Traction is a design activism, research, and education non-profit organization based in Seattle, Peru, and Nepal.


We focus on the design, implementation, and assessment of community-driven interventions in the built environment and place particular emphasis on the integrated, interdisciplinary design of distributed infrastructure and public space.


Traction aims to improve human and environmental health and well-being, to build the capacity of designers and other professionals to work effectively with marginalized urban communities, and to gather evidence that informs best practices in these contexts.


1) Foster close collaboration with poor urban communities through participatory processes that privilege local knowledge, resources and capacities and empower community members as the drivers of change. 

2) Promote long-term relationships and a multi-scaled approach to community design that integrates small scale interventions and adaptable planning. 

3) Encourage ecologically intelligent, distributed infrastructure strategies that improve quality of life without externalizing environmental burdens. 

4) Favor integrated, multifunctional solutions that engage culturally contingent aesthetics and enhance the public realm. 

5) Monitor and evaluate project evolution over many years to gain a better understanding of project impacts.