Design for the Other 90%: Cities, an exhibition originally launched in 2007, focuses on how participatory design solutions are being used to address the needs of 90 percent of the world’s population that have historically been ignored by the professional design community. The exhibit, which opened at the United Nations in New York in October 2011 and is curated by the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, reveals how the architects, urban planners, designers, and engineers are moving towards more community-based design strategies.
The exhibit particularly focuses on the informal settlements of global south, where urban growth projections indicate the need for an increased focus on the complex needs of these communities. Currently, approximately one billion people live in informal settlements worldwide. This number is expected to double by 2030. By this point, population concentrations will shift from rural villages to cities. As the Cooper-Hewitt website states, “The exhibition will explore the multidisciplinary, overlapping relationships among urban planning and design, education, social entrepreneurship, climate change, sanitation and water, migration, public health and affordable housing in these communities.”
These overlapping relationships are reflected in the exhibited design solutions. Architect Luyanda Mpahlwa’s 10×10 Sandbag House, which costs about $7,000 or 50,000 South African Rand, utilizes indigenous mud and wattle building methods, and fits well with its surroundings. Another impressive solution is the bus rapid-transit system developed in Guangzhou.
Cooper-Hewitt is making its field research accessible through an online open-network database. This will allow the dialogue between stakeholders and designers to continue to develop sustainable solutions to complex problems.
The exhibit will be on display at the United Nations in New York City until January 9, 2012.
Do you think that collaborative design solutions should be the norm? If not, what kinds of contexts necessitate them (if any)?
Credits: Images and documents linked to sources.