of smaller organizations are developing new tools and resources to help practitioners be more impactful in what many now refer to as “public interest design.”

SEED (Social Environmental Economic Design), the brainchild of Design Corps founder Bryan Bell, is just one of the tools being used to help guide designers through successful community-driven design. The holistic sibling of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the current national standard for green design, SEED’s “triple bottom line” approach focuses on the social, economic, and environmental aspects going beyond the green issues encountered in the design process. SEED has recently been selected as a new Social Equity Pilot for LEED certification, proof that this holistic approach is increasingly valued by the profession.

Developing a level of standardization, education, and coherent vocabulary across the industry is seen as a vital piece to the success of the public interest design movement. Over the past five years, Bell has developed the Public Interest Design Institute (PIDI), traveling across the country and partnering with top design universities and local practitioners from Cambridge to San Francisco, offering education, training, and SEED certification. Based upon SEED principles, trainings utilize the Harvard Case Study Method in which speakers discuss real projects used to exemplify best practices in addressing critical issues.

Just this year, PIDI held trainings in Washington DC, Ames, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Brownsville, Texas. PIDI Brownsville, hosted by buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, was the largest PIDI to date with over one hundred attendees. And these weren’t just designers. PID Institute attendees included city officials, non-profit workers, developers, public health professionals, local students, and even a group of 14 university students from Monterrey, Mexico.

Attendees at PIDI Brownsville,

The Dallas PIDI will be the first since the release of the Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook (2015), the latest release by Bell and co-editor Lisa M. Abendroth. PIDI Dallas is posed to revitalize the continually building discussion about public interest design in Dallas.

Keynote speakers Catherine Baker (Landon Bone Baker Architects), Greta Buehrle (University of North Texas), and Ingrid Haftel (Center for Urban Pedagogy) will be joined by Bell, Brent Brown of [bc], and additional local speakers, all hoping to inspire discussion and fresh perspectives on how to challenge the way the urban environment is developed.

PIDI Dallas looks primed to equip designers to go out and engage the public in designing better communities. Partners include buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, UNT College of Visual Arts and Design, UTA College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs, and AIA Dallas.

PIDI Dallas will be held on September 25th & 26th at the J Erik. Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street. To register please visit