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?
Karin van den Driesche- Filterdesign