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.
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.
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.