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GOOD Ideas for Cities pairs creatives with civic leaders to address urban issues.

As we watch politicians argue over the debt ceiling in D.C., neighborhoods splinter under civil unrest in London, and a battle waged over biking in New York, it’s clear that the challenges facing our cities can’t always be resolved through government action. At GOOD, we know the power of creative thinkers when it comes to tackling urban problems. Creatives have a unique ability to explain an idea as a graspable concept, visualize solutions in a way that can elicit buy-in, and emotionally connect with audiences. So we created a series of events called GOOD Design that showcase how designers, architects, artists, filmmakers and writers can be utilized as effective problem solvers in cities, using real problems proposed by urban leaders. GOOD and CEOs for Cities are excited to be collaborating on GOOD Ideas for Cities, the next iteration of this program.

Since 2008, the GOOD Design events have paired creative problem solvers with large-scale urban challenges proposed by civic leaders. The teams then present their concepts at high-energy live events that allow for a meaningful dialogue between the creative teams and urban leaders, as well as immediate feedback from local audience members. These events have been held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, as part of CEOs for Cities’ national conference, and at several design schools across the country.

GOOD Design Bay Area: Challenge #6 from SPUR on Vimeo.

Brian Singer of Altitude SF presents his solution for the American Red Cross at the GOOD Design Bay Area event held at SPUR in San Francisco

While these events spark exciting conversations about the future of our cities, what’s been most incredible to see is how the creatives and city leaders keep working together to bring their ideas to life. Most recently, a GOOD event held in Los Angeles dubbed “Steal This Idea” featured six creative teams tackling everything from transportation to public media, with clients ranging from LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy to L.A.’s Food Policy Council director Paula Daniels. One of the solutions, a board game to help train volunteers working with the homeless, was designed by Tanya Aguiñiga for the 100,000 Homes Campaign and Home for Good, and has already been put into practice at recent workshops. And a collaboration between Dr. Leslie Saxon of USC’s Center for Body Computing and Stuart Karten Design on a jeans company that motivates teens to make smart nutrition choices, was presented at a food and nutrition event in L.A. and has led to Karten Design joining the groundbreaking USC center.


Erin Mays and Jonathan Abarbanel of Stuart Karten Design present their concept for the USC Center for Body Computing at the GOOD Design LA event held at ATX in Los Angeles.

As we head into the next year, we’re hoping to expand the program in several ways. First of all we’d like to bring the program to middle-sized American cities, working to create the same kind of energy and enthusiasm we’ve created in L.A., San Francisco and New York. We also hope to launch several more programs in schools. We’ll be creating a website that not only shares all the solutions created for the program so far, but also includes stories and inspiration from creatives working in service of their cities and local governments. We’ll be launching a new effort that engages the community, so anyone can contribute their ideas for city problems. And finally, we’ll be producing a toolkit that allows any group to produce a GOOD Ideas for Cities event in their community.

But first, we’re excited to have two new events coming up in the next few weeks!

On Monday, September 19, we’ll be back in New York City as part of Urban Design Week. The exciting design competition By the City/For the City gathered over 500 ideas from New Yorkers on how to improve their city . We picked five of the most pressing challenge areas and assigned them to creative teams, who will present their concepts at a live event at the Museum at Eldridge Street.

And on Thursday, September 29, we’re heading back to San Francisco for the Architecture and the City Festival, a month-long celebration of design sponsored by AIA SF. This year’s event will be held at swissnex as the closing party for the festival, where four design teams will present their concepts for challenges sponsored by organizations like San Francisco’s Department of Technology and the Port of San Francisco.

We’re excited about the next year of GOOD Ideas for Cities and we hope to see you at an upcoming event! Please get in touch if you’d like to talk about bringing the program to your city by emailing alissaATgoodincDOTcom

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