“The best thing about Place by Design is its diversity, even within the categories. It's a time to be surrounded by new approaches and ideas from individuals with great knowledge and hope for the future.”
– PXD 2015 Finalist


The Place by Design Finalists envision public space as something greater than a backdrop for human activity. These projects push everyday places to become an integral part of a community and a force for social, economic and environmental change. Place by Design represents the potential for place-based innovation to influence public health, community engagement, social equity and more. While many applicants work in related fields such as urban design and architecture, there are also artists, developers, community activists, corporations and entrepreneurs below. This diversity demonstrates the collaboration that is key to building good places, and SXSW Eco’s Place by Design program strives to be a platform to foster extraordinary partnerships and advance this work further. Visit our Youtube playlist to watch last year's presentations, and register to attend SXSW Eco today to see these Finalists discuss their process and the impact of visionary place-based design in our one of a kind fast-paced pitch competition. Our 2016 winners will be selected by the Place by Design Jury and announced at the SXSW Eco Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, October 12.

Click on a category to view 2016 finalists:

Art + Interaction
Equity + Inclusion
Resilience + Health
Revitalization
Speculative + Prototyping
Urban Strategy + Civic Engagement



Art + Interaction Finalists

Creative work that beautifies, raises awareness and transforms the way passers-by or users interact with public space.

Phase Change by Futures North

Watch Pitch Video

PHASE CHANGE

Winner

Phase Change spatializes climate change through a dynamic construction of melting ice. Three lattices of infrared lamps are programmed using climate data to differentially melt walls of adjacent ice according to past, present and projected future scenarios.

Designed by

Futures North

Location

Minneapolis, MN

Presenter

Molly Reichert

Lightswarm by Future Cities Lab

Watch Pitch Video

Lightswarm

Lightswarm is an interactive facade sculpture that transforms the sounds of San Francisco into playful swarms of light. Sensing sound from inside a popular museum and a neighboring public garden, Lightswarm's hundreds of suspended lanterns illuminate the real-time pulse of the city.

Designed by

Future Cities Lab

Location

San Francisco, CA

Presenters

Nataly Gattegno + Jason Kelly Johnson

Perceptoscope

Watch Pitch Video

Perceptoscope

Perceptoscope is a scalable public arts initiative devoted to giving people a new way to examine and interact with their everyday places through the deployment of mixed reality pedestal binoculars.

Designed by

Ben Sax

Location

Los Angeles, CA + Various

Presenters

Ben Sax

Random Generators

Watch Pitch Video

RANDOM GENERATORS

Honorable Mention

The Random Generators are games, visual installations, & collaborative experiments that spark participants to engage in conversations about fate and the past, present, and future of our world, ultimately asking themselves: Are we part of a cosmic pattern, or do we ourselves create it?

Designed by

Anjali Deshmukh

Location

New York, NY

Presenter

Anjali Deshmukh

Whithervanes by rootoftwo

Watch Pitch Video

WHITHERVANES: A NEUROTIC, EARLY WORRYING SYSTEM

Whithervanes: publicly installed headless chicken weathervanes that respond to news-related fear on the Internet. The system will also launch as a platform to be repurposed for different locations/scales and for different streams of big data in 2017.

Designed by

rootoftwo

Location

Ann Arbor, MI + Various

Presenters:

Cezanne Charles + John Marshall

XYZ Atlas

Watch Pitch Video

XYZ ATLAS: THE HEDONIC MAP OF AUSTIN

Created by artist Jennifer Chenoweth, XYZ Atlas is a public art project documenting how individuals and communities find attachment to place. These stories have been visualized through a series of interactive pieces playing with time, space and perspective, including The Hedonic Map of Austin.

Designed by

Fisterra Studio

Location

Austin, TX

Presenter:

Jennifer Chenoweth

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Equity + Inclusion Finalists

Place-based designs, processes and platforms that include traditionally underrepresented communities and serve to increase access to social, environmental and economic opportunity.

Territory Urban Design Team

Winner

Territory provides skill building programs in urban design, public art and community planning, along with career readiness skills through After School Matters, One Summer Chicago, and GreenCorps.

Designed by

Territory Urban Design Team

Location

Chicago, IL

Presenters:

Rashmi Ramaswamy (Territory NFP) + Helen Slade (Territory NFP)

Territory Urban Design Team>

Watch Pitch Video

#BuchananChange

In partnership with Green Streets, Citizen Film, and the Trust for Public Land, the Exploratorium helped local residents envision a safe, green, well-used park—and then build it.

