Design Activism

This week we discussed the empathic and sustainable design through design activism and human needs. I was one of the presenters for the LOLA show today and in my topic I started to fully understand the difference and importance in design activism and human needs.

For my LOLA show presentation, I chose to discuss Gregory Kloehn. Gregory lives in Oakland, California where he creates tiny homes out of trash for the homeless in Oakland. He saw the need for shelter for the homeless and decided that he could come up with a renewable, innovative solution that involved going through trash to gather items that can be put together to create unique homes for people. He adds industrial wheels to these tiny homes so that they are able to be mobile just like the people who own them.

This topic could be related to both design activism and human needs. Kloehn’s tiny homes would be considered natural design activism because his designs rely on the availability of the resources he finds and his use of reusing man made goods. In human needs, according to the Max Need Matrix the tiny houses can be placed under the categories: protection, creation, identity, and subsistence.

The LOLA show helped me to understand design activism in a more real life situation. Design activism, in my opinion, is a way for someone to help those who need it more than they do. I find design activism as a way for designers to help their society by donating their time to people who really and truly need the help. I wish that there were a class where we learned construction skills so that we could actually help the community by creating things such as these tiny mobile homes. Even if it is just an elective, but it would be a way to have people become more aware of their environment outside of just college but the real world outside of that. The class could even just be looking at various problems in the community but making real changes instead of just discussing solutions. This way students would be able to see that they are just as able to help people just as easily as anyone else can. This project has really opened my eyes to see what creative solutions can be created by things that you would never choose but that are easy to acquire.

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