Building upon the ongoing work of Public & Collaborative, a special issue of The Journal of Design Strategies considers the import of design practices concerned with the production and distribution of public goods. The contributions to this issue emerged from ongoing conversations initiated at the Stephan Weiss Lectures for the 2013–2014 academic year, hosting two public events that encouraged a group of leading practitioners and scholars to reflect on this emergent space and the critical questions being raised within it. Bringing together practitioners, social scientists and design theorists, this issue explores the challenges design must confront in effecting social change in the public realm. In addressing such challenges, the contributing essays explored the questions such practices pose to the relationship between the infrastructure provided by institutions and regulative norms and to emerging forms of commons and community. Edited by Eduardo Staszowski and Scott Brown.