Designed by

The Exploratorium

Location

San Francisco, CA

Presenters:

Shawn Lani (Exploratorium) + Tyrone Mullins (Green Streets)

#BuchananChange by the Exploratorium

Watch Pitch Video

#OurChangingClimate

#OurChangingClimate is an environmental design project that encourages diverse communities to observe and critique their everyday surroundings through the lens of climate change and to share those experiences through social media.

Designed by

Nina Claire Napawan, Sheryl Ann Simpson + Brett Snyder (#OurChangingClimate)

Location

Various

Presenters:

Brett Snyder + Nina Claire Napawan

#OurChangingClimate

Watch Pitch Video

GHESKIO TUBERCULOSIS HOSPITAL

The GHESKIO Tuberculosis Hospital, the only multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis hospital in Haiti, was designed for infection control and patient dignity. The project used local labor and provided training for workers in high quality construction.

Designed by

MASS Design Group

Location

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Presenters:

MASS Design Group

GHESKIO Tuberculosis Hospital by MASS Design

Spatial Practice as Evidence and Advocacy (SPEA)

Honorable Mention

Spatial Practice as Evidence and Advocacy (SPEA) utilizes spatial analysis and visualization in the service of human rights fact-finding and reporting through the application of existing and emerging design technologies and methodologies.

Designed by

SITU Studio

Location

Various

Presenters:

McKenna Cole + Daniel Miller

Tanzania Beekeepers Asali + Nyuki Sanctuary

The Tanzania Beekeepers Asali & Nyuki Sanctuary, is a honey bee education center. The program includes a centralized facility for honey extraction and processing, a large porch honey market, educational rooms, and provides services to local villages in support of their beekeeping activities.

Designed by

Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects

Location

Dodoma, Tanzania

Presenters:

Mark Gardner (Jaklitsch / Gardner) + Mary Canning (Follow the Honey)

Watch Pitch Video

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Resilience + Health Finalists

Projects and initiatives that improve public health through design, and contribute to a more adaptive, resilient world.

MASS Design GHESKIO CTC

GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center

Winner

MASS’s Cholera Treatment Center has revolutionized cholera treatment in Port-au-Prince— it provides permanent infrastructure for immediate and quality patient treatment while also treating wastewater on site, thus halting the cycle of the disease.

Designed by

MASS Design Group

Location

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Presenter:

MASS Design Group

Nubian Vault Association

Watch Pitch Video

Better Building in West Africa: The Nubian Vault Solution

The Nubian Vault is an earth-only sustainable construction method allowing the adaptation of the housing sector to climate change in West Africa, while providing thousands with access to decent homes and green jobs, for resilient human settlements.

Designed by

Association la Voute Nubienne

Location

Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali + Senegal

Presenter:

Amarys Preuss

River LA

Watch Pitch Video

A Healthy LA River for All

A healthy 51-mile LA River provides next generation infrastructure, supports a strong ecology and creates vibrant public spaces. River LA’s vision is a resilient region that embraces its natural resources and equitably distributes benefits for all

Designed by

River LA

Location

Los Angeles, CA

Presenters:

Omar Brownson + Eli A. Kaufman

Kachumbala Maternity Ward

Kachumbala Maternity Unit

The Kachumbala Maternity Unit aims to curb infant mortality in Uganda’s rural and impoverished Bukedea District, which averages six births a day; the existing decrepit facility can handle just two mothers. The new unit employs passive design strategies and operates without a stable source of electricity or running water.

Designed by

Citizen HKS

Location

Kachumbala, Uganda

Presenters:

Ellen Mitchell Kozack + Julie Welilk

Watch Pitch Video

Recomposition: A New Way to Care for Our Dead

The Urban Death Project believes that death care can be ecological, meaningful, and just. We are developing a system called Recomposition that uses natural decomposition to turn bodies into soil. Recomposition is replicable, scalable, and regenerative. It celebrates the potential that is in our bodies after we die.

Designed by

The Urban Death Project

Location

Seattle, WA

Presenter:

Katrina Spade

Thunder Valley

Watch Pitch Video

Thunder Valley Regenerative Community

The Thunder Valley Regenerative Community Master Plan is a visionary community design collaboration between local Pine Ridge Indian Reservation community members, Oglala Lakota 501(c)(3) non-profit organization Thunder Valley CDC, and architecture firms BNIM and Pyatt Studio, with essential support from KLJ Engineering and Studio NYL. This project is Lakota culture materialized in a built environment –– an entire eco-friendly, climate change adaptable community built from the ground up with Lakota culture & values in mind.

