"Design For The First World" competition
With designers recently beginning to look more closely at how design might serve the "bottom of the pyramid," the poorest citizens in the world, it is easy to forgot just how much we have to work on in our own back yards. My organization, Project H Design, has gone so far as to put a stake in the ground and only work on local projects in the US, rather than worlds away. While the need for great design in the developing world is dire, we need not look further than homeless shelters in San Francisco and rampant obesity nationwide to recognize that we have social issues in the US that could benefit from some creative thinking. To refocus "design for social impact" on our own problems, students at NYU have launched the "Design For The First World" competition, wherein they are asking for submissions from designers and creative in the developing world to propose solutions to issues like obesity, immigrant population needs, and aging populations and birth rates. They state: "We live in a complex world, one full of inequities and wonderful things. Our fellows in the First World have been concerned for a while with us having the major share of the badness, so we thought, why don’t we pay back? After all, their life isn’t problem-free either. And that’s where this competition starts." I think the premise is a beautifully ironic look back on ourselves as citizens, rather than the "designer as savior." Read all the details on their website. Submissions are due May 30, 2010.