Why You Need to Define Your “Other 90%”

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It was a muggy summer day in New York City. After traversing through the meandering paths in Central Park, I quickly crossed the bustling Museum Mile to enter Cooper Hewitt’s smaller but equally green garden exhibit on “Design for the Other 90%.” With roots in a rural, agricultural-centered California town, the Day Labor Station caught my attention immediately. Architecturally it was beautiful and well designed. The intricate construction details, solar panel roof, and integrated toilet made for a completely off-the-grid design that any architect would be proud of. Then I noticed the bright blue Q Drum for transporting water and then the small LifeStraw to purify water. I was captivated by these products and structures that were addressing things I take for granted.Continue Reading

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Friday Fiver: Privilege, LEGOs, Storytelling, a Drinkable Book, and Creativity

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If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably seen the many things I find and share throughout the week. There is an immense amount of content I consume each day (which–oddly enough–I am competing against as a blogger) and through all the sifting, sorting, clicking, browsing, and closing, there usually emerges profound, inspiring, and must-share content.

Channeling the short-post style on PublicInterestDesign.org, below are my top five from this week that I think are worthy of your time. Think of it as: if you missed it on Twitter, I hope you click-through here to read or watch.Continue Reading

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3 Launching Points into Social Impact Design

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Over the past two months, I’ve been fortunate to attend three conferences on humanitarian and social impact design, each in relatively different locations around the world—Glasgow, Paris, and New Orleans. Each one has brought a slightly different perspective to the evolving field of design for impact, from practitioners focused on learning by doing, to in-depth conversations on moving practice and projects forward, to providing an intensive, 5-day ‘school’ experience. One commonality between each of these events was the large amount of young designers eager to use their skills for good, who were all asking the same question: how do you begin?

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What If The Hunter-Gatherers Had It Right?

Itaipu Dam

Imagine it is 2114 and you are an astronaut–or even a resident–on the moon, floating a few feet above the dusty, gray surface. With a pair of ultra-powered Google Glasses you zoom in on areas of the Earth to voyeuristically observe human beings What are they doing? How do their homes look? What are they eating? How are communities assembled? What present-day inequities have evaporated?Continue Reading

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Building Dignity in War-Torn Sudan: Part 4

This is the  final post of a four-part installment of my article on Studio TAMassociati and their Pediatric Center in Port Sudan for the new PUBLIC Journal, the first publication dedicated solely to public interest design and architecture. Read the first part on the studio here, the second part on the design of the building here, and the third part on the systems design here.

In the final part, tamassociati shares what’s up next for the studio in the years ahead.

A FUTURE WITH LOW COST, HIGH VALUE DESIGN

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Since the completion of the Pediatric Center, tamassociati’s methodologies and projects are receiving increased recognition among the international design community, most recently being bestowed with an Aga Khan Award for Architecture and a Curry Stone Design Prize in 2013. With the award prize money, the studio, which operates as a “research team,” is focusing their efforts for 2014 around the theme “Low Cost, High Value.”Continue Reading

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