LTU Co-Hosting Conference On Architecture For ‘Underserved’ Communities

SOUTHFIELD — Lawrence Technological University and Design Corps are hosting the 15th Structures for Inclusion Conference April 10-12 at the Carr Center Art Gallery in Detroit. The annual event features the best public interest design projects from around the world.

In conjunction with the conference, on April 13-14 Design Corps will hold a Public Interest Design Institute using the Harvard Business School case study method to showcase architecture and design projects that exemplify “social economic environmental design,” or SEED, principles.

To register for one or both events, go to

The purpose of the SFI conference has been to bring together and share the best ideas and practices that are reaching those currently unserved by architecture. “Resilience of Mind, Body and Spirit” will be the theme of SFI 15. Projects are from Detroit and other resilient cities where designers and planners seek to be more inclusive.

“Bringing this conference to Detroit this year is quite fitting given Detroit’s position at an historic crossroads,” said Lawrence Tech Professor Joongsub Kim, one of the conference organizers.

The host committee also includes Amy Green Deines, associate dean of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design; Scott Shall, chair of LTU’s Department of Architecture; and Associate Professor Edward Orlowski.

Design Corps is a non-profit advocacy group founded in 1991 to create positive change in traditionally underserved communities by using design, advocacy, and education to help them shape their environment and address their social, economic, and environmental challenges. It provides design and planning services through its SEED Network.

Each year Design Corps, in association with a local non-profit organization or school, hosts the SFI conference to focus attention on design practitioners and projects helping to overcome longstanding challenges in under-resourced communities.

The SFI conferences showcase design efforts that reach out to and serve a diverse clientele. Attendees learn about pathways to pursue alternative community-based work as well as evidence of the impact.

The April 13-14 Public Interest Design Institute will be presented by Design Corps and the SEED Network. It is sponsored by Lawrence Tech, AIA Detroit, and AIA Michigan. The program will provide design and planning professionals with in-depth study of how design can address the critical issues faced by communities. Training in public interest design is a way of enhancing an existing design practice and learning skills to become proactively engaged in community-based design.

The curriculum is formed around the SEED metric, a set of standards that outline the process and principles of this growing approach to design. This process provides step-by-step guidance for those who want to undertake public-interest design. Participants can earn certification in the SEED process.

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