This is not a slum.
Appearances have changed in the favela of Praça Cantão in Rio de Janeiro since artists engaged community members to paint the building exteriors in their neighborhood, calling international media attention to their need for improvement. Obviously the initiative was successful considering that it has become the exhibition poster for the ongoing exhibition at the United Nations in New York.
As part of a series focusing on Design with the other 90% (no, the exhibition isn’t part of Occupy Wall Street, the title refers to the worldwide population not usually serviced by designers), the current display features cities. Cities for which incredibly ingenious solutions have been designed. Just looking at the picture, hopefully you’ll concur with us that there is good evidence that we can make the world a more beautiful place. Follow us where green living is a necessity.
It’s not surprising that the exhibition is hosted in the main lobby of the UN in New York City as it is indeed all about promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.
But there’s nothing theoretical about what you’ll see, and that’s why we find the exhibition so inspiring. It looks at practical solutions to well know development issues.
Take, for example, a smart adaptation design. Here you see the Floating Community Lifeboats in Bangladesh, which provide space for solar-powered schools, libraries, clinics and community centers in response to rising waters and extreme population density.
French people will be proud to see displayed the initiative from the NGO Solidarites in Nairobi’s slums with its “garden in a sack”. In response to well known malnutrition and poverty issues, the project funded by the French government involves planting vegetable seedlings on top of and around the sides of earth-filled sacks, which are placed on doorsteps. Not only do they empower people by allowing them to sustain themselves but in addition, because they are locally managed, they facilitate the development of positive side projects like farming courses, market sale for any surplus, etc.
For those who can’t check the exhibition before it ends on January 9th but have an idea that may change the world, make sure you join the discussion: the exhibition encourages user-generated content (http://designother90.org/network/home).
October 15 – January 9, 2012, free admission
Location: Main Gallery of the United Nations Headquarters, New York
Follow on twitter: @designother90