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.

The CPID was established in 2013 in response to the critical need in underserved communities nationally and in developing nations for design practices that address issues such as inadequate shelter, food and water scarcity, disaster preparedness and recovery, and economic well-being. The work of the CPID builds upon several decades of progressive practice and research in public interest design of the center’s inaugural fellows and founding director, Sergio Palleroni.

Professor Palleroni co-founded the international design-build program the BASIC Initiative nearly three decades ago. This service-learning program was an express response to both the needs of vulnerable communities around the globe and a desire to expand the role of architects to address social and environmental issues. The CPID expands upon BASIC's goal of helping underserved communities achieve a sustainable and equitable way of life.

Based at PSU’s School of Architecture, the CPID fosters opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration among professionals, faculty, students, and community partners in order to advance engaged design practices and the emerging field of public interest design. The Center for Public Interest Design provides research, design, consulting, and community engagement services to address the persistent challenges facing our most vulnerable communities and ecosystems. Visit our projects page to see examples of the CPID’s ongoing work in Portland and in communities around the world.


Browse the Center for Public Interest Design Collections:

Center for Public Interest Design Projects