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Architecture Professor Creates Community Design Lab at ISU

NadiaAnderson

In early March of this year, ISU partnered with Design Corps to host the Public Interest Design Institute. This two day course offered in-depth methods based on the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) metric. This is just one of the many initiatives that the ISU Community Design Lab offers. Pioneered by architecture professor Nadia Anderson, she describes the Community Design Lab as the following:

“Partnership with communities is the foundation of what we do,” Anderson said. “While we bring professional expertise and research to the table, the local knowledge and decision-making provided by our community partners is essential.”

Some of their current projects include: design concepts for local retailers, planning projects with neighborhood development organizations, and affordable housing prototypes.

Click here to read an article on the past, present and future of the Community Design Lab on ISU’s website.

10 Ways to Improve Your Design Practice

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“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality,” said American scholar Warren Bennis. His insightful statement was clearly demonstrated by the impact design leaders at this year’s What Design Can Do! (WDCD) conference. Over the course of two days, over 800 people converged on Amsterdam’s Stadsschouwburg theater to participate in the fifth annual event celebrating the impact of design on today’s most pressing issues. Nearly 20 practitioners – ranging from architects and graphic designers to chefs and researchers – presented their methods, theories, and projects to create positive social change.

Impact Design Hub captured ten of the best statements from leading practitioners during WDCD, who not only have a profound vision for the future but are working daily to make these visions a reality. We hope these inspire you to approach your design practice from a fresh perspective. More

How to Kick-Start Your Social Impact Career

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Anyone interested in working or already working in the social impact sector knows that there is no one path to build a career in this field. Acumen recently reached out to Aliyah Kurji, 2014 Acumen Global Fellow and now Innovation Manager at Acumen, to get some tips on how to successfully build a social impact career. She took the leap from the private sector into the field of impact design and created a list of 8 ways for others to get into the field as well. Here are our top 3:

1. Don’t be put off by the ambiguity
If you’re looking for a structured path, you’re in the wrong spot, the search differs for everyone and you need to create a path that works for you.

2. Don’t expect the first job to be the ‘perfect job’
When switching careers, in any sector, you are likely not qualified for your ‘dream position’ right off the bat.

3. Talk to people you wouldn’t usually talk to
“It was easy because people often ask what you do so that gave me the opening to say I’m actually interested in the social enterprise sector and looking for something in this area. Do you know anything about this?”  Most of the time they knew something or someone they could introduce me to.

Click here to read the full blog post by Aliyah Kurji on Acumen.

Two Fonts for People with Dyslexia

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According to the UK charity Dyslexia Action, Dyslexia affects around 10 percent of the global population. Two designers diagnosed with dyslexia created two typefaces that deal with the different struggles faced by this neurological disorder. Dutch designer Christian Boer, created a typeface specifically for people with dyslexia.

“By changing the shape of the characters so that each is distinctly unique, the letters will no longer match one another when rotated, flipped or mirrored,” Boer said. “Bolder capitals and punctuation will ensure that users don’t accidentally read into the beginning of the next sentence.”

London designer Dan Britton took a different approach by creating a typeface that shows how individuals with dyslexia see written words. “What I wanted to do was recreate or simulate the emotions of reading with dyslexia to try and put across how frustrating it is to try and read something simple,” says Britton.

Click here to read the full article on Dan Britton’s font on Dezeen and click here to read the article on Christian Boer’s typeface.

2016 NEA ‘Our Town’ Grants Call for Applicants

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Calling all creative placemakers! National Endowment for the Arts is looking to support projects transforming communities through the arts.  The Our Town grant supports local initiatives improving the quality of life for residents while also building a grounded sense of place.  The grant requires a partnership between arts organizations and government, other nonprofit organizations, and private entities. The two categories for the Our Town grant are:

  • Arts Engagement, Cultural Planning, and Design Projects. These projects represent the distinct character and quality of their communities. These projects require a partnership between a nonprofit organization and a local government entity, with one of the partners being a cultural organization. Matching grants range from $25,000 to $200,000.  
  • Projects that Build Knowledge About Creative Placemaking. These projects are available to arts and design service organizations, and industry or university organizations that provide technical assistance to those doing place-based work. Matching grants range from $25,000 to $100,000.

Applications are due on September 21, 2015. Join NEA for their webinar on “How to Apply” for the grant on Wednesday July 29, 3:00 ET and on Wednesday August 5th tune in for the “Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration for a Successful Project Proposal” webinar.

Click here to find out more on the NEA Our Town grant.

Image courtesy of Martha Cooper

New Director of 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale to Focus on Social Needs

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The 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale has officially announced its Director for 2016 as Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. This year’s 15th annual exhibition is focused on addressing the disparity between architecture and social need.

