A collection of inspiring design-driven initiatives currently being implemented in communities around the world

Newater Delhi, cleaning water with micro-algaes and bamboo

This project launched by designer Marie Etlin, supported by Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique (France) was labelled by L’Observeur du design 2018. Designed originally for the city of New Delhi (India) where access to clean water is a real challenge, the project consist in installing pits on a bamboo structure to thermally insulate the building. The algaes absorb CO2 and produce energy while purifying water for reuse within the building or for local agriculture

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A European circular economy initiative to deal with industrial wastewater

Zero Brine is a European Union Horizon 2020 Innovation Action project that advances circular economy business model solutions by redesigning the value chains of industrial wastewater. it is coordinated by TU Delft. It will implement four large-scale demonstrations at industrial sites: a water plant in the Netherlands, a silica factory in Spain, a coal mine in Poland and a textile factory in Turkey

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Dry toilets to tackle rural water pollution in India

Dr Kishore Munsi, a former professor of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B, India), has created a ‘Dry-San Hygienic Rural Toilet’. These toilets, like its name suggests, is a dry sanitation system i.e, a waterless system which has zero discharge. The project is been partially funded by the ministry of drinking water and sanitation along with CTech, an IIT-B incubated designed company

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The Night Loo, a Foldable, Portable Toilet for Women in Refugee Camps

Designed to help women avoid potentially dangerous situations inside refugee camps. Anna Meddaugh, product design student at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California (USA), designed a product in silicone that the user folds into a box shape. A packet containing a super-absorbent polymer can be dropped in that turns liquids into a dry powder that eliminates odors and reduces the risk of spills

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Make contaminated water drinkable

Sustainability Award Winner at the BraunPrize, French student designer Constance Richard developed a sustainable humanitarian aid, designed to make contaminated water drinkable. It is an open source project for filtering unhealthy water, using low technologies in the form of a ceramic filer and a sand filter, which eliminates pathogens present in the water to give people the necessary conditions to regain their autonomy

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Sustainable and decentralized water management in Mexico City

“La Quebradora Hydraulic Park” is a project led by architect Loreta Castro of Taller Capital and researcher Manuel Perló from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. It won the Gold Award from Global LafargeHolcim Awards 2018. It improves conditions in the dense urban fabric of the city by forming a greenbelt that doubles as water management infrastructure and is nearing completion

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Water from Air: The Rainmaker

One of the finalists for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2018 is Kwazi Zwewze. He designed The Rainmaker –  a prototype for dehumidifying the air, causing it to condense into droplets of water by the use of a thermoelectric cooler. It is designed using cheap and easily accessible material (CPU, SLA battery…). It is supported by the Department of Water and Sanitation of South Africa and sponsored by Cape Peninsula University of Technology

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Delft PhD student tries to bring circular economy a step closer

Dr Marcel den Hollander has created new tools to help designers create long-lasting products that will help keep the resources in the loop and ‘manage obsolescence’ by controlling not only the product’s spatial dimension (size, material, colour) but the temporal dimension too

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World’s first circular car made out of sugar built by TU Eindhoven student

Noah electric city car weighs only 350 kg and is made out of biocomposite with flax and sugar being the main component

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Mexico City’s Azoteas Verdes

For decades, Mexico City has struggled with dangerous air quality. In 1992, it was described by the United Nations as the most polluted city on the planet. Today, it has become a global leader in combating ambient air pollution. Part of the solution are azoteas verdes, the city-wide rooftop gardens

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Better Shelter – Why IKEA’s flatpack refugee shelter won design of the year

With years of expertise in squeezing complex items of furniture into the smallest self-assembly package possible, IKEA has come up with a robust 17.5 sq m shelter that fits inside two boxes and can be assembled by four people in just four hours, following the familiar picture-based instructions – substituting the ubiquitous allen key for a hammer, with no extra tools necessary

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MINI’s co-living destination in Shanghai

Car brand MINI is diversifying into urban development with the MINI Living building in Shanghai, which will see a disused industrial complex transform into a space for co-living with apartments, offices and leisure spaces.

