Social Agency Lab

Social Agency Lab was founded in 2011 out of a desire to place social agency at the forefront of designing urban space, and to creatively bring together multiple design disciplines including urban design, service design, program design, architecture, and policymaking in one group that can flexibly engage urban planning in design discourse. SAL has worked with city governments and neighborhood groups in Austin, St. Louis, Boston, Mexico City, and Salt Lake City.

The process of design is critical to the ability of a space to serve all users’ needs. The design process should be inclusive and empowering to all intended and unintended users of the space in order to meet the needs of all potential end users. We engage users in all phases of the design process, including data collection and analysis, synthesis, alternative design development, and production. We view good design as inherently enabling.

Urban design is a social process with a spatial outcome, while its implementation is a spatial process with a social outcome. Design should reflect diverse peoples and support richer, more unique urban spaces. We design for a multiplicity of identities, histories, and experiences.

Urban design is perceived socially. We ensure that public spaces and programs cater to a diverse set of preferences and circumstances (including time, culture, values, etc). Space should be flexible.