18OctOn designing disaster relief architectural products

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My two cents …

While the 16th of October 2005 the New York Times discusses prophecies made on the recent devastating events, my response as a designer is to conceive solutions in the form of products that would support the after-shock of such catastrophes. While preventing earthquakes or hurricanes is still scientifically difficult, designing products for emergency support could prevent the usual consequences of natural disasters.
Indeed, the earthquake in Kashmir as killed around 40, 000 people, but also has left millions of persons homeless waiting for a threatening cold winter and accumulating rainy days that will certainly worsen the situation, and the population is then vulnerable to disease threats from the devastated public sanitation systems.
Relief supplies are in place, but it is necessary to empower the population by relocating them in a new home. Could it be then a priority to create an emergency structure involving the design of mobile homes, health centers and toys structure to provide immediate psychological relief? What if all the survivors could have access to such immediate structure encouraged by the government? What if products were carefully designed integrating local knowledge with comfort and necessary means of existence. Could it bring them away a little from the drama? What if these components were mobile and easily transportable to allow them to be at the desired location in a minute? An instant support.
The mission of design today is to offer concrete solutions to such gigantic social and economic disasters as did for instance Peter Brewin and William Crawford at the Royal College of Art by designing inflatable concrete and flexible long-term shelters for supporting the population after devastating events: ‘ The sacks can be easily transported to the necessary location. Water is added to the sack on site and the plastic inner can then be inflated to create a shelter.’

By Cati in product design



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