Designed by

BNIM, Thunder Valley CDC + Pyatt Studio

Location

Porcupine, SD

Presenters:

Christina Hoxie (BNIM), Jennifer S. Irving (Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation)

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Revitalization Finalists

Work that breathes new life into existing buildings and infrastucture through innovative planning and design.

African Bead Museum

Winner

The MBAD African Bead Museum is cultural literacy via architectural revolution. Nearly an entire city block, Dabls’ MBAD African Bead Museum houses 18 outdoor installations as well as the African Bead Gallery, N'kisi House and African Language Wall.

Designed by

Olayami Dabls

Location

Detroit, MI

Presenters:

Olayami Dabls (MBAD) + Bryce Detroit (Detroit Afrikan Music Institute)

African Bead Museum

Watch Pitch Video

THE STOREFRONT THEATER

PXD Audience Choice Winner

STOREFRONT THEATER transforms the space of a small town Main Street into an outdoor movie theater,by modifying the front wall of an empty storefront to fold down and provide seats with the push of a button, and showing a documentary about the history of the downtown made by a local retired postman and volunteers from the town as actors.

Designed by

Matthew Mazzotta

Location

Lyons, NE

Presenter:

Matthew Mazzotta

Watch Pitch Video


Beyond the Storefront

Honorable Mention

Beyond the Storefront is a presentation on urban design and business support techniques that embeds placemaking, pedestrian life, and economic activity along underserved business corridors in Los Angeles. This strategy positions business storefronts to become social, cultural, and economic hubs of activity.

Designed by

LA-Más

Location

Los Angeles, CA

Presenters:

Helen Leung + Elizabeth Timme (LA-Más)

LA-Más Beyond the Storefront

Watch Pitch Video

Globe-Miami: A Creative Community Designing for Life

The Globe-Miami project addresses the shift of population patterns in Globe and Miami, Arizona to test sustainable practices that reinvent a rural model for the 21st century.

Designed by

XCOOP

Location

Globe + Miami, AZ

Presenters:

Andrea Bertassi + Cristina Murphy (XCOOP)

Watch Pitch Video

HOOVER-MASON TRESTLE

The revitalization of the Hoover-Mason Trestle [HMT] serves to enhance the community of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, by preserving the history and integrity of the site, and allowing visitors the opportunity to once again inhabit the site as a public space.

Designed by

WRT

Location

Bethlehem, PA

Presenters:

Keiko Tsuruta Cramer + Jared Edgar McKnight (WRT)

HOOVER-MASON TRESTLE by WRT

Watch Pitch Video

THE LOOP

The corner of Pine Avenue and Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, CA is now home to an effervescent, community engaging, bold public open space, THE LOOP: the next generation urban activation platform bringing together the latest in building technology, programmatic activation, and visual impact.

Designed by

Alexis Rochas, Gensler + Brightview

Location

Long Beach, CA

Presenter:

Alexis Rochas (STEREOBOT) + Brian Glodney (Gensler)

The LOOP

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Speculative + Prototyping Finalists

Conceptual ideas to improve public space and the built environment; projects in planning stages.

Social Sensory Architectures

Watch Pitch Video

SOCIAL SENSORY ARCHITECTURES

Winner

The Social Sensory Architectures project addresses underlying challenges for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through the design of a physically, visually and auditorily transformable environment. At the core of project is the combination of advanced CNC knitting, sensing technology and custom software to form a textile structure as a tactile, sensorially-responsive architecture.

Designed by

Sean Ahlquist

Location

Ann Arbor, MI

Presenter:

Sean Ahlquist (University of Michigan)

Watch Pitch Video

BLOOM + INVERT WINDOW SYSTEM

Honorable Mention

Bloom and Invert Window Systems both use thermobimetal technology, a sheet metal that curls when heated. Bloom is a sun-tracking installation indexing time and temperature, and Invert is a "living" architectural product, self=responsive to changing environmental conditions.

Designed by

Doris Sung Architecture

Location

Los Angeles, CA

Presenter:

Doris Sung

Watch Pitch Video

THE CYPHER: WHO ROC THE SPOT

The Universal Hip Hop Museum’s mobile experience gives voice to the people, places and artifacts that shaped hip hop culture. Using hip hop as a catalyst for Design Justice + community engagement, citizens collaborate to build a semi-permanent cultural space housing community specific civic needs.

Designed by

Michael Ford (Mobile UHHM) + Bryan Lee (Design Justice Pavilion)

Location

Bronx, NY + Various

Presenters:

Michael Ford (Brandnu Design) + Bryan Lee (Arts Council of New Orleans)

Watch Pitch Video

INFINITY HELMET

Infinity Helmet is an interactive wearable prototype that creates an immersive virtual and physical experience to change how users socially interact and receive information at cultural events. Embedded audio responsive lighting, infinity mirror, and social interaction create an unexpected spatial experience.

