2014-2015 Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships Awarded


The 19-year-old Worldstudio AIGA Scholarship Program announced 14 talented and dedicated art and design students who will receive tuition grants for the 2014-2015 academic year. This year marks a huge milestone for the program–a grand total of $1 million in scholarships have been awarded to 651 students from minority and economically disadvantaged backgrounds not only to realize their artistic dreams, but also to give back to their communities. AIGA Executive Director Richard Grefé noted, “The profession thrives on the creativity and perspective of young designers from diverse backgrounds, particularly those committed to making a real difference in the human experience, using creativity to defeat habit.”

Yathrib Ragsdale mentors minority, first generation, college bound students. Myles Thompson educates his college campus about African American art and culture. And Kawing Ng manages a Meetup group called VolunteerNY to bring together people who share a common goal of giving back to the community. These talented and dedicated students are among 14 recipients of the 2014–2015 Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships, awarded each year to art and design college students who demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility.

Click here to read more about the scholarship program and awardees, online at AIGA.org.


Apply Now for NEA Art Works Research Grants


The National Endowment for the Arts is now accepting applications for grants to support research projects that “generate new findinging that will inform the public about the value and/or impact of the arts in American life.” As part of the Art Works Research program launched in 2012, twenty grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 are available for the 2015 cycle. Applications are due October 21, 2014; however, they strongly encouraged to submit at least 10 days in advance.

The NEA’s Office of Research & Analysis will make awards to support research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components within the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life… By providing financial support to deserving projects, the NEA anticipates that this program will spur growth in the number of people experienced in and knowledgeable about arts-related research in the U.S.

Click here to learn more and apply for an Art Works Research Grant, online at Arts.gov.

“Trading Parking Lots for Affordable Housing”


“What is the solution to affordable housing in New York?” questions New York Times reporter Michael Kimmelman. One potential answer? “Trading Parking Lots for Affordable Housing,” as proposed by Institute for Public Architecture fellows Miriam Peterson, Sagi Golan and Nathan Rich in their project “9 x 18” for the Total Reset residency and exhibition. Working with the standard dimensions of a parking space, the proposal unlocks 20.3 million square feet of street-level parking spaces on housing authority lots for mixed-use structures for housing, shops, services, and play areas. Although this calls for citywide reform and faces financial challenges, the “’9 x 18′ plan is rough, but a start,” writes Kimmelman.

I’m intrigued by their proposal, “9 x 18,” because it’s about more than apartment buildings plopped onto vacant land. It considers how parking spaces — mandated in outmoded zoning regulations, prolific at public housing sites — might be leveraged into something more ambitious, something that encourages a mix of housing in active neighborhoods with accessible transit, public services and lively streets. In effect, the proposal trades asphalt for housing and amenities.

Click here to read “Trading Parking Lots for Affordable Housing,” online at NYTimes.com.

Autodesk Foundation Proudly Announces 5 Grantees


At “Design Gone Good” Night earlier this month, the Autodesk Foundation announced five new grantees to receive support from our new foundation. We have furthered our commitment to accelerating the work of impact designers by deepening our investment in two current grantees, D-Rev and MASS Design Group, and making new investments in several additional design-driven nonprofits. We are providing training, technology and software grants to Gearbox, Kenya’s first open makerspace for technologists, designers, and makers; Proximity Designs, whose agricultural products and services serve rural Myanmar; and Build Change, which aims to strengthen housing in developing and earthquake-susceptible countries through training and capacity building.


FastCo Innovation by Design Finalists Announced


With one month left until Fast Company’s illustrious Innovation by Design Conference in New York City, the finalists in the running for top brass in 10 award categories were announced last week. Chosen from 1,587 boundary-pushing entries, the 53 finalists feature littleBits Space Kit, a themed set of circuitry for building miniature space-exploration tools in Products;  PillPack, an online pharmacy that ships your drugs in individually sealed single-dose packets in Experience and Health; and, Mapdwell Solar System, a web-based platform that helps users design at-home solar energy systems in Data Visualization. Along with these innovative projects, the six finalists in the Social Good category were worthy of a repost, especially with Autodesk Foundation’s Executive Director Joe Speicher announcing the winner in this category at the award ceremony on October 15th, 2014. More

