Public Architecture, in partnership with AIA San Francisco and Interface, is proud to inaugurate a national award recognizing exemplary projects that serve the public good. The Social Impact Design Award is a unique opportunity for architects and designers to share the impact of their work and to promote the important relationship between quality design and social outcomes. 

This national award is being run in conjunction with AIA San Francisco’s Constructed Realities award program. Submissions will be accepted until July 18, 2013. For more information and to submit, click here.

Submission Criteria

The Social Impact Design Award seeks to foster built environment solutions that improve social outcomes and the ability to measure and articulate their impacts. We encourage submissions of all project types, from low-cost structures in rural and developing regions to large scale commercial projects in metropolitan centers, so long as they address one or more of the following criteria:

Educational Iniquity—Access to primary education is as a right in this country. Yet reality shows an imbalance in the access to quality learning environments. Priority will be given to projects that address inequalities in our education system and those that increase the quality of education, not just the quality of an educational environment.

Community Engagement—Research shows that citizens who are engaged in their communities live longer and are healthier. Moreover, communities that are comprised of engaged citizens have lower crime rates, are able to address challenges more effectively, and are more socially-balanced. The Award seeks projects where the design or the design process has led to increased civic and social engagement.

Economic Disparity—The jury will select projects where the design solution or process reduced disparities in the economics of the larger community or individuals served by the project.

Health Outcomes—The environment has a major role to play in improving health outcomes. Infectious diseases claimed millions of lives before people understood that environmental design measures could be an effective means to eliminate disease. This award recognizes projects that improve health outcomes on the larger community or individuals served by the project, rather than just improving health environments.

Human Rights— All too often, the most celebrated design projects are not dispersed equally in society, leaving the most disadvantaged populations with disproportionate access to healthy environments. The Award will recognize projects that contribute to the observance of human equality and the fundamental freedoms for all, without regard to race, sex, language, or religion.

Design Excellence— Socially impactful projects are expected to improve communities and contribute to the highest level of design expectations.

Special attention will be paid to projects that demonstrate the transformation of a community or organization through a means of quality, scale, accessibility, and sustainability. While community engagement in the design process is almost always key to successful projects, the Social Impact Award is judged on project outcomes. Providing project metrics or assessment is not required, but including measurable impact will improve the strength of a submission.


IMAGE: Graphic Design by Josh Halstead

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