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Cities x Design

Cities x Design

Community, Arts & Culture, Environment

50 Supporters


Cities x Design is a 35-city* trans-media research trip across the United States that is recorded online and will later be released in film, exhibition and book form. Through visits, observations, and interviews Cities x Design will examine, during this time of economic instability and questioning about America’s future, the connections between cities, local culture and people in the United States. It will highlight how investing in design can change perceptions, boost economies and create unique places.

Design is American cultural heritage

Design, broadly defined, has historically been a prominent industry in the United States and a profession that has fundamentally shaped and defined American culture and way of life. As designer Henry Dreyfuss, wrote in Designing for People, “well designed, mass-produced goods constitute a new American art form and are responsible for the creation of new American culture.” Although not the birthplace of design, the U.S. is the most prolific design nation in the 20th century. From the 1950s forward American products and services have spread around the world. They have contributed to industrial and product design from home appliances to automobiles, mass transit systems, aircrafts and spaceships, in architecture, from modern homes to office spaces and airports. In communication from posters to corporate identity, food packaging and retail display, in technology from phones to televisions and computers. The strength of American design has created brands; ideas and products that have transformed the way people live and work. The unique “design for people” processes that America developed in its post-war years gave rise to notable successes but have recently raised unprecedented social, economic and cultural challenges. These new challenges lead to important questions on whether 20th century design methodologies are best suited to the demands of life in the 21st century. Cities x Design sees the current crisis as an opportunity to rethink the role of design in society; it is time to once again position it as a strong cultural, economic and social asset.

Design can change society

This documentary will explore cities where local creativity, commerce and culture merge. It will highlight people, organizations and businesses that use design as a medium to reflect a deeper understanding of their city’s identity. It will reveal the diversity that lives in America’s most creative corners: from a cutting-edge entrepreneur who is working with the New Orleans Government to regenerate a historic riverfront, to a graphic design firm in Austin working with local musicians, a Native-American fashion designer in Santa Fe, or a small furniture company in Denver that uses domestically sourced material. The website, book, exhibition and film will showcase people who play an important role in the regeneration, tourism, branding, and creative economy of their cities. Their ideas are inspired by authenticity, craftsmanship, local identity and culture. These people are charting a new course for a sustainable future in American cities.

*Cities x Design starts on July 1, in Orlando, Florida and will pass through New Orleans, Austin, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Boise, Salt Lake City, Boulder, Denver, Omaha, Iowa City, Minneapolis, Madison, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Columbus, Lexington, Knoxville, Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah and Miami.

Cities x Design

Blog / View all (13) Blog Posts

Skyscrapers - Mumbai's future??

Environment, Environmental Design


'Engineering Marvels ' or 'Urban Monuments' skyscrapers have always been objects of fa...

Group Members / View all (50) Group Members

  • Sali Sasaki
  • Abhishek Tongia
  • Afarin Sajjadian
  • Alex Gill
  • Allison Black
  • Andrea Flamini

Cities x Design is an online documentary that emphasizes design, local skills and culture across the United States in 35 pre-selected cities.

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Moderator: Sali Sasaki