Kansas City, Mo. – May 22, 2024 – Marking a new era in cross-industry collaboration, the nation’s leading professional design organizations, representing a membership base of nearly 200,000 people, united for the first time at the D7 Summit in Kansas City to address critical global challenges in design, climate change, AI, and inclusivity.

“Most people don’t think of designers when considering the challenges posed by today’s rapidly changing climate, ceaseless innovation in the tech space, and the social justice efforts required to make society more inclusive, but design thinking is at the root of nearly all problem solving in these arenas, and beyond. We were honored to help convene this important group of leaders to help align around these critical issues of our time,” said Dawn Taylor, the Executive Director of AIA Kansas City and one of the leading organizers of the summit.

The summit, orchestrated by the Center for Architecture & Design and KC Global Design from April 24-26, brought together leaders from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Planning Association (APA), the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), and the Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD).

“The world is so fast-paced and unpredictable,” says Joel Albizo, CEO of the American Planning Association. “That’s why interdisciplinary design collaboration is an essential component to solving these pressing challenges of our time. The great value of the D7 Summit is that we got to understand each other more deeply and understand how we can make a bigger impact as a collective.”

“Kansas City is at the forefront of global design innovation,” says Ashley McDonald, Managing Director of KC Global Design. The KC region is one of the top five largest concentrations of architecture and engineering employment in the nation, and to world-class training programs in industrial design and graphic design. Hosting the D7 Summit here underscores our region’s leadership and commitment to advancing, and hosting, the design industry.” 

D7 Summit organizers say they plan to hold regular gatherings to dive in further on industry policy in sustainable design, ethical AI standards, and inclusion and equity, with the next D7 Summit scheduled for 2026 in Kansas City.

“During a time when designers are involved in every human project, they remain fundamentally misunderstood, I cannot stress how momentous this event was. It was historic,” said Anne Quito, a world-acclaimed journalist and design critic who served as one of the event’s moderators. “As I think back on the event, I remember the important summits, pacts, and treaties that changed the course of history. This ambition; this possibility, is now on the table for the design industry.”

For more information about the Summit and plans for the 2026 event as they develop, please visit www.d7kc.org.


About KC Global Design

KC Global Design unites over 1,200 firms to position Kansas City as a leader in architecture, engineering, and construction. Learn more at KCglobaldesign.com.

About Center for Architecture & Design

The Center for Architecture & Design engages the community with innovative programs and events, celebrating the impact of good design. Discover more at cfadkc.org.