Poverty


Paul Polak
End Poverty or Bust
Five years ago, Steve Bachar and Paul Polak decided to create a venture capital fund that would only invest in socially responsible companies. There was only one problem. There were no companies to invest in that met the criteria



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


Cheryl Heller
Forget Poverty. Let’s Talk Business.
In a recent article on the future of design, I used Paul Polak as a case for why generalists are so important to the world right now.


Manisha Sharma
Gendered Arrangements: India
Girls are considered a burden in Indian society, the issue is popularly known as the “missing girls” phenomenon.


Alexandra Lange
Having Fun at the Museum
Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.



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.



Photo by Milton Rogovin
The Poetry of Simplicity
Pablo Neruda on the photographer Milton Rogovin



Photo by Taslima Akhter
The Raveled Sleeve of Care
Photo by Taslima Akhter showing living conditions for Bangladesh's garment workers.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit: Update 09.25.10
Dateline Aspen. An on-going report on progress on the six projects developed at the Aspen Design Summit in November 2009.



Mimi Zeiger
Food Not Bombs
Report on Food Not Bombs, an activist network, now about to turn 30, that distributes free vegan meals.



Photo by Teun Voeten
Hell Under Wheels
Photo from Teun Voeten's newly reissued book on New York's Tunnel People.



Ernest Beck
SELCO: Case Study Synopsis & Teaching Objectives

This case study about SELCO, a solar energy company in India, provides an opportunity to examine the strategy of a business with a social purpose and a heavy reliance on innovative design.





Jen Roos
Cup of Heroes
Thoughts on design, sports, and the author's return to a South African township during the World Cup.



Photo by Pieter Hugo
Permanent Error
Photo by Pieter Hugo of Ghana's Agbogbloshie slum.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit Report: Hale County Rural Poverty Project
At the Aspen Design Summit November 11–14, 2009, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute, the Hale County Rural Poverty Project conceived of a socio-economic model of resource allocation through an online platform for accelerated regional development in the Black Belt counties of rural Alabama.



Aspen Editors
Aspen Design Summit: Initial Report
Initial report on the 2009 Aspen Design Summit, sponsored by AIGA and Winterhouse Institute.



Bradford McKee
New Grub Street
Interview with photorapher Jonas Bendiksen following the opening of his exhibition "The Places We Live."



Ernest Beck
Chulha Stove

Report on the Chulha stove designed by Philips to reduce indoor air pollution in developing countries.





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.



Teun Voeten
Under Cover
Teun Voeten photograph of Kabul, Afghanistan, 2007. The situation for widows in Afghanistan is desperate...



Observed | February 23

Five designers (including our co-founder Michael Bierut) illustrate global children‘s health stories you should know about. [BV]

Ending this Sunday, By the People: Designing a Better America at the Cooper Hewitt. [BV]

Curbed has an in-depth look at race and architecture, and the profession’s diversity problem. [BV]

Front Page News! NYT Since 1852, Under A Minute. [MPL]


Observed | February 22

Symbols of hate, and why they endure. (Via Christopher Simmons.) [JH]

The depressingly rapid decay of a neglected piece of ambitious modern architecture. [MB]

“One badly kept secret is that hardly any art school graduates go on to become professional artists. If you have decided to be one of them, give yourself a pat on the back. Next, develop a reputation as a team player.” Artists on pain, struggle, and eventual success. Also, um, stamina! [JH]

Iconic furniture = timeless investments? The Evening Standard thinks so! [JH]


Observed | February 21

The alienating personal technology device of the Victorian age: umbrellas. [MB]

Dutch author and illustrator Dickl Bruna, creator of the exquisite series of Miffy books, has died. [JH]

Students in Norway consider the future of prison design. [JH]

Are the decorative arts making a comeback because of 3D printing? [JH]

“Instead of asking what the design should look like, I wish we’d asked, ‘What can we do for you?’” What Robert Hammond learned from the High Line. [MB]

"Design is not an object or thing. Design is not taste.” An interview with Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic. [MB]


Observed | February 20

The Batbot Xtreme takes toy design to another level. [MPL]

Gerald Haltom‘s original 1958 sketches for the peace symbol. [MB]

Ugly buildings always photograph better at night (and other confessions of a former design magazine editor). [MB]

How Steven Heller redefined the design world. [MB]

Happy President‘s Day...? Ten times that Trump stirred up the design and architecture world. (And counting.) [MPL]


Observed | February 17

As the White House aims to stifle climate science, cities cooperate globally and plan locally, standing up to climate change. [BV]

The crude, vulgar, and celebrated art of Jean Dubuffet. [MPL]

Donald Judd on the relationship of artists and politics, 1970. [MB]

The most despised piece of furniture in the world has a name: Peggy. [MB]


Observed | February 16

The Statue of Liberty was modeled after an Arab woman. [MB]

Pratt Institute President Tom Schutte is the recipient of the 21st Rowena Reed Kostellow Award. [JH]

Why symbols matter. [MB]

Detroit, Design and the Future of Work—Detroit’s first exhibition as a UNESCO City of Design  [BV]

A Bug‘s Life meets Mulan and takes the form of this chair. [MPL]

Why do we have Wingdings and Dingbats? This short video explains all! [MB]


Observed | February 15

In the New Yorker this week, Design Observer contributor Rob Walker reviews the new Netflix series on design. [JH]



Jobs | February 24