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bcWORSKHOP Releases ‘Out of Deepwood’ Film

A new short documentary film–released free online–reveals “the cold shoulder the city of Dallas gave to the black neighborhood next to the notorious Deepwood Dump, the largest illegal landfill in the state of Texas.” Produced by design non-profit buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, OUT OF DEEPWOOD follows the neighbors of the Deepwood Dump who, after 25 years of protesting, sued the city in a landmark case. The film is an example of the impact design can have on terrible situations while simultaneously bringing attention to this not-so-distant history. The film’s director, Craig Weflen, says,

“This story is a prime example of what can happen when a neighborhood isn’t given the attention it needs, and how difficult it is for some neighborhoods to get this attention. The Deepwood neighbors protested for 25 years, but nothing changed until the courts got involved. As citizens, we cannot stand idly by with the attitude ‘it’s not in my neighborhood.’ We need to care about justice and equity throughout our city.”

Click here to watch OUT OF DEEPWOOD, online at Vimeo.com.

Redefining Home Design Challenge Launches

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In an effort to ensure that “every American lives in a safe, nurturing environment with access to education, healthcare, public spaces and community services,” the Home Matters initiative is inviting multidisciplinary teams to respond to the Design Challenge on affordable housing. Design submissions should go beyond housing and “animate the connections between housing and other important social factors of community life” including health, education, individual success, public safety, and economics. A total of $18,000 will be awarded to three final projects. Registration for the Design Challenge opens December 2nd and submissions are due May 1st, 2015.

The challenge is part of a larger, ten-year initiative between eleven design organizations–AIA Austin, AIA Chicago, AIA Los Angeles, AIA New Orleans, American Architecture Foundation, Autodesk Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners, Public Architecture, SPUR, and Urban Land Institute.

Click here to learn more and submit your interest, online at HomeMattersAmerica.com.

Unexpect Hosts Kids’ Global Design-a-Thon

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Dutch design agency Unexpect recently hosted a Global Design-a-Thon for kids in five cities–Amsterdam, Dublin, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi and Berlin. The one-day event took place on November 15th with 150 children designing solutions to improve food, waste, mobility, and play in their hometowns. Covered in FastCoExist, Unexpect launched the event to teach kids how to use creativity and design with new technologies–essentially “design thinking adapted for children.” Unexpect founder Emer Beamer explained the concept for the event:

“A big impetus for the project is the way children learn or don’t learn. Often schools are teaching kids things they might never need to know again, and we’re not teaching them how to be creative, or design, or how to hack new technologies or deal with unexpected situations. A lot of people are aware that we really need to change education, but they don’t know how. This is one method that could inspire people.”

Click here to learn more about Unexpect’s Global Design-a-Thon, online at GlobalDesignAThon.com.

Tipping Point Announce 9 T Lab Fellows

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Bay Area funding organization Tipping Point Community recently announced nine fellows who will be joining the 2014-2015 T Lab cohort. Bringing experience in public health, government, arts, education and more, the fellows will collaborate on three poverty-related issues in the Bay Area: child care, pre-k education, and prisoner re-entry. During the year-long fellowship, solutions will be designed, tested, and iterated on with community members. T Lab has a great blog that shares the 2013-2014 learnings and more on each fellow.

So many organizations in the philanthropic sector have their hearts in the right place, but when it comes to fighting poverty, good intentions aren’t enough. Low-income families deserve access to the most effective services that can help them break the cycle of poverty for good, and donors deserve a return on their philanthropic investments… the groups we fund deserve a new and improved funding model, one that respects their expertise and meets their needs. We count on our groups to tell us what’s working and, more importantly, what isn’t working, not only at their organizations, but throughout the sector. Our community deserves new solutions to longstanding issues of poverty.

Click here to read more about the 2014-2015 T Lab cohort, online at TippingPoint.org.

PUBLIC Journal Releases Third Issue

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Our friends and collaborators at PUBLIC Journal have just released the third issue of the beautifully-designed quarterly publication. The latest edition features articles on resiliency, including an expert analysis of the Rebuild by Design competition, an interview with D-Rev‘s Krista Donaldson, and an in-depth look at Norwegian firm TYIN tegnestue. If you have yet to subscribe, the PUBLIC team has recently teamed up with the AIA and AIAS to offer members free digital subscriptions.

PUBLIC Journal provides an unprecedented platform for the expanding Public Interest Design movement; where the world of architecture intersects the voices of activism, exposing a determination to provide good design for those that need it most, but most often do not get it. PUBLIC is put together by an impassioned group of humanitarians in the fields of architecture, environmental design, and public policy change who are actively working to provide built projects to disadvantaged communities throughout the globe.

Click here to read snapshots of PUBLIC and subscribe, online at ThisIsPublicJournal.com.

