WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Architecture For The Rest Of Us

Architects and designers have long experimented with solutions to social and environmental issues, from early prefab houses to green buildings. Now, a growing movement among design professionals aims to take those principles further. Public interest design emphasizes a "triple bottom line" that incorporates ecological, economic and social issues in the planning process. We speak to professionals in the field who'd like to see the trend grow.

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Several TED fellows and speakers have used their talks to explore where art and design intersect with service and function. They say architecture, and smart policy, can make life easier for many and enhance the public good.

Tim Brown urges designers to play a bigger role rather than just create nifty, fashionable little objects. He calls for a shift to local, collaborative, participatory "design thinking" that digs deeper than the surface.

Cameron Sinclair demonstrates how passionate designers and architects can respond to world housing crises. He calls for open-source architecture to improve global living standards.

Timothy Prestero thought he'd designed the perfect incubator for newborns in the developing world -- but his team learned a hard lesson when it failed to go into production. A manifesto on the importance of designing for real-world use, rather than accolades.

Fumes from indoor cooking fires kill more than two million children a year in the developing world. MIT engineer Amy Smith details an exciting but simple solution: a tool for turning farm waste into clean-burning charcoal.


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