“Working on Water” with Kunlé Adeyemi Airs Today

This week Rebel Architecture travels to the Nigerian cities of Lagos and Port Hartcourt with architect Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Works. In the fifth episode “Working on Water” airing today at 11:30pm BST (6:30pm ET / 3:30pm PT), filmmaker Riaan Hendricks follows Adeyemi as he attempts to gain approval to build prototypes of the low-cost floating buildings that have won numerous international accolades. Despite the notoriety for the innovative designs, Adeyemi is up against plans for redevelopment of the slum areas, which ultimately displace the residents and squash any hopes for the floating city to come into fruition. More

NY Times: “How to Build a Better Neighborhood”


The Better Block project–led by neighborhood design instigators Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard–was showcased in the New York Times Fixes article “How to Build a Better Neighborhood” by Tina Rosenberg. Since the first project initiated in 2010 in Oak Cliff, Dallas, Better Block projects have spread like wildfire across America and even as far as Iran. The key to success of these placemaking projects are safety (real and perceived,) shared access for varied transportation methods, shops to incite ‘stay power,’ and amenities for people aged 8 to 80. Roberts and Howard continue to iterate and improve their process, which is openly shared on the Better Block blog.

How do residents transform their neighborhoods into places built around people? Usually, they start by talking to city officials, and if they are lucky, begin a series of public meetings, consultations and debates. If they are very lucky, these meetings progress to plans, visions and renderings. If those work out, something changes. This can take years. Too often, though, years go by and what is produced is nothing more than a document. Or, those with less patience can do what Jason Roberts did.

Click here to read “How to Build a Better Neighborhood,” online at NYTimes.com.

Watch “Inclusive Design: From the Pixel to the City”

The Design Council UK created this lovely short video on inclusive design, defined as design that “aims to remove the barriers that create undue effort and separation” and “enables everyone to participate confidently and independently in everyday activities.” As part of the new hub for inclusive design in the built environment, the video showcases designers pioneering the movement to incorporate this methodology through products, graphics, and vehicles. With an emphasis on consultation with user groups, inclusive design has the potential to transform how services, products, and spaces are designed, created, and delivered.

The way places are planned, designed and managed has an impact on everyone’s lives. Designing and managing the built environment inclusively is essential if we are to create a fair society and meet current and future challenges. An inclusively designed built environment means planning, designing, building and managing places that work better for everybody – whether that place is a school, office, park, street, care home, bus route or train station.

Click here to watch “Inclusive Design: From Pixel to the City” on Vimeo.com, or click here to learn more about inclusive design on DesignCouncil.org.uk.

Aarambh’s ‘Help Desk’ Doubles as a Backpack


Aarambh–a community service NGO in Navi Mumbai, India, serving marginalized families in slum and rural areas–recently created an inventive and affordable product for school children. Responding to the two basic issues of schools not being equipped with proper desks and students not having book bags, they developed the Help Desk to tackle these problems with one solution. To make the portable desks, Aarambh turned to discarded cardboard cartons, a cheap and readily available resource. With a preset stencil, the cartons were then cut and folded to create a brilliant desk and school bag.

Click here to watch Aarambh’s Help Desk video, online at YouTube.com/ImpactDesignHub.

Cultural Warehouse Fosters Creativity in Brazil


Brazilian firm Mafra Arquitetos Associados recently transformed a warehouse into a cultural hub for the community of Dique da Vila Gilda, a slum area on stilts that is home to 22,000 along the Indian River in Santos, Brazil. Recently featured on ArchDaily, the Plinio Marcos School of Art and Popular Culture–run by the local art institute–houses a variety of spaces to promote shows, concerts, events, workshops, and technical training with the overarching aim to foster popular culture, creativity, entrepreneurship, and community sustainability. The second stage of the project includes expanding the areas of workshops, reading room, bar and cafeteria, shop, and exhibition area to feature local artists and writers such as Plinio Marcos.

Click here to read more about the Plinio Marcos School of Art and Popular Culture, online at ArchDaily.com.