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IKEA and SPACE10 reveal results of co-living survey

This survey seeks to inform better design decisions when creating future living spaces. To date, more than 7,000 people from almost 150 countries have taken the survey, and the results are now in

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Block by Block, a programme from UN Habitat

Since 2012, Mojang, the makers of Minecraft, and UN-Habitat have been collaborating on an innovative programme in which Minecraft is used as a community participation tool in the design of urban public spaces

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Espacio y Arquitectura CDMX

This unique exhibition space results from a project to revitalize the recreational space of the abandoned Scenic Railroad of Bosque de Chapultepec. The Railroad of Bosque Chapultepec was abandoned for more than thirty years. The restoration work has been carried out by C·Cúbica Arquitectos and Synesthesia architecture studies. The new space aims to recover both its original ludic nature and the memory of the city

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mHealth boom in China

The use of communication technology to deliver medical attention and information is booming. Companies like Alibaba are investing heavily in the industry, as well as establishing their own platforms (such as online health provider Ali Health)

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Alcove: This Founder Builds Smart Homes That Save Lives

Alcove sells carefully curated packages of smart home technology, all of which are connected with easy-to-use Alcove software. All of them are customized to make disabled persons lives easier

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Aspect Imaging, in partnership with frog design, has created a new MRI machine

“It’s baby-centered design,” says James Luther, a designer at frog who was the creative director for Aspect Imaging’s Embrace Neonatal MRI. “We got to be the advocate of the newborn in this case. They don’t have much of a voice.”

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Recent Carleton University graduate Caroline Smeenk on design for maternal care

The research is a thorough analysis of how design of new products or services can help women diagnosed with preeclampsia in rural communities, and what challenges may be presented. The goal is to identify solutions to improve the accessibility of diagnosis and monitoring of preeclampsia for women in rural and remote communities

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Japanese architect Kengo Kuma designs for Dassault Systèmes

Held together with 3D printed joints and utilizing high-tech The Breath fabric, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s “breath/ng” origami-like sculpture captures air pollution

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Smart Design for the Future – Trending in Sustainable Design

As hospitality designers, Hospitality Trendz analyze the latest emerging trends and lifestyles associated with socio-demographic changes. Mindful of these events, future trends have become more complex to predict. However, it is clear that our world—and, therefore, future generations— requires us to take urgent action

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RICS Summit Africa, 31 May 2018

High-level speakers from leading organisations will advance the debate on how built environment professionals can contribute to key issues such as inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa; they will analyse what role city leaders, innovators and businesses should play in finding sustainable solutions to the continent’s power deficit and how new technologies can impact

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Workspace furniture, ergonomics and well-being

Design Middle East had yet another exciting round of discussion on workspace furniture-current market trends, competition, satisfying customer’s demands, and how the brands are sustaining despite the innumerable inexpensive duplicate products coming into the market

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Mobiles and Health: Winds of Change

Mobile phones have been used in a wide range of health information and services, in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which seek to improve the social, economic and general well-being of people and the planet we live on. mHealth can generate efficiencies and cost savings, and is seen as a solution for major health system challenges in emerging economies

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BubbleBox, a mobile hygiene unit for migrants

BubbleBox was created by a team of students from Harvard, Paris Centre for Research and Interdisciplinary and SciencesPo as part of the Biopolis, a summer school program in Paris that combines biology, urbanism, and social innovation. This mobile hygiene module provides free access to showers and washing machines. Here is how it works: solar energy heats the water and ventilates the unit, and “shower loop” filtration technology recycles 90 percent of that water. The team hopes to make BubbleBox financially sustainable by renting similar units to music festivals but the initial purpose is to provide migrants and refugees with basic hygiene in the context of the current humanitarian crisis

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From solar torches to bioloos: five frugal innovations from around the world

