We don’t just dream of the future, we enable it

The College of Design’s students, faculty, and staff are constantly learning and exploring new techniques and systems within design industries. We are committed to making the world a better place, and our research is vital to finding solutions to societal and environmental challenges. Numerous independent and group research activities take place every day in a wide range of disciplines.

Signature Research Areas

The College of Design is dedicated to creating innovative solutions that address society’s challenges. Through collaboration and diverse perspectives, our faculty, staff, and students explore various research areas focused on preserving heritage, promoting sustainability, enhancing health and wellness, fostering creativity, integrating technology, advancing education, and engaging with communities.

Keywords: equity, social ecological systems, extension, participatory design, environmental justice, community participation, urbanization, disaster/trauma, housing and housing assessment, aging in place, community development and outreach, community-based design initiatives, shrink smart, land disputes, economic development, gentrification, ethics, geopolitics, memory, community outreach, community attachment, placemaking, community art advocacy, neighborhoods, wayfinding, active listening, assessment, strategic planning, recreation tourism, local governance, land use, land regulation, comprehensive planning, community collaborations, group processes, regional planning and collaboration, regional governance.

Keywords: field teaching, experimental teaching, learning labs, pedagogy in inclusive environments, community building in teaching, holistic art education, visual thinking, design thinking, creativity, the scholarship of learning and teaching, risk taking pedagogy, participatory design, community art advocacy, art education, evidence based, assessment.

Keywords: wellness and care-centered design, aging in place, neurodiversity design, culture of care, human-centric design, thermal comfort, daylighting, indoor air quality, trauma-informed design, design that promotes resilience.

Keywords: human centered design, sound design, tangible computing, data visualization, sonification, live performance, immersive experience, projection mapping, AR/MR/XR, generative design, parametric modeling, building information modeling, Internet of Things, computer simulations, building structural design, building systems, building physics.

Keywords: historic preservation, art and architectural history, cultural resource management, parks, rural culture, memory, visual culture, symbology, ideology.

Keywords: digital fabrication, analog fabrication, mixed media, experimental structures, site art, community art, fabrication, installations, material science, live performance, aesthetics, scientific illustration, botanical illustration, entomological Illustration, workflows.

Keywords: energy consumption, renewable energy, carbon footprint, trails/greenways, urban ecology, climate change, resilient environments, conservation, ecological design, urban revitalization, urban climate and micro- climates, rural land use, green infrastructure, shrink smart, carbon footprint, gardens, environmental justice, gentrification, social justice design, transportation, placemaking, quality of life/community vitality indicators, wayfinding, regionalism, building technology, recreation tourism.

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    Iowa Innovative Housing Project

    The 3D Affordable Innovative Technologies Housing Project aims to address the shortage of affordable housing in Iowa by exploring faster, more cost-effective solutions through the use of 3D-printed homes.

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    Creating an automated heat warning system

    This project harnesses innovative machine learning technology to improve preparedness for extreme heat. The research team aims to gather data and develop an automated heat warning system for susceptible Des Moines neighborhoods.

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    Rural Shrink Smart Project

    This groundbreaking research project at Iowa State looks into why some rural Iowa towns are thriving, even as their populations shrink. The team hopes that this research and its findings provoke data-driven, honest conversations in small towns in Iowa and throughout the Midwest.

College of Design student researching.

A Cyclone in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.