“There are several battles that need to be won and several frontiers that need to be expanded in order to improve the quality of the built environment and consequently people’s quality of life,” said Aravena. “We would like to show that in the permanent debate about the quality of the built environment, there is not only a need but also room for action.”

The 15th annual architecture exhibition in Venice will run from 28 May to 27 November 2016. In direct contrast to last year’s director, Rem Koolhas, Aravena’s approach is based in addressing pressing real world issues. Aravena is most known for his social housing with Elemental, defining itself as a “Do Tank that seeks to upgrade people’s quality of life.”

Click here to read the full article on Deezen

10k Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award Applications Now Due!

SylviaHarris

In honor of the late social impact design pioneer, the Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award–worth $10,000–will go to a project that addresses a pressing social issue, can be implemented in a timely manner, and will deliver positive results that can be measured. This award is presented by Design Ignites Change and AIGA, the professional association for graphic design.

“Sylvia Harris (1953 – 2011) is widely recognized as a pioneer, a generous mentor and a vital inspiration to the field of social impact design. In that spirit, the Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award has been established to honor her legacy by supporting other vanguards dedicated to public design.”

Applicants need only one year of professional design experience and both designer and project must be located in the United States. Register and apply by August 3, 2015 for this outstanding opportunity to get a project off the ground.

Click here to apply for the Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award.

Design/Build Firm Pioneering Water Resiliency in the Bay Area

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Founded by a group of builders and ecologists with a passion for water conservation, DIG Cooperative is a leading design/build firm integrating water conservation solutions in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005. Specializing in comprehensive, on-site water catchment and reuse systems for residential, commercial and institutional clients, DIG is committed to building a sustainable future for clean water. In their own words:

“Our team is committed to regenerative ecology, quality craftsmanship, and creative collaboration. We harness the power of water to transform urban environments into resilient habitats.”

Now, after 10 years of pioneering cutting-edge water catchment and reuse systems in the Bay Area, DIG Cooperative has partnered with KivaZip to raise $15,000 to meet the growing demand for their services amidst increased awareness of the severe drought conditions facing California. Their campaign is two-fold, raising funds for both marketing/activities and hardware/software. The campaign ends on August 31st, so get your contributions in soon! Also, keep a look out for the Farm to Fork Expo on August 29th in San Francisco for advocates and lovers of food.

Click here to contribute to DIGs mission of ensuring water resiliency by lending donations to their need for marketing & tools.

La Realidad detrás de la Construcción de un Proyecto de Impacto Social

ElGuadualArticulo

Compuesto por cuatro bloques junto a las abarrotadas calles y plantaciones de caña de azúcar de Villa Rica, el Centro de Desarrollo Infantil El Guadual es un edificio construido con un gusto exquisito en un territorio sumamente disputado. El Guadual fue el primer proyecto piloto iniciado para “de Ciero a Siempre,” una estrategia nacional para la infancia promovida por la Primera Dama de Colombia. El proyecto se centra en combinar educación, juego, comida, cultura, inscripción y salud.

Los arquitectos de El Guadual, Daniel Feldman e Iván Darío Quiñones aprovecharon al máximo la oportunidad única de trabajar con un programa gubernamental que pusiera el diseño al frente para lograr una beneficiosa participación de la comunidad y del desarrollo de la primera infancia. Un aspecto inherente a la estrategia nacional para la infancia es el Enfoque Reggio Emilia, un sistema pedagógico exhaustivo que hace hincapié en el impacto del medio ambiente físico en el aprendizaje, incluso refiriéndose a él como el “tercer profesor” del niño. Cuando El Guadual se terminó no sólo subió el listón por el bajo coste de los procesos de construcción sostenibles, sino también por sus métodos innovadores de participación de la comunidad y del gobierno durante todo el proceso del diseño. More

The Maker Movement Future: Open Source & Sustainable

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How can the maker model of open source and upcycled methodologies be implemented towards beneficial environmental change? In order to explore this concept further OuiShare Magazine interviewed Dawn Danby, the creator of the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop, a free and open-source resource for learning the principles and practice of sustainable design.

“We often pretend that our design ideas are new to this world, but we’re always building on others’ work” says Danby. “Part of what inspires me about the open source movement is the fact that it attempts to acknowledge how ideas build off one another, how they’re forked and modified, often with a curious lineage across the planet. More people should be learning from others’ approaches to local fabrication, design for disassembly, materials selection, and new economic models.”

The interview dives into a variety of communities focused on implementing human-centered, environmentally conscious maker projects. Some of these include: Instructables, iFixit and the upcoming POC21 event.

Click here to read the full article “Makers, Open Source, and Sustainable Design: an Interview with Dawn Danby” on OuiShare Magazine.