Call for Submissions to D-Prize


“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


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.

Holcim Annouces 60 Regional Award Winners

Africa Middle East Bronze Winner: Incremental Construction

The Holcim Awards–an international triennial competition recognizing innovative sustainable construction projects–has announced sixty regional winning projects for the 2014 cycle. Based on Holcim’s five target issues, independent juries selected twelve projects in each of the five world regions–Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa Middle East and Asia Pacific–to share in $300,00 prize purse. The top three winners in each region–ranging from a participatory urban neighborhood in Vienna, Austria to low-cost modular housing scheme in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to a locally-adapted orphanage and library in Kathmandu, Nepal–will move onto the Global Holcim Awards competition in 2015.

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction is committed to the “triple bottom line” concept, which asserts that long-term and sustainable progress requires the balanced achievement of economic development, environmental performance and social advancement. Based on this concept and to make sustainable construction easier to understand, evaluate and apply, the Holcim Foundation and its renowned partner universities have identified a set of five “target issues” for sustainable construction: Progress, People, Planet, Prosperity, and Place.

Click here to read more about all sixty Holcim Regional Award winners, online at HolcimFoundation.org.

Mouthful of Meetings Podcast on Nordic and African Architecture

The South of North network has just released a video and podcast series sharing the discussions between Nordic and African architects during the Mouthful of Meetings event at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Moderated by South African architect Justine Bell and curator and author Andres Lepik, the discussion included panelists from 4 Nordic and 4 African countries: Peter Makachia, senior lecturer of architecture at Technical University of KenyaMokena Makeka, founder of South­ African Makeka Design Lab; Maxwell Mutanda, Zimbabwean architect; Tomà Berlanda, co-founder of the Rwanda-based Active Social ArchitectureViktoria Walldin, partner at Swedish White Architects; Daniel Harald Baumann, lead design architect at Danish Henning Larsen ArchitectsHelena Sandman, architect at Finnish Hollmen Reuter Sandman Architects; and, Ina B. Sem-Olsen, architect at Norwegian Rå Arkitektur. From solutions for informal cities to architectural education to African commonalities, the eight practitioners openly converse on what it means to be a socially-aware, global architect.

What are the challenges in Africa’s current rapid socio-economic development that architects have the capacity to address? Can foreign architects play any role on the African continent today and during the coming decades? If so, how? Mouthful of Meetings was a discussion organized as part of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, inviting contemporary African and Nordic architects to a cross-cultural dialogue on socially engaged architecture.

Click here to listen to the all nine episodes of Mouthful of Meetings, online at SoundCloud.com.

MOM Incubator Wins James Dyson Award

Inspired by the lack of incubation for newborns in Syrian refugee camps, product design student James Roberts set out to create a low-cost incubator specifically for refugee encampments. After months of research into neonatal care and refugee settings, Roberts created the prototype product MOM, which was recently announced as James Dyson Award International Winner. Roberts received $45,000 from the James Dyson Foundation to further develop MOM prototypes, which will hopefully result in a final product ready for deployment around the world.

Every year an estimated 150,000 child births occur within refugee camps. Of these child births, 27,500 will die due to lack of sufficient incubation… MOM offers the best and safest possible environment for a pre-term child to thrive in, whilst solving many of the problems of incubating premature children in refugee camps highlighted through my research.

Click here to read more about MOM, online at MOMIncubators.com.

2014 Tamayouz Award Recognizes Iraq’s Women in Architecture

The Tamayouz Excellence Award–the first award in the Middle East to recognize women in architecture and construction–has announced the 2014 winners who have significantly contributed to Iraq’s built environment. The esteemed judging panel–Angela Brady, Clare Devine, Jane Duncan, and Ali Grehan–has selected architect, academic and planner Shereen Sherzad for the Tamayouz Women of Achievements Award. The Emerging Women Architects Award was bestowed upon Venus Akef, an award winning aspiring architect and academic at the University of Technology in Baghdad, focusing on architectural heritage and the cultural identity. In addition, a Special Commemorative Award was given to Neda Al-Juboory, an “outstanding community architect who engaged at local level and inspired all those who came in contact with her.” Sadly in 2007, Al-Juboory was killed in a car bomb explosion where she worked as the Director of Urban Planning at the Ministry of Municipalities. Ahmed Al-Mallak, Founder of the Tamayouz Excellence Award, commented on the significance of the awards for Iraq.

“It gives us great pleasure to announce the winners of Tamayouz Women in Architecture and Construction Award, both Shereen Sherzad and Venus Akef are still making outstanding contributions to the profession of architecture in Iraq and it is important to show the commitment and sacrifices Iraqi women are making and this is portrayed by the commitment of the Late Neda Al-Juboory who was killed during a ceremony where she was supposed to receive a prize for her excellent work. Women in Iraq are doing fantastic jobs and we will continue to highlight their efforts.”

Click here to read the Tamayouz Excellence Award 2014 announcement, online at Tamayouz-Award.com.

Call for 2015 Acumen Global Fellows

Acumen’s Global Fellows Program has opened up the application period for the 2015 cycle. Established in 2006, the 12-month fellowship is aimed at individuals dedicated to serving the poor who have business and operational expertise and “moral imagination needed to effect long-term social change.” In eight years of operation, the program has received more than 4,400 applications from 100 countries and trained 63 Fellows from 21 countries. Fellows first receive two months of training in business models and leadership skills before eight months of in-field work with an Acumen investee on critical business issues facing the organization. Applications to the Global Fellows Program close on December 7th, 2014.

Acumen leaders possess a combination of financial expertise, operational expertise, and that special something we call “moral imagination”–the humility to see the world as it is and the audacity to imagine the world as it could be.

Click here to learn more and apply to be an Acumen Global Fellow in 2015, online at Acumen.org.

Watch Alejandro Aravena’s TED Talk on Participatory Design

Urban architect and Elemental principal Alejandro Aravena recently delivered a fascinating talk on participatory design during TEDGlobal 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Beginning with the statement, “If there’s any power in design, that’s the power of synthesis,” Aravena shares how his firm has worked with Chilean communities to deliver innovative solutions in housing, workspace, and protection from geographical threats–and the outcomes will surprise you. For those interested in implementing participatory design methods, Aravena shares wisdom–and a few raw clips–from his experience:

You can tell from the body language that participatory design is not a hippie, romantic, let’s-all-drink-together-about-the-future-of-the-city kind of thing. It is actually not even with the families trying to find the right answer. It is mainly trying to identify with precision what is the right question. There is nothing worse than answering well the wrong question.

Click here to watch Alejandro Aravena on “My Architectural Philosophy? Bring the Community Into the Process,” online at TED.com.

IDEO.org Crowdfunding to Create New HCD Guide

On Friday, human-centered design nonprofit IDEO.org launched a Kickstarter campaign to support the next iteration of the wildly popular HCD Toolkit. With over 70% of their $30,000 goal raised in just three days, designers from around the world are gobbling up the opportunity to gain early access to The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design. Available in pocket and book size, the new guide is packed full of new design methods, case studies, and worksheets to help create solutions to wicked problems. You have until December 7th, 2014 to secure one of the first copies of the new human-centered design guide, set to ship around the world in February 2015.

Design Kit is our online platform which currently has 58,000 members; our online Course for Human-Centered Design has seen 40,000 people register from 148 countries over the past two years; and the HCD Toolkit has been downloaded over 141,000 times. But there are places that the Internet just doesn’t go. And there are times out in the field, when your best friend is a good book. The Field Guide is just that friend, an ally in design and a key to help design a world without poverty.

Click here to support IDEO.org’s campaign to create The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design, online at Kickstarter.com.