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Design Problems

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 1 month ago

Design Problems



The Crofton Pulp Mill spews poison into water and air as it chews up ancient forests. The wasp nest may suggest an alternative way to design for pulp production.



Can we see hunger as a design problem? There is no scarcity of food on this planet, but rather an economic design that prevents food from being distributed to all. Can we see pollution as a design problem? The design of our homes, our communities, our manufacturing processes, our legal system, are all implicated in the construction of environmental problems. "Design problems" is a concept that foregrounds human agency and allows optimism. Employing creativity and a willingness to learn from natural systems, we can redesign our world.


David Orr writes, "Frank Lloyd Wright once commented that he could design a house that would cause a married couple to divorce within a matter of weeks. By the same logic it is possible to create buildings and cities so badly as to cause a culture to disintegrate socially and come unhinged from nature." http://www.designshare.com/Research/Orr/Loving_Children.htm


William McDonough is a celebrated architect, designer, and author with M. Braungart of Cradle to Cradle, a book which argues that "the conflict between industry and the environment is not an indictment of commerce but an outgrowth of purely opportunistic design. The design of products and manufacturing systems growing out of the Industrial Revolution reflected the spirit of the day-and yielded a host of unintended yet tragic consequences. Today, with our growing knowledge of the living earth, design can reflect a new spirit. In fact, the authors write, when designers employ the intelligence of natural systems—the effectiveness of nutrient cycling, the abundance of the sun's energy—they can create products, industrial systems, buildings, even regional plans that allow nature and commerce to fruitfully co-exist." McDonough has applied these principles to redesign large-scale manufacturing processes so that they do no harm to the environment. "While this may seem like heresy to many in the world of sustainable development, the destructive qualities of today’s cradle-to-grave industrial system can be seen as the result of a fundamental design problem, not the inevitable outcome of consumption and economic activity. Indeed, good design—principled design based on the laws of nature—can transform the making and consumption of things into a regenerative force." http://www.mcdonough.com


Massive Change: The Future of Global Design is a project by Bruce Mau Design and the Institute Without Boundaries, organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery. Their premise is that "design has emerged as one of the world's most powerful forces. It has placed us at the beginning of an new period of human possibility, where all economies and ecologies are becoming global, relational, and interconnected." http://www.massivechange.com/ : "No longer associated simply with objects and appearances, design is increasingly understood in a much wider sense as the human capacity to plan and produce desired outcomes...Design ...has placed us at the beginning of a new, unprecedented period of human possibility, where all economies and ecologies are becoming global, relational, and interconnected."


Napkin sketch by Bruce Mau that began the Massive Change Project from http://www.massivechange.com/whatisMC_02.html


Aerogel, the world's lightest solid, is 99.9% air. Courtesy: NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Design for the Other 90%...

an exhibition at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum


“The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”

—Dr. Paul Polak, International Development Enterprises


"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. And an increasing number of initiatives are providing solutions for underserved populations in developed countries such as the United States."


Portable Light pieces are created by women weavers in the San Andreas region of the Sierra Madre, Mexico, who are weaving the portable light technology into textiles using traditional back-strap looms and sewing techniques. Portable Light combines high-brightness LEDs from pedestrian walk signals, water-resistant tactile switches from dishwashers, and rechargeable batteries from the cell-phone industry, all sourced from consumer appliances and standard technologies. A portable, personalized system, the units can be carried with their owners to provide access to light and power when needed. The Huichol shape the light to their particular needs, using the textile surfaces to provide direct, reflected, or diffuse lighting, as needed for cottage-based industries such as community tortillerías, sandal making, repair work, weaving, and beading.

See http://www.peoplesdesignaward.org/design_for_the_other_90/

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