Public Interest Design
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February 24, 2014

Reminder: Student Innovation Award Deadline 2/28


Applications for Design Ignites Change‘s Student Innovation Awards close this Friday, February 28, 2014. Thanks to a generous donation from non-profit Studio Accord, DIC has bumped up the offerings to two $1,000 and four $500 awards, available to students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in art, architecture or design at any accredited college or university worldwide.

The student awards are for project ideas only; plans for implementation are not required. Concepts may range from the pragmatic to the provocative, from the feasible to the fanciful, as long as they address a pressing social need within a community and apply innovation and design thinking to solve a problem.

Click here to apply for Design Ignites Change’s Student Innovation Awards by Friday, online at

February 21, 2014

D-Rev Launches New Website


Our friends at D-Rev have just launched a brand new, visually rich website showcasing the products they are developing for people who live on less than $4 a day. The new site features an “Impact” page with impact assessment statistics for the ReMotion Knee and Brilliance jaundice lamp, including a map of locations where the products have launched that is sure to get colored in as they scale up their efforts.

Social impact drives everything we do at D-Rev. In order to know that we are making the impact we intend, we strive to measure not just the number of products we sell, but how many people actually use and benefit from the product, and how we can do better. Tracking impact isn’t cheap, but it’s essential to keeping us focused on our goals, accountable to our donors and users, and constantly learning how to do better.

Click here to visit the brand new D-Rev website, online at

February 21, 2014

Urban Omnibus: What Is Zoning? with CUP


The Center for Urban Pedagogy started the Envisioning Development series in 2007 to address three difficult and time-consuming issues for community organizers in New York City: affordable housing, zoning, and the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). In a recent Urban Omnibus article, CUP Executive Director Christine Gaspar discussed the core concepts uncovered in the What Is Zoning? toolkit and how it’s been received by organizations across New York City.

The toolkit came about largely in response to the many rezonings passed under the Bloomberg administration. Many people were really confused about what they meant. The series originated in our work with grassroots organizers in low-income communities of color — groups historically underrepresented in City decision-making.

Click here to read “What is Zoning?”, online at

February 20, 2014

NYTimes: “How to Build a Perfect Refugee Camp”


“Many of the world’s displaced live in conditions striking for their wretchedness, but what is startling about Kilis is how little it resembles the refugee camp of our imagination,” writes journalist Mac McClelland in the recent New York Times article, “How to Build a Perfect Refugee Camp.” This comprehensive and thought-provoking article investigates the Syrian refugee encampments popping up along the Turkey-Syria border. Beyond the aesthetics and facilities–including fully functioning grocery stores, immaculate ‘sidewalks,’ gleaming white trailers, and hair salons, to name a few–McClelland provides a look into the Turkish government’s stake in running the encampments without NGO support, along with the societal implications of refugee life. Peppered with personal accounts and insight, this is one article on refugees that you don’t want to miss.

On April 29, 2011, 263 Syrians crossed into Turkey, fleeing civil war at home. Within 24 hours, the Turkish government set up an emergency tent camp for them in southern Hatay Province. In less than three years, it was operating 22 camps serving 210,000 refugees, mostly in provinces along its roughly 500-mile-long border with Syria. Kilis, opened in 2012, was one of six container camps meant to offer a better standard of shelter to incoming refugees. When I visited last October, the camp was full, and a group of squatters outside waited for placement.

Click here to read “How to Build a Perfect Refugee Camp,” online at

Image source: Tobias Hutzler for The New York Times

February 20, 2014

MASS Launches “Beyond the Building” for 2014

MASS Design Group is taking their outstanding work to a new level through the launch of a new media channel focused on a yearly theme. For 2014, “Beyond the Building” will include a series of topical vignettes released throughout the year along with a dedicated blog, “This Week @ MASS,” to provide a better view into what goes on week-to-week on project sites. By uncovering the design and construction process through videos and personal accounts of their transformational projects, MASS is unlocking transparency into the profession of public interest design. To kick off the 2014 theme, MASS extended family and partners have sent in responses to “What Beyond the Building Means to You”, a few of which include:

“Architecture is…beyond a roof over your head, beyond a hole in the wall, it’s dignity, pride, and it facilitates change.” – Sarah Mohland

“For me, beyond the building refers to the educational value that architecture provides through the insight of past, present, and future experiences.” – Kyle Digby

“Beyond the Building profoundly contextualizes the work of architecture, and forces architects to ask with humility, but perhaps not answer, is our work doing good?” - Chris Scovel

Click here to visit “This Week @ MASS”, online at

February 20, 2014

Reminder: Holcim Awards Registration Closes 3/24


Registration for the 4th Annual International Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction closes in 32 days on March 24, 2014. As we covered back in October, the awards, totaling a generous $2 million, provide a whole host of opportunities for projects in “architecture, building and civil engineering, landscape and urban design, materials, products and construction technologies.” The five target issues are broken down into: Innovation and transferability (Progress); Ethical standards and social equity (People); Environmental quality and resource efficiency (Planet); Economic performance and compatibility (Prosperity); and Contextual and aesthetic impact (Proficiency). Along with these 5 target issues, there are two categories available to professionals and students:

The Holcim Awards (main category) is open to architects, planners, engineers, project owners, builders and construction firms that showcase sustainable responses to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues affective contemporary building and construction. The Holcim Awards also seeks the visions and bold ideas for the “Next Generation” (young professional/student) for submissions of young professionals and university students where all project authors are no older than 30 years of age.

