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Monday, September 29, 2014

Diseño para el interés público: Public Interest Design in Mexico

PID Mexico Award Panel

Earlier this month, over 200 people gathered at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City for a first of its kind Public Interest Design Mexico conference, organized by the SEED network. The image above is of a panel of PID Mexico Award Winners, designers honored for projects from around the country.

Read more in the following article published by Mexican architecture blog Arquine shortly before the conference, translated for this blog (original text at

Public Interest Design

This 11 and September 12 there will be held at the School of Architecture of the UNAM Mexico's first conference about design for the public interest: Public Interest Design (PID) Mexico. This conference is an opportunity to discuss design as a social impact practice while seeking to raise awareness about the value of design in enriching the common good. Currently, Mexico is home to a number of public interest projects that not only solve specific problems but address major challenges ranging from democratic decision-making to the empowerment of communities and their political involvement. Despite this involvement, most professionals in Mexico are still outside the debates and initiatives around public interest design happening globally.

During the conference participants will have the opportunity to listen to the experience of those involved in public interest design: NGOs, community organizations, architects, agronomists, environmentalists, anthropologists , economists, public health workers and academics. This diverse range of experience reflects how public interest design creates interdisciplinary teams and focused networks to produce solutions to the most urgent problems of the communities in need. The purpose of the conference is to reflect on the ways in which design contributes to political recognition, equity, and justice. It is also a perfect opportunity to discuss and clarify the specific opportunities and career horizons for young people interested or dedicated in pursuing a career related to public interest design.

The conference will have two topics of discussion. The first day will cover Design as Agent of Enablement and Empowerment of Communities. Presentations and discussions will center around the possibilities of involvement of designers in community projects, addressing issues ranging from access to health services, education and economic development to protection of the environment, cultural heritage, and human rights. The second day will consist of a series of workshops and panels addressing the specific problems that arose on the first day for further group discussion. The potential and benefits of creating a Mexican network for public interest design from this conference - possibly connected to other Latin American countries - falls on Mexican designers and the communities of SEED, and on support from the latter in the most viable and sustainable way.

Following an open call and a rigorous selection process, the conference also will host the awards for a series of projects recently built in Mexico that demonstrate excellence in terms of their social impact, effectiveness, inclusiveness, level of participation and systematic application. The jury was composed by Michael E. Conroy, Teddy Cruz, Josep Maria Llop - Torne and Gabriela Videla. Organizations and winning projects are:

Winning projects :

Impulso Urbano (Urban Pulse)
(Monterrey, Nuevo León)

Tradición de cerámica de Atzompa: retos y oportunidades (Atzompa Ceramic Tradition : Challenges and Opportunities)
Oaxaca , Oaxaca

Diseño participativo y auto-construcción de un Centro Microregional de Innovación Tecnologica (Participatory design and Self Construction - Microregional Technological Innovation Center)
(San Miguel Peras, Oaxaca)

Una productora de mermelada para NAXII (Jam factory for NAXII)
(San Jerónimo Tecoatl , Oaxaca)

Procesos artesanales como catalizadores de urbanismo sustentable (Traditional processes as catalysts for sustainable urbanism)
(Oaxaca , Oaxaca)

(Autoproducción de vivienda social asistida (Self-produced assisted social housing)
(San Antonio, Cosoleacaque; Coacotla, Cosoleacaque, and Zaragoza, Minatitlan, Veracruz)

PID Mexico Award Winners

Honorable mentions:

Estrategias y análisis de participación para la generación de diseños de espacios alternativos en la colonia El Salvador (Strategies and analysis of Participation generating designs for alternative spaces in the El Salvador colony)

Centro de atención múltiple 43 (Multiple Care Center 43)

RIA Rural

Reconstrucción del hábitat en la montaña de Guerrero (Reconstruction of habitat in the mountains of Guerrero)

Lugar, espíritu y economía del lugar: productores de agave (Location, spirit, and economy of place: agave producers)

Organized by the Social Economic Environmental Design Network (SEED), Basic Initiative (Portland), Design Corps (Raleigh), the Faculty of Architecture of the UNAM (Mexico), and sponsored by the Fetzer Institute, PID - Mexico is a free lecture and open to the public . For more information visit the site PID - Mexico ( - mexico/).