Designmatters at Art Center College of Design has partnered with Un Techo Para Mi Pais (A Roof for My Country), a fellow NGO and humanitarian organization, to improve the lives of some of Chile’s poorest families. Safe Agua Chile, a project led by the College’s Environmental Design Department, challenged 12 students and 3 faculty to work directly with impoverished communities in Santiago, Chile to develop new tools and methods of storing, utilizing, transporting and conserving water in order to help break the cycle of poverty.
The transdisciplinary team includes students from Environmental Design, Graphic Design, Product Design, Transportation Design and the Graduate Film Departments who spent two weeks conducting field research in Santiago’s campamentos (as “slums” are known in Chile) to inform the design of unique interventions that meet the needs of these communities. The project not only addresses one of life’s most basic resources, but also seeks to effect social change throughout these communities and to expand students’ view of the power of design to impact society.
After returning from Chile, students worked in teams throughout the Fall 2009 term, designing and fabricating low-cost, innovative prototypes intended to solve specific water-related needs identified through field research. In developing projects that complemented one another, the entire class worked toward the larger holistic goal of improving the quality of life for families living in the campamentos. Ultimately, the initiative demonstrates the immense potential for responsible design to generate social, cultural and economic change.
Mariana Amatullo, Vice President and Director, Designmatters
David Mocarski, Chair, Environmental Design Department
Dan Gottlieb and Penny Herscovitch, Faculty, Environmental Design Department
Liliana Becerra, Faculty, Product Design Department
Julián Ugarte, Director, Centro de Innovación
Rafael Achondo L., Director of Development, Un Techo para Mi País
Andrés Iriondo Socías, Centro de Innovación
Askan Straume B., Centro de Innovación