Call for papers


Call for Papers “Building on the Common Ground”

For seventeen years, the purpose of the SFI conference has been to bring together and share the best ideas and practices that are reaching those currently un-served by the design professions. Continuing that tradition, Design Corps, the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED), DesignBuildXchange, and Live Projects Network in collaboration with the Center for Public Interest Design at the Portland State University School of Architecture, are pleased to announce the Structures for Inclusion conference call for papers.

For the first time, these three international networks are combining efforts to support and promote systemic change in the practices of design with the intent of building on the common ground they share. The conference will explore this common ground both through the example provided by the award-winning projects that will be recognized and discussed, and by insights provided by papers exploring the possible benefits of collaboration. So while each network has a unique focus, the call for papers, like the project submissions, acknowledges their common ground: supporting the growth of excellence in public interest design projects and processes and their social, economic, environmental and pedagogic impacts.

To that end, we invite submissions for paper presentations that explore the issues facing all participants in DesignBuild, Public Interest Design, and Live Projects. The paper presentations are meant to stimulate a shared conversation amongst all attendees (within networks or working independently) on parallel issues faced in reaching those un- or under-served by design. The goal is to stimulate dialogue by evaluating and disseminating best practices, methods and critical problems faced by the network hosts and conference attendees.

The conference welcomes a diversity of contributions from established and early career researchers; teachers; students; practitioners; co-professionals; collaborators and experts from other fields. Inter-disciplinary contributions from related fields are also welcome.

Paper proposals should explore critical questions framing the conference’s shared conversations, such as:

• How can design serve the needs of particular communities and be able to communicate beyond these communities?

• What are effective and productive ways in which we can collaborate with each other and with our various communities?

• How can formal and informal networks support these collaborations?

• How can practitioners establish means of collaboration with other systems and networks in productive ways, including how to support and connect to the work being done outside these networks?

In order to grapple with the issues faced by those doing this work, we welcome diverse submissions that address one or more of the following connected themes:

1. Agency
2. Inclusion
3. Outcomes
4. Legacy.

Presenters are encouraged to submit abstracts that celebrate with criticality the processes and practices of public interest design, DesignBuild, and Live Projects (both within and outside of these international networks) in all its many facets: its pedagogy, history, theory, practice, interdisciplinary collaboration, and any other topic of current and/or continuing relevance to the themes and questions enumerated above.

Submissions can see these themes as means of affirmation or opportunities to problematize common issues that are faced in the processes and/or productions of this type of work.

Papers that are transparent about problems and critical of processes and productions are most welcome in order to gain insight from shared interests.


Abstract/Paper Submission Guidelines

Proposal submissions should include the following information and are required to be submitted as a pdf:

Presentation Theme: (must chose at least one) Agency / Authorship. Outcomes: Success / Failure and Evaluation / Knowledge. Longevity / Legacy. Audience / Inclusion / Exclusion.

Title: List working title

Narrative Abstract: 500 word maximum. Required to be in English.

References: One reference is required. Include up to five (maximum) references; Authors may utilize APA, MLA, Chicago Style, or any internationally recognized format that best represents the author’s style of scholarship.

Additional information: The following information may be submitted with your abstract but is not part of the blind-review process. This information is required of all accepted abstracts.

Author(s): list author(s) and institution(s)

25-Word Abstract Summary: This summary will be used for conference publication exactly as submitted.

Author Bio & Photo: The primary author must include a bio of 100 words maximum and photo.

Final Papers should be 3,000-6,000 words in length. Papers selected will be allocated a 20 minute slot for their presentation. Findings from papers should be presented rather than simply read out verbatim.

Submissions must be original work of the author or authors. Existing precedent work of the author and/or of others that directly influenced the scholarship should be cited in the submission. Scholarship previously published or presented must be significantly built upon for consideration. Submissions found in violation of this policy will be disqualified from review.


Submission and Notification Schedule

3 February 2017 – Deadline for abstract submission for Paper proposals.

13 February 2017 – Notification of acceptance for Papers and Workshops.

7 April 2017 – Paper Presentations at Conference

21 April 2017 – Deadline for submission of Full Papers. Note that this date is after the conference and reflects the conference organizers’ desire that each contributor have an opportunity to benefit from the discussions and input at the paper sessions and conference.


Submission Instructions

Please submit both abstracts, and papers, as well as direct any paper or review questions to the Center for Public Interest Design:


For conference registration, logistics and costs, see



Design Corps: Design Corps creates 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. Design Corps was founded in 1991 with a mission 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. Our mission is realized when people are involved in the decisions that shape their lives. Design Corps’ programs, including the SEED Network, the SEED Evaluator, and the Public Interest Design Institute, bring the skills sets of design and planning to empower communities.

Center for Public Interest Design (CPID): The Center for Public Interest Design (CPID) is a research [+action] center at Portland State University that aims to investigate, promote, and engage in inclusive design practices that address the growing needs of underserved communities worldwide. Through research and design, fieldwork, and public outreach, we promote a mode of practice that is socially conscious, environmentally sustainable, and economically accessible to all.



SEED Network: Established in 2005, the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network provides a common standard to guide, evaluate and measure the social, economic, and environmental impact of design. SEED is premised on the belief that design can play a vital role in the most critical issues that face communities and individuals, in crisis and in every day challenges. To accomplish this, the SEED process guides professionals to work alongside locals who know their community and its needs. This practice of “trusting the local” is increasingly recognized as a highly effective way to sustain the health and longevity of a place or a community as it develops.

dbXchange network: The dbXchange platform addresses projects in the framework of academic education with an emphasis on the built environment. The main aims of the platform are to exchange knowledge
and experiences on academic DesignBuild projects as well as to stimulate the DesignBuild methodology. The platform provides tools for supporting DesignBuild project workflows as well as providing access to detailed information about the projects themselves, their related networks and stakeholders.

Live Projects Network: Established in 2012, the Live Projects Network is an online resource to connect students, educators, clients, practitioners and researchers involved in live projects. Its aims are to promote the use of live projects in education, share best practice, encourage dialogue and also contribute to the establishment of a theoretical basis for the study of live projects. The site includes case studies of contemporary live projects from around the world that can be filtered by their various resources and contexts, links to further information and connects to the sites of network members.