10 Projects that Build Connection in Communities

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We’re all a part of communities—large, small, near, far and differently-abled—that intersect and interact in various ways. In pursuit of a more harmonious society, it seems imperative to encourage empathy, connection and understanding, so we examine 10 projects that build connections of all kinds: between individuals one-on-one, close to home and across the world; both in the abstract and tangibly.


The Senses: Design Beyond Vision | New York | 2018 | Studio Joseph
Curators Ellen Lupton and Andrea Lipps from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum enlisted the help of Studio Joseph to create an exhibition that goes beyond the visual to deliver a uniquely accessible sensorial feast. 

Design with the 90% | Seattle | 2018 | Studio Matthews
The Bill & Melinda Gate Center exhibition highlights 26 projects that aim to improve life in some of the world’s most marginalized communities—focusing on a wide range of issues in medicine, education, shelter, communications, reproductive health and sanitation.

Skyline Wayfinding | Seoul | 2018 | YiEUM Partners, Seoul Metropolitan Government
This 2019 SEGD Global Design Awards Sylvia Harris and Merit Award-winning project is a much-needed wayfinding intervention that transformed navigation in the maze-like Geumho-dong neighborhood.

Maguire Welcome Center | Washington | 2018 | C&G Partners
C&G Partners designed the Maguire Welcome Center visitor experience at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. for “deaf eyes” using DeafSpace Guidelines in partnership with the university and Dangermond Keane Architecture.

Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice | New York | 2018 | Gensler
This inclusivity-centric signage and wayfinding program was designed for the non-profit to bring its inspiring stories to life within its iconic Manhattan headquarters with symbol design inspired by 1960s-era style present throughout the renovated space.

MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, East Campus Housing | Woodburn, Ore. | 2017 | Mayer/Reed, Inc.
Intended to encourage healthy development and rehabilitation rather than punishment, the design team was asked to integrate high quality, culturally specific visuals that youth participate in making that define key values like respect, integrity and commitment.

We are HSI | Denver | 2017 | Metropolitan State University of Denver
This 2018 Merit Award-winning two-sided installation, designed and built by students, had one interactive side and an educational one to bring awareness of the Hispanic Serving Institution status that MSU Denver was close to obtaining. 

Border City | London | 2016 | Pentagram
2017 SEGD Global Design Awards Honor Award winner, Border City, proposes a truly bi-national and borderless city in the U.S. and Mexico based on a unique hexagonal grid system as part of the Biennale theme of “Utopia by Design.”

The Segregated Lunch Counter | Washington | 2016 | Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Cortina Productions
This National Museum of African American History and Culture 2017 SEGD Merit Award winner is an interactive, which enables visitors to explore critical actions taken during the Civil Rights Movement to affect national laws and influence future events.

Who, Like Me, is Threatened? | Atlanta | 2014 | Second Story, part of SapientRazorfish
This 2017 SEGD Global Design Awards Sylvia Harris and Merit Award-winning installation challenges visitors to see themselves in the struggles of others and to put a human face on complex problems that can otherwise seem foreign or abstract. 


BONUS: “An Eight-Step Pedagogy for Teaching Social Design” from the SEGD Research Journal: Communication and Place, 2017 | By Neeta Verma, University of Notre Dame


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