We invest resources in the most promising levers of change.

Learning 
& Engagement

Design drives equity. But is design driven by equity?

Do you have to go to design school to design your community?

Where does street wisdom and expert knowledge meet?

Can community design conquer the limitations of geography?

Places have heart. Can big data sense its pulse?

An informed and engaged public is the central ingredient of a successful community. The Sasaki Foundation invests in ideas and strategies that engage community members with participating in the design process—and meaningfully contributing to its outcomes. To that end, we work with civic leaders, educators, economists, and technologists to connect design and community-driven action.

The Foundation was a lead sponsor of the 2017 Harvard Graduate School of Design conference “Black in Design: Designing Resistance, Building Coalitions,” that promotes the agency of the design professions to address issues of equity and social justice.

Research 
& Experimentation

Best ideas happen outside of office hours. How do we get past the clock?

Are the best materials of tomorrow languishing in the landfills of today?

At what point does interdisciplinary transcend disciplines?

Can artificial intelligence make us better humans?

Can a stormwater system double as a community space?

Large-scale, complex challenges require cross-disciplinary thinking. That’s why the Sasaki Foundation convenes experts and innovators from all professional backgrounds and all walks of life. At Sasaki’s campus, resources such as a fabrication lab and advanced digital tools—as well as Sasaki’s global expertise and networks—empower creative problem-solving and truly novel solutions.

The Foundation sponsors the Perry Chapman Research Prize through the Society of College and University Planning (SCUP). The prize honors the memory of Perry Chapman, a landmark campus planner, for his commitment to integrated planning and interdisciplinary collaboration. The prize furthers the research, development, and dissemination of emerging knowledge to improve campus environments in support of their institution’s mission.

Professional Practice & Growth

How can design shed its luxury label?

Who decides who a designer is?

What does a designer look like?

Can designers move from representation to construction?

If we are designing for democracy, why aren’t we designing in a democracy?

A thriving design industry relies on a pipeline of diverse, talented, and passionate practitioners who infuse new ideas and disrupt established patterns. The Sasaki Foundation supports professional organizations and initiatives that prepare such future leaders. The Foundation also advocates for innovative design practice, seeking ways to cross disciplinary boundaries and amplify impact. Of special interest are programs that advance diversity and inclusivity in the next generation of design professionals.

The Foundation is a sponsor of Youth Design, providing summer design internships at Sasaki. Youth Design targets urban high school students attending Boston Public Schools, and the organization's priority is to help youth obtain the essential skills required to compete in the 21st century workforce.

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