2018

Allison Aeriff

Editorial Director, Writer, Design Observer

Allison Arieff is a contributing columnist to The New York Times and is Editorial Director of the urban planning think tank, SPUR. Allison writes about architecture, design and cities for numerous publications including The California Sunday Magazine, the MIT Technology Review, Wired, Dialogue and CityLab. She is a former editor-at-large for GOOD and Sunset magazines and from 2006–2008, was senior content lead for the global design and innovation firm IDEO. She was the editor-in-chief of Dwell (and was the magazine’s founding senior editor) until 2006; Dwell won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2005 under her tenure. In 2003, she created the Dwell Home Design Invitational, an international competition to design a modern, affordable prefab home, which led to the launch of the Dwell Homes brand. Allison is the author of the books Prefab and Trailer Travel: A Visual History of Mobile America and has contributed to and/or edited numerous books on architecture, design and sustainability including The Future of Public Space, Airstream: The History of the Land Yacht, Hatch Show Print: History of a Great American Poster Shop, Block by Block: Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York and Urban Farms. She lectures and consults regularly on design and media and has been featured on NPR, KQED Forum, the Diane Rehm Show, the Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas for a Small Planet, HGTV and CNN Money, among others. Allison got her start in publishing with stints at Random House, Oxford University Press and Chronicle Books. She has a BA in history, an MA in art history and completed her PhD coursework in American studies at New York University. She lives in San Francisco.

Where I'll Be

2018 | October 25 Solving on the Wrong Problems

Solving on the Wrong Problems

2018 | October 25 | Tower Theatre

Every day, innovative companies promise to make the world a better place. Are they succeeding? We are overloaded daily with new discoveries, patents and inventions all promising a better life, but that better life has not been forthcoming for most. When everything is characterized as “world-changing,” is anything? If the most fundamental definition of design is to solve problems, why are so many people devoting so much energy to solving problems that don’t really exist? How can we get more people to look beyond their own lived experience?