Designed by

Dustin White

Location

Lubbock, TX

Presenters:

Dustin White (Texas Tech University)

Pop Up Fitness hub

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POP UP FITNESS HUB

You see a parking lot. We see a place where people from all walks of life can gather, move, and play with friends.

Designed by

Jenn Pattee (Basic Training) + Douglas Burnham (Envelope A+D)

Location

San Francisco, CA

Presenter:

Jenn Pattee (Basic Training)

Ubuntu Design Group

Watch Pitch Video

UBUNTU DESIGN

Ubuntu Design Group (UDG) believes in empowering people by harnessing their local innovation and combining it with our architectural designs to come up with culturally contextual, sustainable and affordable housing solutions.

Designed by

Ubuntu Design Group

Location

South Africa

Presenter:

Stephen Allcock + Wandile Mthiyane

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Urban Strategy + Civic Engagement Finalists

Showcases strategies to create more vibrant, innovative cities and engage the public in the design, planning and civic processes.

BOOMBOX

Winner

Boombox is a micro retail kiosk installed in​ ​​underutilized spaces to ​​bridg​​e ​​the gap between startup and storefront​.​

Designed by

Latent Design

Location

Chicago, IL

Presenter:

Katherine Darnstadt (Latent Design)

Boombox

Watch Pitch Video

DRAWING LINES

The Drawing Lines project placed an artist or artist team in each of Austin’s 10 newly created political districts to co-create a piece about the district with residents. Together the artists were able to explore the question of what role art can play in the context of political change.

Designed by

Go Collaborative + 15 Artists

Location

Austin, TX

Presenters:

Michael Anthony Garcia (Los Outsiders), Carrie Kenny (Prizer Gallery) + Lynn Osgood (Go Collaborative)

Drawing Lines

Watch Pitch Video

Town Square Initiative / Pershing Square Renew

The Town Square Initiative & Pershing Square Renew is a study of the power of an idea to instigate movement and engagement. In 2016, The City of LA and Pershing Square Renew celebrated the selection of the winning design team who will create the future vision of Pershing Square.

Designed by

Gensler

Location

Los Angeles, CA

Presenter:

Brian Glodney (Gensler)

Town Square / Pershing Renew

Watch Pitch Video

Forgotten Spaces

Forgotten Spaces is a participatory design project aiming to seek out redundant and neglected spaces across self-built communities in Cairo, Egypt. Forgotten spaces presents an ideal place for activities to emerge as a neglected potential for revival.

Designed by

Hebatuallah Hendawy

Location

Cairo, Egypt

Presenter:

Hebatullah Hendawy (Open Architecture Collaborative)

Forgotten Spaces

Living Innovation Zone: Pause on Market Street

Pause on Market Street was the first of the city of San Francisco’s “Living Innovation Zones.” The design builds on our 40+ years of experience with informal learning to create a public space that fosters curiosity, interaction, and conversation.

Designed by

The Exploratorium's Studio for Public Spaces

Location

San Francisco, CA

Presenters:

Adam Green + Shawn Lani (Exploratorium)

Living Innovation Zone

Watch Pitch Video

SEATTLE DESIGN NERDS

The Seattle Design Nerds are an all volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to design in the public realm. We attempt to engage the public with their city & with its design community through interactive inflatable spaces, AR games, & more

Designed by

Seattle Design Nerds

Location

Seattle, WA

Presenter:

Trevor Dykstra

Seattle Design Nerds

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WEHOX INNOVATION + TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM

The City of West Hollywood’s WeHoX Innovation and Technology program applies innovative, collaborative thinking to civic challenges both inside and outside City Hall by engaging the West Hollywood community in dialogue with City staff to improve the City’s capacity for innovation.

Designed by

City of West Hollywood

Location

West Hollywood, CA

Presenters:

Francisco Contreras + Kate Mayerson

WeHoX

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Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines is the premier sponsor of Place by Design. The Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community program was developed in partnership with Project for Public Spaces to support and activate public spaces in the heart of cities they serve; since 2013, they have given thirteen placemaking grants to regenerate urban spaces across North America.

At SXSW Eco, Southwest Airlines will be installing a Heart of the Community outdoor placemaking lounge for attendees to enjoy. They will also be providing Place by Design winners with special awards and leading a bootcamp to teach SXSW Eco attendees what they look for in grantees and how to apply to Heart of the Community.