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DESIGN: The Other 90% Exhibit

Exhibit: Design With the Other 90%
Exhibition Dates: Until January 9, 2012
Location: The United Nations, 760 United Nations Plaza, New York City 10017

Words: Aimstar

While the #Occupy movement has only recently helped to centralize the discussion on the inequality of living standards worldwide with specific regard to the uneven distribution of wealth (the 99 percent base of lower-income constituents versus a 1 percent cap of top earners), the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and others have been exploring the issues of urban planning and its affects for years. In 2007, they released Design for the Other 90%: Cities, a book that directly addresses the problems of “90 percent of the world’s population not traditionally served by the professional design community”, who live at the heart of metropolitan centers, but at substandard levels.

According to their research, the majority of the 7 billion people who inhabit earth live in cities, many of whom suffer at the hands of overcrowding; in addition to poor access to healthcare, clean water, sanitation and education. Via Design With the Other 90%, Cooper-Hewitt and the contributors who documented the changing “face” of settlements all over the world, specifically for this book, hoped to encourage awareness of these issues, while providing solutions for those developing regions as to how to deal with their exponential urban growth, and the ins and outs of how to create more sustainable metropolitan centers.

To be clear, urban planning, at least from their perspective is not about building condos or super-scrapers. The goal of the massive global project is to develop better standards of living, including, sustainable affordable housing, higher levels of public health and entrepreneurship—essentially, to help foster development within an emerging economy so that it can sustain itself for years to come, without bucking as a result of its growth.

While the book was a first of its kind, until January 9, 2012, an exhibit called, Design With the Other 90% , which further explores these issues is on view at the United Nations. Divided into six themes—Exchange, Reveal, Adapt, Include, Prosper and Access—the exhibit showcases proposals, designers, photos, videos, organizations, communities—all those working in tandem to usher in real change by bettering communities, using socially responsible design in real time, because everyone everywhere deserves it.

For more information on Design With the Other 90%, visit HERE

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