Candy Chang is an artist and designer who likes to make cities more comfortable for people. She’s passionate about exploring ways we can share information in public space to improve our neighborhoods and our personal well-being. Her background in design, street art, and urban planning have informed many of her projects, which redefine the ways public space can be used to spark dialogue and engage citizens with their cities and with one another. Recent public art projects include a blighted house in New Orleans turned into an interactive wall of dreams, an abandoned high-rise in Fairbanks turned into an emotional beacon for memories and hopes, an underpass in Turku to reflect on career choices, stickers that help residents voice what businesses they want in vacant storefronts, and an online tool that helps people influence the development of their neighborhoods. The Atlantic called her Before I Die public art project “merely one of the most creative community projects ever.”
She is a 2011-2013 TED Senior Fellow, 2011 Urban Innovation Fellow, and a 2009 TED Global Fellow. She is the co-founder of Civic Center, a civic design studio that makes tools to help people navigate and shape their cities. She received a BS in Architecture, a BFA in Graphic Design, and a Masters in Urban Planning from Columbia University. She has worked with communities in New York City, Nairobi, New Orleans, Johannesburg, Vancouver, Turku, Almaty, and Fairbanks on projects about street vendors’ rights, metropolitan planning, housing costs, tree planting, criminal justice, drug rehabilitation, career choices, personal aspirations, and downtown revitalization. She has also worked as an art director at The New York Times and a design researcher at Nokia. Her guide for NYC street vendors was included in the National Design Triennial, and she has created public art commissions for Turku European Capital of Culture and The Alaska Design Forum. She speaks internationally and has been featured in publications including Oprah Magazine, Fast Company, and The Atlantic.
Her parents immigrated from Taiwan to the U.S. and she grew up in the cornfields of Ohio and beyond. After years in NYC and Helsinki, she now lives in New Orleans, where she’s loving porches, palm trees, and ceiling fans while working on projects, big and small. She believes that one of the greatest things in life is spending time in public places with the people you love. She also believes that the design of these spaces can better reflect what’s important to us as a community and as individuals.