Design Week Celebrates Problem-Solving, World-Changing Minds


Design Week Celebrates Problem-Solving, World-Changing Minds

By Leah Boltz, Principal

“Anchorage Design Week is an annual gathering of creative minds to promote and provoke design and imagine the future of our city and the North.”

It’s Design Week in Anchorage, a time when design professionals, community builders, lovers of design, and those who support design communities come together to explore trends and innovations from Alaska and around the world.

What I love about Design Week is that it’s not just architects and artists sharing ideas inside an echo chamber. It is a chance for the entire design community to think differently about the world, how we exist together, and how we can use a creative, design mindset to make our shared planet a better place.

Design Week is an opportunity for individuals, businesses, community organizations, elected officials, and public servants to celebrate what design means in Alaska. To observe the past and present and push the boundaries of what our future communities could be. To meet and collaborate with new people who have different perspectives and who will challenge us to take actions that improve the lives of Alaskans. This year Design Week’s focus is on connecting people and place, celebrating our winter city, and deepening our connection to nature and one another. 

Does design matter? A resounding YES! Design firms solve problems for people—whether in the built environment or in a broader sense. Many designers have told me they aim to change the world through their craft and profession. Balancing science with art, the best design firms today are agile and responsive, asking their clients questions about values, pain points, vision, and barriers. They’re working to remove those barriers and incorporate organizational values through good design.

As we emerge from a global pandemic into an era of rapid change and uncertainty in our environments and society, design matters now more than ever. Most of us have heard conversations about how the need to create resilient communities and be resilient as a civilization are critical to helping people survive and thrive in the future.

In Alaska especially, being resilient is a necessary part of life. Being resourceful and responding to our environment are in our DNA. Design has been at the heart of fostering this resilience and solving some of the greatest challenges and creating the biggest opportunities we’ve experienced over the years. Our state’s design professionals have and continue to apply what they know best to building resilient, beautiful, vibrant, inclusive communities.

Design is everywhere and in every aspect of our lives. Those of us who are not design professionals can learn much from those who are. While Design Week is a gathering of these problem-solving, world-changing minds, it is also a chance for every one of us to participate in positively shaping Alaska’s communities. I invite you to join me in that journey this week.

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