• Lara Penin

    Associate Professor of Transdisciplinary Design


    Lara Penin is Director of Transdisciplinary Design Graduate (MFA) Program. She is an Associate Professor of Transdisciplinary Design at the School of Design Strategies. She is a co-founder of Parsons DESIS Lab, a multidisciplinary research lab that works at the intersection of strategic and service design, management, and social theory, applied to sustainable practices and social innovation. In her work she seeks to explore the agency of service design to effect positive social change towards sustainability while bridging the gap between the innovation of design pedagogy and practice to equip designers to play a more transformative role, involving both civil society and the public sector. She is the Principal Investigator of the project “Amplifying Creative Communities”. She has been the chair of the Service Design Network Global Conference 2015. She has received numerous grants from organizations including the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the São Paulo Architecture Biennale. Lara is currently writing a book on service design (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2017). Lara holds a PhD in Industrial Design from Milan Polytechnic University and a BA in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of São Paulo.

    Degrees Held:

    PhD, Industrial Design and Multimedia Communication, Milan Polytechnic University.
    Bachelor in Architecture and Urbanism, School of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of São Paulo, Brazil

    Recent Publications:

    Penin L. (forthcoming) An Introduction to Service Design. Bloomsbury Publishing. Expected publishing date Fall 2017.
    Penin, L., Staszowski, E., Brown, S. (2016) “A new generation of transdisciplinary thinkers and practitioners of design-led social innovation”. Design and Culture Journal, Volume 7, Issue 3, 2015. Routledge
    Staszowski, E., Penin, L. , Moon, A. (2015) “Towards a Sustainable Present: Urgency and Agency in Transition Design”. Transition Design Symposium: Provocation and Position Papers, Carnegie Mellon University on March 7, 2015 Available at:
    Penin, L.; Staszowski, E.; Harriss, H. (2015). “Amplify Soundview: reflecting on the use of digital tools for promoting community engagement & stewardship in the development and care of the Soundview Park in New York City”. The Electronic Journal of Communication
    Penin, Lara (2013) “Amplifying innovative sustainable urban behaviors. Defining a design-led approach to social innovation”. Book chapter in Crocker, R., and Lehmann, S. (Eds.) Behaviour Change, Consumption and Sustainable Design. Series: Sustainable Design. Earthscan / Routledge 
    Penin, L., Forlano, L., Staszowski, E. (2013). “Designing in the Wild: Amplifying Creative Communities in North Brooklyn”. Cumulus Working Papers Helsinki-Espoo 28/12. Publication Series G. Aalto University. School of Arts, Design and Architecture 2013.
    Penin, L.; Manix, R. (2012)“Beyond the service journey: How improvisation can enable better services and better service designers” In Touchpoint The Journal of Service Design Vol.4 #2. Service Design Network: Cologne.
    Penin L. (ed) (2012) Parsons DESIS LAB The New School (2013) Amplifying Creative Communities New York City. NYC: Parsons DESIS LAB.
    Penin, L., Tonkinwise, C. (2009). “The Politics and Theatre of Service Design” In proceedings of the conference IASDS (International Association of Societies of Design Research), Seoul, Korea October 2009. Available at:

    Research Interests:

    Design and Social Innovation, Service Design, Sustainable Design, Transdisciplinary Design

    Current Courses:

    Public & Collab Services (Spring 2020)

    Thesis 2 (Spring 2020)