Right now there are 1.13 billion people with special needs, from youngest to eldest. Probably someone close to you is one of these people. Design inclusively, that is, with their special needs in mind, is difficult but an awarding challenge. That is the idea behind the latest Design Challenge by Metropolis Magazine, the leading magazine for Architecture and Design.
Whether you're young, old, pregnant or disabled, the World is a difficult place to live in. Yet 80% of disabilities are invisible to the wider population. For example, 350 million people have arthritis and 285 million people are visually impaired. By 2050, it’s expected that 908 million older people will live in urban communities - what needs to change?
The fact is that the solutions are possible and can be made anywhere, by anyone in any industry. Whether you're a Civil Engineer concentrating on public infrastructure (is there an easier way to make sloping curbs for wheelchairs?) to Electrical Engineering (How can I warn the Deaf in an apartment block of a fire 5 stories above them?), you can participate, but the winning entrant must think expansively and express his or her idea in broad strokes.
Take a look at this design by GrabCADr Quinn Turner, created for his Grandmother after she suffered a stroke. "she now cannot write without her handwriting being extremely shakey. With this design, she will be able to firmly be able to write once again, to send birthday cards to her 120 grandchildren!" This is a great example and possibly something Metropolis is looking for.
There is a substantial cash prize of $10,000, plus media exposure and great networking opportunities. According to Metropolis, "Past winners and runners-up have become leaders in their fields, receiving recognition from manufacturers, design firms, governments, design schools, and major NGOs, as well as media outlets such as the PBS television series design e2 and the Metropolis film Brilliant Simplicity." This year's sponsor is LINAK, leading expert in electric linear actuator systems. .
Who's judging? This year's batch of entrants will be judged by Patricia A. Moore, president, MooreDesign Associates LLC; Jonsara Ruth, founding director, MFA Interior Design at Parsons the New School for Design; Scott Walzak, LEED® AP, architectural technician, HOK, Washington DC and member of last year’s winning team; Gianfranco Zaccai, FIDSA, ADI, president & chief design officer, Continuum. The competition judging will be moderated by Susan S. Szenasy, Metropolis editor in chief.
Deadline is February 18, 2013. Go to www.metropolismag.com/nextgen for more information and updates. And of course, good luck!