Find hope in radical

new ideas

Five leaders in design, health, data, climate, and community show the way forward.

Held in New York City in October 2022, Design Optimism gave architects and interior designers the opportunity to engage deeply with thinkers and doers at the forefront of corporate change, health care, data analysis, climate action, and community design. Get a taste of the ideas they shared in the videos below, and then join us in April for Design Optimism 2023!

Mauro Porcini

Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo

A design visionary, Mauro Porcini’s influence on PepsiCo has been so fundamental that former CEO Indra Nooyi says the company’s history has two stages: “Before Mauro and After Mauro.” At Design Optimism, Porcini will share insights from his new book The Human Side of Innovation: The Power of People in Love with People.

Dr. Bon Ku

Director, Health Design Lab, Thomas Jefferson University

Dr. Bon Ku is an emergency physician, professor, author and host of the Design Lab podcast. He created the first design thinking program at a medical school, co-wrote the book Health Design Thinking with Ellen Lupton, and was a regular panelist on the primetime medical TV show Chasing the Cure with Ann Curry.

Connect with Dr. Bon Ku

Sarah Williams

Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning, MIT

Sarah Williams is Director of the Civic Data Design Lab and the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT. She uses tools of computation and design to drive civic change, by exposing urban policy issues to broad audiences.

Learn more about The Civic Data Design Lab

Joel Cesare

Global Carbon Program Manager, Google

Joel Cesare leads the fight against climate change for Google’s real estate and workplace services division. A trailblazer in sustainable building, he directed the first ever municipal Living Building Challenge project for the City of Santa Monica, considered one of the world's greenest buildings.

Learn more about ZNE Capital

Sloan Leo

Artist & Founder, FLOX Studio

Sloan Leo (they/he) is a Community Design theorist, educator, and practitioner working with nonprofit capacity builders, design institutions, and social impact leaders. They are the founder of FLOX Studio, and recently launched Community Design for Leaders, a learning lab for design practitioners looking to orient their practice towards mutuality and justice.

Learn more about community design

Future Architecture: Designing for the Next Generation

The problems of climate change, public health crises, and social inequity are immense and we are constantly seeking imaginative solutions that change the status quo. What keeps us inspired as architecture and design professionals? Let's discuss ways to amplify innovation, stay motivated, and focus on the ultimate goal—the wellbeing of future generations.

Stronger Together: Design for Collective Action

As architects and designers, we never act alone. Our professional expertise and influence relies on teamwork, connections to our peers, and a large network of vendors, collaborators, clients, and partners. How can we leverage these relationships to drive meaningful change on climate, health, and equity? Let's discuss the best ways to strengthen partnerships and build momentum towards a healthy, just, and sustainable society.


METROPOLIS shows how design shapes the future. Our stories, resources, and events are all intended to help you move architecture and interior design practice forward, towards sustainability, health, and justice.