Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Humanitarian Design - Emily Pilloton

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Emily Pilloton
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Designer Emily Pilloton wants to create things that aren't just well designed, but have a positive social impact. People. Planet. Profit. These three words focus the concept of humanitarian design---design that has necessary human purpose, is kind to the planet and is also potentially profitable. Philloton's book, "Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People" shows and tells the story.

Colbert gives her an opportunity to give us some insight. One example, is the pushable plastic drum. For people who must walk miles to obtain clean water, the drum holds 20 gallons. Once filled it weighs 400 lbs. The "push weight" of it, however, is 40 pounds. A person can fill the drum and then push it home. Without the drum, people could carry only a few gallons at most. These simple design ideas are revolutionizing the lives of people in the developing world.

Pilloton's mission is to encourage and report on the ideas that provide humanitarian solutions to vexing problems of the poor. We can't believe the eye glasses that have a self adjusting prescription lens. With all the gloomy feelings today about our economy and strange times, Pilloton offers a demonstration of how designers do good things with their minds and hearts.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baltimore Woman Fined for Green Landscaping

Wood Chip Playground
A local Butchers Hill resident, Maxine Taylor, used wood chips to create a parking pad at her woodsy, stable-house that she renovated. She lives in the house and also has her studio in the space. The city ordered Ms. Taylor to use either asphalt or concrete, both impermeable surfaces. This article provides a lively discourse on the conflict over green options. There are some gnarly transitional issues involved in moving to a greener community. Most conflicts involve building codes that have not caught up with sound environmental practices

Our favorite quote, from Ms. Taylor:
"I though there was way too much concrete," she said. "I didn't know about sustainability or runoff. I was just trying to be...what's today's word? Green?"
The city's own Sustainability Plan for a "cleaner, greener" city calls for removing impervious surfaces citywide to reduce the runoff into the storm drains and into our dying Chesapeake Bay. In fact, the Parks & People Foundation, with help from city grants has removed 20 acres of pavement. In place of the pavement, they planted trees, grass and flowers to soak up rainfall.

Its a loopy time.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

One Year in 120 Seconds

We have been hard pressed to post in the new year. Life is swirling around us. So, we'll post this time-lapsed video from Oslo, Norway, before we lose our way. This one has nature, environment and architecture (you will see a vernacular house in the background!). It sets a beautiful tone. Provides a quiet relief. Lasts more than :30 or 140 characters. Ironically, this visual speeding up of time, reminds us to slow down and crack open each day.

Friday, January 8, 2010