Iowa State University’s exhibit on transforming communities showcased the partnership between the College of Design and the Extension and Outreach program in harnessing creativity, design, and innovation to promote community development and provide entrepreneurial solutions to complex societal problems. Inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 national call to “think anew, and act anew,” the Iowa State partnership demonstrates the ongoing ability and innovative approaches of land-grant universities to solve today’s challenges and anticipate tomorrow’s.
In addition to faculty-led interactive presentations on design topics and challenges, Iowa State’s exhibit featured stories about how faculty members, students, and Extension specialists are helping to transform communities. Visitors learned about the visioning program, which has helped 182 small towns integrate technical landscape planning and design with sustainable community action. Visitors also found out how a multidisciplinary design class brings together students, professionals, and low-income residents to develop prototypes for affordable, sustainable housing. Many more examples could be explored, and visitors had the opportunity to use touchscreen workstations where they could try their hands at experimenting with methods used by designers at Iowa State.