Design 21: Social Design Network

DESIGN 21: Social Design Network is where members of the design community, socially conscious individuals, local governments, businesses and non-profit organizations (NPOs) can address social concerns and create smart solutions through design. It’s a place where like-minded people can connect to share resources, inspire each other and take action.

In partnership with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), we seek to explore the relationship between design and society. We believe that design should be more than an aesthetic exercise; that the real beauty lies in its potential to improve the way that we live and interact in our communities and our environment.

 Check out the competitions they are running

Thanks to Laate for pointing this one out.


May 6, 2007 at 1:53 pm 1 comment

Maybe in ’07

Ethics conference

Conference that sounded cool… but we missed it…

“Sustainable development,the environment, a trade balance between the North and South, an inherent respect for each person, the smoothing out of existing inequalities. The designer as a professional as well as inventor has a lot of pertinent and efficient remarks to make concerning these burning questions.  “ETHICS : Design, Ethics and Humanism” will take stock of existing research as well as the experience accumulated and results achieved in various design fields.

 Six sub themes are planned to cover a wide range of concerns:
> Eco design and sustainable development
> Design for All and inclusive conception
> Supportive economy and fair trade
> De- industrialisation, design and employment
> Companies and business ethics
> Ethics and the teaching of design”

May 6, 2007 at 1:49 pm 1 comment

Denver saves water

Pretty cool ad campaign from Denver about water usage.

Found at Cool Hunter.

May 6, 2007 at 1:43 pm 1 comment

Fellow travelers


Always happy to learn about others out there paying attention to similar things as we do here at Design for Social Need. Curt Burg hosts Combating Crisis with Design, “a developing research endeavor to understand and make known various methods and proposals to ameliorate the effects of humanitarian needs with progressive design solutions and their implementations.” Check it out.

May 6, 2007 at 1:33 pm 1 comment

Humanitarian Design

Design for people in need“… sounds good to us. I’ll actually let them tell you in their own words:

“Believing in the value of design, the Humanitarian International Design Organisation (HIDO) aims to improve the lives of people who are lacking basic needs and vital information in order to be able to make the right decisions in life. Based on long-term solutions, the organisation will provide information and/or a product through development, relief and campaigning to achieve these objectives. The organisation does not restrict itself to any particular geographic location.”

The two main goals appear advocacy/awareness and design of high-impact, sustainable tools for communities to bring about change/development.

Humanitarian Design 

Humanitarian Design’s blog


May 6, 2007 at 1:22 pm 1 comment

Katrina Cottage more than temporary housing

Katrina Cottage

Not exactly a new story but one I recently caught up on that involved two interesting topics: Katrina rebuilding and New Urbanism. At first reading I got caught up in what sometimes seems like New Urbanist efforts to simply retain outward visual appearance of neighborhoods and buildings but this effort clearly runs deeper than that. FEMA planned on spending $70,000 apiece to construct, transport, set up, maintain, and de-commission only 18 months later the trailer seen above on the left. After 18 months, the displaced resident gets nothing and FEMA takes back the trailers, likely only to de-commission them (never get used again). The Katrina Cottage project and its outgrowths sought to create a temporary residence that was more livable inside and out, was less costly, and had the potential to become semi-permanent with plans to incorporate them into a neighborhood setting and for the structure to be expandable, up to three times the original size. Why make a only temporary solution that sucks to live in for more money and materials cost?

Best explanation of the above

Story from the Washington Post

May 6, 2007 at 1:13 pm 2 comments

The other 90% on exhibit

The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will be hosting Design for the Other 90% from May 4 – September 23rd of 2007. As stated by their website, “this exhibition highlights the growing trend among designers to create affordable and socially responsible objects for the vast majority of the world’s population (90 percent) not traditionally serviced by professional designers. Organized by exhibition curator Cynthia E. Smith, along with an eight-member advisory council, the exhibition is divided into sections focusing on food, water, shelter, health and sanitation, education, energy and transportation and highlights objects developed to empower global populations surviving under the poverty level or recovering from a natural disaster.”

If you go take photos and notes and send them along. Oh, and don’t ask me about the photo – it’s the one associated with the exhibition on their website.

January 4, 2007 at 9:46 pm 6 comments

Older Posts

Design for Social Need

In response to mounting pressures on our communities and in light of the vast potential that we as designers share, a handful designers have formed Design for Social Need (DSN). Our mission is to bring together designers of all types with local social service organizations on volunteer design projects that span from research to development, from planning to implementation.

About the website

The site is divided into two main sections: (1) continuously updated listing of relevant stories, examples, people and going-ons and (2) listing of current projects both underway and under consideration.


  • 7,999 came and said hello