Challenging assumptions about how we live on the earth and protect our environment.
18 June 2007
Innovation: Design for the Other 90 Percent
I'm looking forward to getting to New York to see the Cooper-Hewitt's "Design for the Other 90%" show, which runs through September 2007. The show features many of the design solutions, such as the Life Straw and others, that we've featured in the past in The Green Skeptic.
The brainchild of curator Cynthia E. Smith, Design for the Other 90% opened in May and will close on 23 September.
Here are some excerpts from the exhibition web site:
Of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion, 5.8 billion people, or 90%, have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted...Design for the Other 90% explores a growing movement among designers to design low-cost solutions for this “other 90%.”
...Designers, engineers, students and professors, architects, and social entrepreneurs from all over the globe are devising cost-effective ways to increase access to food and water, energy, education, healthcare, revenue-generating activities, and affordable transportation for those who most need them...
...More recently, designers are working directly with end users of their products, emphasizing co-creation to respond to their needs. Many of these projects employ market principles for income generation as a way out of poverty. Poor rural farmers become micro-entrepreneurs, while cottage industries emerge in more urban areas...
Some designs are patented to control the quality of their important breakthroughs, while others are open source in nature to allow for easier dissemination and adaptation, locally and internationally.
Encompassing a broad set of modern social and economic concerns, these design innovations often support responsible, sustainable economic policy. They help, rather than exploit, poorer economies; minimize environmental impact; increase social inclusion; improve healthcare at all levels; and advance the quality and accessibility of education.
...Design for the Other 90% demonstrates how design can be a dynamic force in saving and transforming lives, at home and around the world.
For more information, visit the Cooper-Hewitt web site: Design
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What a great exhibit, and a call to arms for designers everywhere to think beyond the 10% of people we usually serve.
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