As the Independent notes it, not everyone wants to send rockets into space and some design innovations are driven by effective purposes. The article presents examples such as Banka BioLoo. In response to India’s often-limited sanitation facilities – with 626 million people practicing open defecation, these bioloos tackle the lack of secure, dignified and eco-friendly places to go to the toilet in some areas of India. The bioloos treat human waste with bacterial cultures, meaning off-site disposal and treatment of excrement is not required. They can be found in 20 states across India, in everything from trains and schools to communities and hospitals

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Super Heroic dad designs quality footwear for children

Jason Mayden left his designer position at Nike to take care of his son who faced medical challenges. He decided to use his creative talents to help him heal, both emotionally and physically. Eventually, he launched a mission-driven business focused on providing quality play-performance footwear, apparel, and technology for children. He is attending the 2018 99U Conference conference taking place from 9-11 May in New York City on the theme of overcoming creative challenges

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Zipline, the world’s first national drone blood delivery service

In October of 2016, Zipline and the Government of Rwanda launched the world’s first national drone delivery service to make on-demand emergency blood deliveries to transfusion clinics across the country. Since then,  Zipline has flown more than 100 000 kilometres in Rwanda, delivering 2600 units of blood over 1400 flights. Zipline plan to revolutionise the way healthcare supplies are delivered to remote and impoverished areas with this design. The drone overcomes the challenges in terrain and gaps in infrastructure that plague healthcare practices. In 2017, the company set up shop in Tanzania to expand their reach in central Africa even further. This project was curated by Design Indaba

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A man-made skin graft that helps burn victims heal

By combining collagen skin grafts with healthy skin cells, two MIT researchers – Dennis Orgill and Ioannis Yannas – created a scaffold that heals burn victims faster.  The process consists in infusing healthy cells with a man-made skin graft to restore the injury much more effectively.In essence, they are working on technology that acts like living tissue. This project was curated by Design Indaba

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4 ways in which 3d printing is revolutionizing the healthcare industry

A techcrunch article that provides examples of ways in which 3D printing is already revolutionizing the healthcare industry: personalized prosthetics custom-tailored for each individual user and bioprinting and tissue engineering, a new technology that could  eventually do away with the need for human organ transplants

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Helsinki Smart region is a pioneer in smart well-being solutions.

The City of Helsinki is conducting a pilot project to offer innovative healthcare solutions together with businesses and third sector organizations. The Agile Piloting program has started in the district of Kalasatama with a pioneering pilot called HealthSkills. It combined an activity application developed by professional coaching software company Coach4Pro and the coaching services of Kisakallio Sports Institute. The HealthSkills pilot provided 20 participants with tools for an active life through the digital coaching application and group meetings with a wellness mentor. More information on upcoming pilots can be found here

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Phillips Children’s Automated Respiratory Rate Monitor (ChARM) in Kenya

The Philips Africa Innovation Hub in Kenya and Philips Research in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, have developed a Children’s Automated Respiration Monitor. The system is designed to automatically detect if a child has fast breathing by placing it on his chest through a smart sensing technology. This system was originally designed in 2015 for combating childhood pneumonia in low-resource countries. It has been on clinical trial in several countries since then

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Omnipod, an insulin delivery system designed by Continuum and Insulet.

This new system helps patients better manage their diabetes. It comprises of a disposable insulin patch with a miniaturized pump mechanism, and a remote “Personal Diabetes Manager” (PDM). Specifically designed with young users in mind, it’s wireless and tube-free without the discomfort and inconvenience of most insulin pumps. This first FDA-approved, wireless, tube-free insulin pump has received awards like the IDSA Gold Medal. It has recently launched a blog dedicated to highlighting success stories of users, PodderTalk

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Designing good mental health into cities: the next frontier for urban design

Layla McCay, the Director of Centre for Urban Design and Mental health, explains the reasons that city-dwellers are at greater risk of mental health problems and shows how urban design can support better mental health. Part of achieving thriving, resilient, sustainable cities is ensuring that citizens can realise their potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and make a contribution to their community

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