BUILD Health Challenge Call for Applicants

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The BUILD Health Challenge–a collaboration between The Advisory Board Company, de Beaumont Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation–is a new national award program aimed at supporting projects that are improving community health and equity. With $7.5 million in grants, loans and investments allocated, BUILD Health is offering two types of awards: planning and implementation. They are seeking multidisciplinary teams addressing health challenges in cities with populations greater than 150,000. The first round of applications are due January 16, 2015.

BUILD Health will award up to $7.5 million in grants, low-interest loans, and program-related investments over two years. Awards will support up to 14 community-driven efforts addressing health-shaping factors that individuals can’t control – such as neighborhood safety, so kids can go out and play, or whether there’s a grocery store in the area, so residents have the opportunity to buy healthy food.

Click here to learn more and apply to the BUILD Health Challenge, online at BUILDHealthChallenge.org.

Profile: GA Collaborative

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Reminiscent of our founding editor John Cary’s statement, nonprofit design group GA Collaborative is driven by the belief “all have the right to good design.” Working in a variety of scales and programs in Albania, Bangladesh, Burundi, Haiti, Rwanda, Sudan, and the U.S., the collaborative focuses on three areas of social impact: research, design and education. Since 2008, the four partners–Yutaka Sho, James Setzler, Zaneta Hong, and Michael Leighton Beaman–have worked on projects such as developing accessibility guidelines with the UN, designing accessible and responsible housing with individual families, and evaluating corporate programs in local communities. Tapping into a variety of design expertises, GA is creating a unique portfolio of projects in response to the locale within which they work.

At the core of this mission is a belief in the importance of research and craft in the design process and the value of sharing of that knowledge and experience with others. Founded in 2008, GA Collaborative is a non-profit collaborative group of designers, practitioners, and educators with expertise in architectural design, landscape design, industrial design, and the visual arts. We work with partners on projects that can have an intelligent and sustained impact on communities, and the individuals most in need of productive spaces and design foresight.

Click here to learn more about GA Collaborative, online at GACollaborative.org.

Call for Submissions to D-Prize

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“The world has solutions to poverty. Can you distribute them to those in need?” challenges the D-Prize, a competition to design a distribution-based social enterprise. The accelerator program will award 5-15 social entrepreneurs $20,000 to launch a pilot tackling one of the four issues facing people living in poverty: Girls Education, Energy, Governance and Infrastructure, and Global Health. Previous winners include solar lamp and cookstove distributor LiTeAfrica, mobile savings startup Pulse, and HIV education organization Young 1ove. To participate in the 2015 cycle, submit resumes and two-page concepts by December 30th.

D-Prize is dedicated toward expanding access to poverty-alleviation solutions in the developing world. Many solutions to poverty already exist; the challenge is distributing these solutions to the people who need it most. We tackle this by challenging social entrepreneurs to develop better ways to distribute proven life-enhancing technologies, and funding early-stage startups that deliver the best results.

Click here to learn more and apply to D-Prize, online at D-Prize.org.

New Book on Participation in Architecture

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Known for participatory design strategies in education and housing developments, German architecture practice Die Baupiloten just released a book sharing their methods and projects in Architecture is Participation. Driven by both social and ecological agendas, Die Baupiloten employ myriad methods with a keen focus on the knowledge of the users to understand how spaces are utilized and experienced. The 48-page excerpt provides a quick snapshot into the four areas they organize participatory strategies: Atmospheres, Users’ Everyday Life, Wunschforschung (Narrative/Storytelling), and Feedback. Available in both English and German, the 256-page book is currently available from Jovis and the RIBA Bookshop and is due out soon on Amazon.

In our society there is an increasing demand for participation in shaping our built environment. Without civic participation, few major building projects can go ahead… This volume presents examples of successful participation, according to a method developed in the practice test, in which the focus is on communication about and by means of atmospheres. Realized Baupiloten projects are supplemented by a wide range of participatory options—presented as practical guidelines that can be used for one’s own individual purposes. Therefore the book invites direct application. Architecture Is Participation is not only targeted towards architects and architectural agents, but also towards communities, administrations, and especially the users of the city and architecture.

Click here read more, purchase or download the 48-page excerpt of Architecture Is Participation, online at Jovis.de.

Watch Haas&Hahn on “How Painting Can Transform Communities”

The striking image of favela housing splashed with a rainbow of color has put Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn–a.k.a. Haas&Hahn–on the worldwide map for community art projects. The duo recently shared the story behind their captivating large-scale paintings during TEDGlobal 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As they reveal in “How Painting Can Transform Communities,” the most surprising part behind their approach has nothing to do with paint but rather food.

Known as “favela painters”, Haas&Hahn have been working on community projects in Rio for almost 10 years. They’ve also worked in Haiti and Curaçao, and in 2011, they moved north into a tough neighborhood in northern Philadelphia, where they trained the Philly Painting crew to cover a worn-out commercial corridor in massive color blocks. They’ve returned to Rio in 2014 for a new project in the Vila Cruzeiro favela.

Click here to watch Haas&Hahn in “How Painting Can Transform Communities,” online at TED.com.