From TheCityFix: Practical Design for the Urban Poor


Originally posted on

The United Nations will be hosting an exhibition on design solutions to improve the quality of life for the urban poor. Titled, “Design for the Other 90%: CITIES,” the exhibition is by Cooper-Hewitt, the Smithsonian National Design Museum, and it is part of an ongoing series originally started in 2007 to focus the attention of the professional design community to the problems of the other 90 percent of the world’s population. “The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers,” says Dr. Paul Polak, the founder of International Development Enterprises, a nonprofit organization that creates income opportunities for poor rural households. “Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”

The exhibition will explore design solutions to the problems of rapid urbanization in developing countries and the marginalization of the urban poor. “Close to 1 billion people live in informal settlements, and that population is projected to swell to 2 billion people by 2030,” Dexigner’s Levent Ozler says, further emphasizing the rapid growth and concentration of an under-served population in urban areas.

Read the full post here.