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
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?