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GOOD Design

Our GOOD Design program matches up designers and nonprofit organizations to creatively solve urban challenges. This program has been supported by NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) and LEF Foundation.

GOOD Design

Since 2009, The Center SF has hosted this event during the Architecture and the City Festival and has been supported through grants from the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) and LEF Foundation. Launched as part of a series developed by GOOD in 2008, this event was inspired in part by the resurgence of localized, urbanist action, by knowing that local solutions can have global implications.


We connect local urban leaders/organizations with designers to tackle current urban challenges. We seek to create unconventional pairings (i.e. a design consulting firm and the city’s emergency preparedness department) to generate innovative solutions to the challenges. We ask the question: what can be produced when a designer solves a problem outside their everyday design discipline? 


The goal of this event is to demonstrate that:

  • Designers (of all disciplines) are large-scale problem solvers that should be tapped by local government, and

  • Big city problems can be solved by creative thinking that sometimes comes from outside government.


The Center for Architecture + Design celebrates the transformative power of design with GOOD Design San Francisco, our annual Architecture + the City Festival program that invites local design thinkers and urban leaders to address some of San Francisco's most pressing issues. The GOOD Design Challenge draws on the diversity of the design disciplines here in San Francisco —architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, graphic design, product design, and user experience design, to name a few—to demonstrate that design, beyond a purely aesthetic endeavor, is a powerful tool in solving large-scale urban problems. When design thinking is applied beyond traditional realms, innovation happens. With this in mind, Good Design 2018 speculated on the shape of the "Future City" by investigating the relationship between technology, ecology, and urban form.


In 2018, we brought together some of San Francisco’s best local design thinkers, civic leaders and community members for an evening of design charrette collaborations, brainstorm sessions and deep conversations. Participants divided into into small groups to speculate on future conditions of our City by the Bay, including technology, transportation, economy, ecological systems, land use, resource allocation, universal design, social connections and interactions, housing, energy and waste streams, pollution, communication, aesthetics, and related topics.