Development


Paul Polak, and Mal Warwick
How to Solve India’s Poverty Crisis
A new look at how to end poverty in India.



Observed
Welcoming Dr. Paul Polak
Welcoming Dr. Paul Polak as a Design Observer contributing writer.



Observed
2012: The Year in Construction
Engineering News-Record, a weekly technical magazine that traces it's roots back to 1874, has announced the winners of their "2012 The Year In Contruction" photo competition.



Philip Nobel
Oops: Understanding Failure
A review of To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure, by Henry Petroski.



Observed
Design Indaba Online FilmFest
Design Indaba's online film festival features 10 of the Focus Forward short films.



William Drenttel, and OBlog
Update: Design For Change Goes Global
Design For Change, the international design project that gives young people a chance to make a design contribution in their villages and cities has now reached 34 countries, launched a new website and conference, as well as school and communities challenges.



Mark Lamster
Majority Report
Review of Design with the Other 90%: Cities



Courtney Drake, William Drenttel, and Deirdre Cerminaro
Design and the Social Sector: An Annotated Bibliography
This bibiography surveys the literature of social design — the spectrum from design process and thinking to the zones of social innovation.



Julie Lasky
Media Design Matters
Art Center offers a new graduate track in social design that combines communications and technologies strategies with field work.



Ramsey Ford
Expert Thinking About Global Aid
Suggestions for a crash course in development economics for social designers



Barbara Flanagan
Sleeping with the Fishes
Review of "Waltzing with Brando," an account of the actor's effort to inhabit and protect a Tahitian atoll.



Ramsey Ford
Design Impact Fellowship Program
Announcement of Design Impact Fellowship Program in India.



John Thackara
Does Bilbao Need Another Guggenheim?
Ideas for remaking Basque country that go far beyond fancy architecture.



Julie Lasky
Bushpunk and the Future of Africa
Why Maker Faire Africa is a model for economic development



Julie Lasky
Index Names Design Challenge Finalists
Among the seven projects dedicated to schoolchildren are educational games, classroom furniture and products that support comfort and hygiene.




Phil Patton
The Meek Shall Inherit the Market
Phil Patton writes in praise of frugal engineering, and not just for developing markets.



Meena Kadri
Tinkers, Hackers, Farmers, Crafters
Interview with Emeka Okafor, founder of Maker Faire Africa.



Maria Popova
The Language of Design Imperialism
Essay on the flawed language used to describe humanitarian design efforts and what it indicates.



The Editors
Humanitarian Design vs. Design Imperialism: Debate Summary
Bruce Nussbaum started a firestorm with the question "Is humanitarian design the new imperialism?" — and the conversation has spread through the blogosphere. Here, a digest of essays and related posts on this subject.



Robert Fabricant
In Defense of Design Imperialism
Weighing in on a controversy, frog design's Robert Fabricant supports global design interventions.


Kate Andrews
Dori Gíslason
Interview with design educator Halldór Gíslason about his work in Mozambique.


Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: UNICEF Menstruation Challenge
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the UNICEF Menstruation Challenge Project proposed an “eco-system” whereby sanitary pads became a linchpin for local economic growth, for educational programs about health and hygiene and for research into materials that could be adapted to other countries.


Ernest Beck
Medellín, Colombia
Report on the city officials who turned around a notorious drugs-and-murder capital, winning the 2009 Curry Stone Design Prize for Transformative Public Works.



Bryan Mealer, and William Kamkwamba
The Doers Club
Design prodigy William Kamkwamba recalls building a windmill to generate electricity for his village in Malawi, Africa.



Alexandra Lange
Waiting On the Dream
I wrote a piece on the (lack of) development in Midtown West , also known as the Hudson Yards.



Debbie Millman
Grant McCracken
Grant McCracken is the author of Culture and Consumption IPlenitudeBig HairCulture and Consumption II: Markets, Meaning and Brand ManagementThe Long InterviewFlock and Flow, and Transforming Selves.  



Rob Walker
The Guts of a New Machine
The iPod, a digital music player, it weighing just 6.5 ounces and holding about 1,000 songs.



Observed | October 17

The current threat level is violet: one nation under cynicism. [BV]

Design and dissent: the reissue. [JH]

Lucienne Roberts: “We’re on a mission to show what graphic design can do.” [MB]

It’s time for companies to let design expand its influence to the core of the business. [JH]


Observed | October 16

It was scary when the graphic designers seized control of the country... [BE]

Does design thinking live up to the hype? Business leaders apparently think so. (Not sure design leaders would agree.) [JH]

Spark Awards: call for entries announced. More here. [JH]


Observed | October 13

Poster Girls! An exhibition of work by forgotten women at the forefront of graphic design. At the London Transport Museum. [JH]

Half the universe’s missing matter has just been finally found. [BV]

Another view of Google, design, and the future. [JH]


Observed | October 12

Rob Walker thinks this is the best headline he’s seen in a while. We agree. [JH]

Can design minimize hate speech? [JH]

Three designers win MacArthur “genius” grants. [JH]


Observed | October 11

Get some advice from your potential future self. [BV]

Three design projects that promote good mental health. [MB]


Observed | October 10

A look at the iconic New York Film Festival poster. [BV]

Do you want to know everything? Oxford has your answer. [BV]

Did you know there are scissors in the MoMA permanent collection? Of course they‘re orange. [BV]


Observed | October 09

School buses: A massive mass transit system in need of a tech upgrade. [BV]

How to train an algorithm to understand a hurricane. [BE]

So long, cubicles: introducing “palettes of places”. [JH]


Observed | October 06

See some of the entries in National Geographic’s 2017 Nature Photographer of the Year contest. [BV]

Changing the math on gerrymandering: a visual guide to redistricting shows what a proper Congressional district might look like. [BV]

“This guy is the best”: best-selling Instagram poet Rupi Kaur wants Peter Mendelsund to design her next book. [BE]


Observed | October 05

In 1930, Alexander Calder became a married man. In 1931, he became an abstract artist. These were the foundations on which he would build for the rest of his life. (via Arts and Letters Daily) [BV]

From book critiques to music choices, computation is changing aesthetics. Does increasingly average perfection lie ahead? [BV]

One hundred and fifty seven shades of grey. [JH]


Observed | October 04

A celebration of the human brain, consciousness, and failure or: How to build a self-conscious machine. [BV]

“Verbs like ‘hacking’, ‘hustling’, and ‘disrupting’ are particularly galling, as they absolve their practitioners of the obligation to build skills and understand systems before performing design.” One student’s reflection on The Next Stage. [BV]

How the Russian Revolution spurred mid-century design. [BV]



Jobs | October 18