Making a difference through design?

Looking for examples of social design I came across several designs for emergency shelters. Ease of use, fast to deliver, locally made, recyclable material, lightweight, these are all requirements for the design of emergency shelters. But the fact that nobody wants to live in an emergency camp is for social design the most important issue to address. Finding your family, feeling secure, safety, being able take care of health issues,  protection against cold, heat, floods, finding food, clean water, communicating with family and friends all over the world, is what comes to my mind as most important issues when on the run for war or natural disasters. However I was never in such a situation. Nevertheless I found examples of emergency shelters which address these social and emotional issues better than current tents used around the world. Problem is that these designs aren’t used. And watching images and films concerning  war situations or natural disasters can make these designs look superficial. Okay you are in a war, you lost your family and you are on the run but you do live in designer tents. Designed in countries where there is a form of peace. Immediately creating a difference between the active helper and the passive victim. But all in all, I believe that taking action for those who (temporarily) are not able to lead their lives as they want to, will bring change. And these small actions don’t exclude the big questions about war and nature.

So what about an activist getting information out using a creative approach, is that a social designer?

Emergency-shelter--Felix-St Emergency shelter by Felix Stark

zipping_1UHHs_1333 topviews_uPccx_1333 LIFElink Emergency Shelter

bedu2 bedu“Bedu” temporary disaster relief by designer Toby McInnes

x2shelter_2_NPa1x_69 x2shelter_1_IzeG6_69 By GEOTECTURA Architectural Studio

Karin van den Driesche- Filterdesign

One thought on “Making a difference through design?”

  1. I want to answer a question in response to this post (from another source): “…why these designs don’t make it to mass production?” Ikea also has made a design for emergency shelters. But according to this article, A New Ingeniously Designed Shelter For Refugees–Made By Ikea, it comes down too costs, as often. “The Ikea Foundation (which has invested approximately 3.4 million euros in the project so far) and UNHCR will beta test the shelters in Ethiopia next month, then iterate to a final design for mass production. They currently cost $10,000 to make, but they’re hoping to get that price down to less than $1,000 when they’re in mass production. The tents cost half that, but they hope to have the cost even out, given the long life of the shelters.”
    Hopefully it will be a success because the current tents as stated in the article “offer little comfort, dignity, or security, they are cold in the winter and hot in the summer and they have no electricity or lighting.”

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