Co-Designing the Future with Public Interest Technology

Roba Abbas, Salah Hamdoun, Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh, Netra Chhetri, Nalini Chhetri, Katina Michael

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This special issue is dedicated to the theme of public interest technology (PIT) [1]. PIT acknowledges that technological potential can be harnessed to satisfy the needs of civil society. In other words, technology can be seen as a public good that can benefit all, through an open democratic system of governance, with open data initiatives, open technologies, and open systems/ecosystems designed for the collective good, as defined by respective communities that will be utilizing them. Just like in the established field of public interest law (PIL) [2], [3] and public interest journalism (PIJ) [4], we can consider potential fields around the idea of PIT [5], [6], such as public interest co-design (PITco), even public interest engagement (PITengage) or public interest consulting (PIC). For decades, public interest engineers (PIEs) have volunteered their time to collaborate in meaningful participative engagements. These engineers have self-organized some impressive collectives including Engineers Without Borders, ASCE Disaster Assistance Volunteer Program, Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group, Architecture for Humanity, Bridges to Prosperity, Bridging the Gap Africa, Engineers for a Sustainable World, GISCorps, Habitat for Humanity, National Engineering Projects in Community Service, just to name a few. These collectives and initiatives call attention to the primary role of a PIT practitioner. That is, the importance of PIT practitioners serving as transdisciplinary intermediaries between the community and the STEM disciplines and technical teams, emphasizing the importance of justice, equity, and inclusion in the design and deployment of new technologies [7] that allow for positive social transformation and empowerment [8].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9527341
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Technology and Society Magazine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Co-Designing the Future with Public Interest Technology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this