Search This Blog

Monday, November 28, 2011

Design for the Other 90% : Cities

Last week I had the privilege of visiting the exhibit Design for the Other 90% : Cities part of a continuing series of exhibits by the Cooper - Hewitt Museum that highlight design solutions for the 90% of the world's population that usually don't receive the benefits from designers working on products and systems to improve their standard of living. This exhibit is at the United Nations, a fitting venue.

The exhibits were models, full size objects, videos, photos and informational boards that focused on public health, clean water, food access, energy and transport. The designs were created for what are termed informal settlements, groups of people forced to resettle because of famine, war, natural disasters or just the search for a better life. These settlements often have poor housing, sanitation and lack of drinking water.  While not on the same scale  some of the same issues we discuss in reference to the sustainability of community gardens.

One of the exhibits highlighted access to food with a design for a "Garden in a Sack". The sacks are filled with loamy soil and manure, slots are cut on the sides and seedlings planted in the slots. Families can harvest as many as 4 meals per week from their planting. Community groups are adopting the technique in a type of community garden. In some cases they grow enough to sell at market. See my previous posts on Vertical Gardening - growing vegetables in recycled polyester bags from April 15, July 12 and September 26, 2010.
I am also very interested in the use of human power to accomplish tasks that are needed in a garden. Several of the exhibits highlighted using bicycles for transport or producing electricity. One exhibit showed full size examples of a modular bicycle frame that can be used to make a bicycle with a piece of wood or a cart using the same frame. See the included photos.

Another design  uses the bicycle to power a charger for a cell phone.
There was a design that used bicycle pedals to pump water from a water tank through a filter system.

For a view of another system, I made a new video showing the improvements I have made to my design for a bicycle water pump.

This exhibit is well worth a visit if you are in NYC. There is also a detailed website worth exploring and a catalogue that can be purchased through the website.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to have water system like this. A good rainwater tank that will water your garden.

    Rainwater Tanks