Design for the Other 90%

Design for the Other 90%, on view at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum through September 23, 2007. Of the world's total population of 6.5 billion, 5.8 billion people, or 90%, have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted; in fact, nearly half do not have regular access to food, clean water, or shelter. Design for the Other 90% explores a growing movement among designers to design low-cost solutions for this "other 90%." ... Design for the Other 90% demonstrates how design can be a dynamic force in saving and transforming lives, at home and around the world.

See innovations in shelter, water and transport, such designs as Domed Pit Latrine Slab kit by Martin Fisher, will help with health issues with the concrete lid creating a tight seal to keep the smell in and the flies out; and the wire handle heats up from sunlight, killing germs and reducing contamination. And the Bamboo Treadle Pump by Gunnar Barnes allows poor farmers to access groundwater during the dry season, is is able to be made locally from cheap materials thus producing income for the community as well.Abigail Doan in her review of the exhibition says: One is struck by how simple some of the proposed solutions really are, and how necessity is indeed the mother of invention. What unites many of the objects and devices with their designers and users is their potential to allow for change or improved conditions in communities that typically subsist by minimal means but with an ad-hoc sense of design and total lack of waste.

Image 1: Bamboo Treadle Pump, designer: Gunnar Barnes of Rangpur/Dinajpur Rural Service and International Development Enterprises (IDE) Nepal. Manufacturer: Numerous small and medium-sized local workshops in Nepal and Bangladesh, 2006.
Made from: Metal, plastic, bamboo. In use in: Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Cambodia, Zambia

Image 2: Domed Pit Latrine Slab kit, designer: Martin Fisher. Manufacturer: KickStart International Kenya, 1992. Made from mild steel, local hard wood (kits); sand, cement, gravel, ballast, wire (slabs). In use in: Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya

Image3: Sugarcane charcoal, designer/Manufacturer: D-lab Haiti, 2004—05. Made from bagasse (waste product fibers left after the juice has been squeezed from sugar cane), cassava root binder, 55-gallon oil drum kiln, D-lab press. In use in: Haiti, Ghana; Brazil, India (field demonstrations)

Check out these designs and more either online or in the flesh. Where: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is located on Museum Mile, at the corner of 91st Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. When: until September 23, 2007. ::Design for the other 90% ::Reviews at Abigail Doan and Love forever

Tags: Poverty