Bringing Good Design to Community Development

The latest (October 2013) issue of Fast Company reviews the latest trends and innovations in the world of design.  In addition to expected articles on the latest happenings at Apple, IDEO, and other trend-setters, the issue also highlights some interesting newcomers to the field.  I was especially struck by the work of the Center for Urban Pedagogy, a Brooklyn-based non-profit that seeks to use good design as a tool for improving civic engagement.  In plain English, that means that CUP develops products (such as toolkits, videos, websites, community guides, etc.) that help explain complicated public policy issues in way that engages and informs local residents.  CUP works a lot with schools and youth, but programs cover the gamut.   Their work addressesa variety of topics, such as air and water quality, affordable housing, access to financial services, and many more.  You can find excellent examples of their guides and posters in the CUP Store.    There are many other areas that could benefit from the “CUP Treatment.”   I’d love to see a CUP guide on why local residents should get more involved in local economic development discussions, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that would love to see a guide that would convince Congress of the insanity of their current budget decisionmaking!!  Hopefully, more groups will embrace these approaches that bring smart design to the world of public policy.


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