Conference Themes

The conference’s focus is drawn organically from the engagement that you and your peers have in its corresponding community hosted by Rosenfeld Media. With help and facilitation from our curation team, the conference is essentially a polished snapshot of the community’s ongoing, year-round conversation.

Theme One

The Decade Cycle: 10 Years Back, 10 Years Forward

What have we learned from the last 10 years? And what do the next 10 look like? How do we continue to break down silos and institutionalize design? In the span of 10 years, what was once new and agile becomes bureaucratic and baked into the system. There can be a multitude of political shifts. Leadership changes cause rapid change in priority, growth, and direction. And the thing that was once new and experimental might not be the vehicle for change anymore — another reformation is needed.

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Theme Two

Power Structures: Shifting How and By Whom Design Gets Done

Many civic designers work on a spectrum of “Design For/ Design With/ Design By” to fit the opportunity for influencing change. Some civic designers have been able to become the facilitators for communities designing their own solutions, while others are having to fight to engage the people who use and deliver the service they are working on. As these power structures continue to shift, how do civic designers navigate within their own organizations, communities, and field of practice to know when to employ the right methods? Where does design provide craft that is different from other types of expertise? How do we care for our communities, our colleagues, our teams, and ourselves as we design?

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Theme Three

Physical Environments: Interactions Beyond Screens

The work of civic designers increasingly spans the blurring lines between the public and digital worlds. Designers must consider how people spend their time in and moving through these spaces as they navigate personal, family, community, and commercial needs. We’ll examine the innovative strategies, tools, and technologies designers employ to pursue equitable, inclusive, and connected public spaces.

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