CBC news has launched a Tumblr blog last week to showcase their multimedia and interactive content. Picks include charts, maps, galleries and other types of content, like this interactive “game” in which you become the main investigator in a kidnapping case that actually happened in Vancouver a few years back.
IDEO launches HDC Connect
IDEO, the international design consultancy firm famous for its innovative design thinking services, has launched a new platform called HDC Connect in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The platform is a place for people working on human centered-design projects around the world to connect and share stories and experiences.
IDEO is responsible for creating the Human-Centered Design toolkit, a handbook detailing the process of creating and implementing solutions to specific problems in low-income communities. The handbook is downloadable for free.
Map Your World
The highlight of the TEDxChange conference for me last Thursday was the short video about “The Daredevils”, a group of children living in a Kolkata slum who have been mapping their community. The kids have been collecting specific data about health issues, such as which families got their kids vaccinated against Polio. They use a cell phone to mark which houses have gone or not through the vaccination process so that these families can be directly targeted by vaccination campaigns. By doing so, they’ve brought the vaccination rate from 40% to 80%.
It seems the video that was shown is not yet available on the net, but I found that the Daredevils have inspired another project called Map Your World, which provides similar cell phone technologies and mapping utilities to kids around the world. They were also the subject of a documentary film called The Revolutionary Optimists.
Watch the first video that was shown at TEDxChange:
Yet another great read from Design Observer: an article by John Thackara in which he reflects on the idea of risk and the place it has taken in our society. From banking to environmental policies, we have given up on designing sustainable systems and are now relying on transferring the risks – and damages – to third parties. This is how oil companies spend fortunes on damage-control PR services instead of limiting risks in the first place. Thackara also gives the example of Germany and its renewable energy policy, which transfers the environmental costs to other countries. Add to that the fact that our minds are not capable of thinking as rationally as we think, and you get a recipe for disaster.
Let’s start with the Radio Slum Project in Nairobi, Kenya, which aims at giving a voice to those living in the slums of Africa. The story is from Al Jazeera and is brief but informative.
Google Earth used by NGO in India
Next is a photo essay from French newspaper Le Monde telling the story of a NGO in southwestern India, Shelter Associates, which works with Google Earth to show slum dwellers where their new subsidized-housing will be located. Seeing the location of their future houses helps residents gain trust in the program and accept to leave their dwellings. To view the photo essay (in French) click here.
Drug-related deaths in Europe: what’s the story?
Another article that got my attention this week is from BBC News. A new synthetic drug is causing an overdose boom in Estonia and experts are concerned about the phenomenon spreading to other countries. Fentanyl is extremelly addictive and more potent and deadly than heroin. It is made in labs located across the Russian border. The article features a striking figure showing drug-related deaths in Europe:
Estimated mortality rates among all adults (15-64 years) due to drug-induced deaths
On top of the list comes Estonia (by far) but also Scandinavian countries, which I didn’t know where suffering from a drug-related mortality problem. Romania, Turkey, Hungary and Bulgaria, which do not have the highest standards of living, come at the end. I’d be curious to know more about this.
São Paulo residents build their own road signs out of frustration
Finally, in a run-down area of North São Paulo, some residents who were upset because the government didn’t seem in a hurry to put up traffic signs decided to do it themselves. There had been numerous accidents because of the lack of signs and bumps. After a child got killed by a motorcycle, a group of residents got together and built their own humps. The story made me smile because I love seeing people getting together to do something for their community when the government won’t do it for them. However their anger and frustration shouldn’t be understated. Road signs are a basic form of investment from municipalities. Their absence pretty much sends the message that the neighbourhood is not a priority for city hall. When added up to other such “messages,” it can lead to widespread discontentment and mistrust toward the government.
Read the original article from the Folha de São Paulo here.
Back next week with more links. in the meantime, you can get real-time updates on the Twitter and Facebook feeds.
David Alan Harvey, a Magnum photographer, is currently in Rio to shoot the latest chapter of his upcoming book. Harvey charges $1.99 to give access to his blog, where he posts several updates a day containing some of his shots and written observations. Interesting business model…
Filmmaker Gary Hustwit on Urban Development and City Design
This opinion column from last Sunday’s New York Times details 25 reasons to have faith in the future of the food system in North America, from smart supermarkets to thoughtful books and community initiatives. Exciting!