Click here to read more and apply to the 4th Annual Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction, online at

February 19, 2014

Nominate a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow

The nomination period for PopTech’s Sixth Annual Social Innovation Fellowship is open now until April 1, 2014. Each year PopTech selects 10 to 12 “high potential change agents from around the world who are working on highly disruptive innovations in areas like energy, livelihood, healthcare, environment, performing arts, education, and civic engagement.” Previous fellows include D-Rev’s Krista Donaldson, MASS Design Group’s Michael Murphy, Project H’s Emily Pilloton, Catapult Design’s Heather Flemming, and Ecovative Design’s Eben Bayer, along with a myriad of diverse innovators. This year from October 12-22, 2014, fellows will participate in an all-expenses-paid intensive program, along with attending the PopTech Conference from October 23-25, 2014, in Camden, Maine.

Around the world, visionary change agents are hard at work incubating new approaches to the planet’s toughest challenges. Yet they’re often doing so without taking advantage of the latest tools and thinking in technology, communications and innovation – or a network of experts, peers, and supporters who can help them truly change the world. The PopTech Social Innovation Fellows program is designed to help fill that gap – to equip world-changing innovators with the tools, insights, visibility and social network that can help them scale their impacts to new heights.

Click here to read more and nominate a change agent, online at

February 18, 2014

Catapult Design Announce Change Labs in March

Change Labs

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Catapult Design has partnered with the Grand Canyon Trust and University of New Mexico-Gallup to host a one-day entrepreneurship and innovation event to address the 60% unemployment rate on the Navajo Nation. Both professionals and students are invited to stunning Shiprock, New Mexico, to participate in Change Labs on Friday, March 28, 2014, for a day full of presentations, workshops, and “Community Deep Dives.” For attendees who can make it a day early, there is an opportunity to get a more in depth look into “A Day in the Life of a Roadside Vendor” to prepare for the main event. Registration is now open.

With an unemployment rate reportedly as high as 60%, the Navajo Nation was deemed the last frontier for entrepreneurship by The Economist in 2008. Despite a skilled and ready workforce, a wealth of business opportunities, many new businesses fail to register or sustain. At Change Labs we’ll explore how we can overcome these barriers, new ways entrepreneurs are tackling these challenges in similar environments around the globe, and connect promising entrepreneurs with the mentors and resources they need to succeed.

Click here to read more and register to attend Change Labs, online at

February 18, 2014

“Bridging the Gaps in Public Infrastructure”


The team behind the forthcoming GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center took to the pages of Stanford Social Innovation Review in “Bridging the Gaps in Public Infrastructure.” GHESKIO founder and executive director Dr. Jean William Pape and MASS founders Michael Murphy and Alan Ricks asserted the need for a systems-based approach to water, sanitation, and health services rather than solely relying on piecemeal interventions. Citing the efforts of Les Centres GHESKIO in Haiti that go beyond just health services, they make a strong case for an approach that communities around the world can adopt.

Controlling diarrheal diseases in countries like Haiti is not a matter of which service to improve—water, sanitation, or health—but how to integrate these public goods with education and economic opportunities to control disease and improve lives… Expansion of these types of partnerships, and more localized and focused research within communities is vital to successfully delivering lasting public amenities.

Click here to read “Bridging the Gaps in Public Infrastructure,” online at

Image source: John W. Poole/NPR

February 18, 2014 & UK DFID Launch Amplify Program

“Five Years. Ten Challenges. Designing a Better World, Together.” reads the latest announcement of the Amplify program by human-centered design nonprofit With support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), has introduced the first global challenge “How might we make low-income urban areas safer and more empowering for women and girls?” on the OpenIDEO platform. Over the course of three months, participants are encouraged to interact online and offline throughout the phases of research, ideation, applause, refinement, and evaluation. At the end of three months, the most promising ideas will be shortlisted and provided with seed funding and design support from

The Amplify program is a series of ten innovation challenges over five years. Using both online and offline collaboration tools, we’re out to find and support the most innovative new and existing solutions to some of the world’s most pressing development issues.

Click here to read more about Amplify on, and click here to take part in the first challenge on

Autodesk Foundation is an evolving resource of the Autodesk Foundation, a first-of-its-kind foundation focused on design for a better world.



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