This article was very eye opening to me because it focused on the importance of thinking globally. Tim Brown mentioned visiting East Africa and looking into the study of microfinance. They spoke with Ugandan women in the field and discovered that there was a serious problem with technology. It is obvious that we take advantage of the technology we have here in the West; however, third world countries do not have the ability to replace or fix technology as easily as we do. They invented the universal remote transaction device that is easy to replace and cheap to fix. It also makes adapting to new languages easier by playing a paper printed keyboard over the buttons. This article proved that it is not only in the west where sustainability and advancement are important. Just because third world countries don’t have the same resources as us, that does not mean that they do not face similar problems. We have an opportunity to create new solutions in third world countries and view these people as a way to interact intellectually.
Design activism can somewhat relate to universal design, which is a concept that we interior designers focus on in all of our projects. Design activism focuses on a very broad audience and strives to meet the needs of as many people as possible. One of the main goals of design activism is to create an equal balance of the distribution of resources we have on this earth. Design activism also looks into the major issues that are obvious in our world and focuses on fixing these issues through design. On the other hand, active design proves not to be as broad, but more focused on particular problems. These problems are not necessarily large and affecting many people; however, active design uniquely designs to these smaller issues.
Human capital looks more into how humans can benefit from resources or products. In class, we were asked to look at different spaces that function properly and help connect the environment to the space. For example, my learning community looked into Gensler’s main office in California and on the website, it shared different aspects of the space that benefit the individuals who use the office. These aspects are examples of human capital. For one, Gensler provides an open space with many different types of working spaces to accommodate different people and their learning techniques. Another example is the amount of stairs in the space to encourage individuals to move throughout the space and be active at the same time. Lastly, this space has many different bike storage areas for people who ride their bike to work and also provide bikes and scooters for workers to use in the working space. It is important that we take advantage of the design in the sense that we encourage people to be healthy and happy through aspects of interior design.
One world problem that I see a lot of is homelessness and this is something that is much overlooked because these homeless individuals are looked at as a waste of space my much of society. This is a problem that I want to strive to fix and my learning community tried to think of ways to help homeless individuals when we were coming up with our Halloween party concept. For one, we made sure that all of the food that was brought to the party was donated to encourage people to look in their kitchen for food that they know would be going to waste anyways. We also wanted to employ homeless individuals around the area and also give them an opportunity to be around people on this spooky holiday. They were paid to help prepare the food and decorate the space and then were able to stay and hang out at the party afterwards. We also wanted the homeless kids to be involved so we asked people to donate old Halloween costumes that would otherwise be thrown away. We encouraged the kids to think sustainably and turn these old costumes into something that would meet their needs, whether it be another Halloween costume or a necessary article of clothing. We should not overlook these people and the unfortunate situations that they were placed in. Many people are quick to judge and assume that they put themselves in a homeless situation by being careless and lazy. However, we never know someone’s story unless we ask. We should work to encourage these individuals to become part of society again, not isolate them.
I appreciated Maria Thiry’s talk because she related sustainability not only to the apparel industry, but also to my field of interior design. She mentioned that the carpet industry is the most on track with being sustainable and they were the first group to truly try and benefit the environment with their products. I was somewhat aware of this through my internship because many carpet companies make it clear on their website. They show what is put in the carpet, how it is discarded and many other aspects of the manufacturing process. Maria also talked about “dirty laundry” and how many companies try to act like their products are sustainable and green, but if we were to truly look into their processes, we would see that they are harming the environment. It was unfortunate to hear that 90% of companies claim that they are sustainable but truly are not. She opened my eyes to the fact that if we all keep lying about being green and not taking it seriously, we will soon lose our earth and all the resources that it gives us for free.