Traffic on State Route 163. Photo credit: Alexander Nguyen

The UC San Diego Design Lab has launched a city-wide civic design challenge called “Design for San Diego,” or D4SD for short, that seeks to harness the power of crowdsourcing to address transportation and mobility concerns in San Diego.

The goal of the initiative is to get the public involved in designing solutions to the city’s biggest transportation issues.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla are slated to kick off the design challenge Sept. 21 at Downtown Works.

The D4SD challenge will take place through a series of in-person events and a digital public platform, where participants can network with other innovators interested in improving the city around the central question of “How do we create a San Diego where we all move freely?”

Steven Dow, assistant professor of cognitive science at UC San Diego who is directing D4SD as part of the Qualcomm Institute-based Design Lab, said the challenge is focused on four related areas:

Enhancing the commuter experience
Promoting walkable and bike-able communities
Improving accessibility
Preparing for a future with autonomous vehicles

The challenge is presented by the UCSD Design Lab in partnership with SCALE SD and the Design Forward Alliance, with support from the City of San Diego.

The official challenge begins Sept. 22, with a design sprint and hackathon, also at Downtown Works, for participants to generate ideas, form teams and rapidly prototype a concept.

Teams that enter the challenge will showcase their solutions Oct. 25-26 at the Design Forward 2017 Summit in Liberty Station.

The best solutions will earn prizes and private one-on-one meetings with startup investors.

To learn more about the challenge and to register, as well as for event details, visit