When people think about architecture and design, their minds don’t immediately go to volunteer work and social responsibility. They don’t readily associate these industries with non-profit organizations in the social sector.
In reality, architecture and design make significant contributions to the social sector. They are the designers of the houses we live in. They are responsible for the commercial architectural design of the buildings that we work in. They’ve created every other man-made space that we occupy every single day. Because of this, they have the huge responsibility for innovating. This is to help more people live in clean and comfortable places.
But the work of architects and designers move beyond just creating spaces for us. They also take part in building a bright future through these three things.
Practicing Architecture and Design that’s for the People
When catastrophes such as hurricanes and tsunamis strike somewhere around the world, our first instinct to help is by donating cash or relief goods. While this is certainly a noble act, there are many other ways to help. One of them is helping rebuild the communities that were destroyed by the catastrophe.
This is what Open Architecture Collaborative, an international nonprofit organization, does. The architects are literally rebuilding cities from the ground up. This is to help the people recover from the damages of the catastrophe. They did this for Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc in the state. It’s after thousands of people lost their homes and business establishments.
Their work is rooted in the idea of building for the people. They created public playgrounds for kids in Abuja, Nigeria. They’re building affordable housing in Chicago, U.S.A.
Using Design to Solve Social Issues
Design is a very broad industry that consists of multiple fields of work. There are people who work in the industrial sector. They designed products that are rooted in functionality. There are people who design the interiors of our homes or offices.
But no matter how different the job is, they can lead to the same purpose in the social sector. And that purpose is helping people in need. They are designing things to solve issues in communities.
This is what Ideo.org is doing. This nonprofit organization was created by the design firm, Ideo. Their work is rooted in “human-centered design.” They designed a budgeting toolkit for Latinx families in Mission District, San Francisco. They also built and designed nail salons in Zambia. It’s a place where young women can be educated in practicing safe sex. This helps lower the rates of unplanned pregnancies in the country.
Training the Architects and Designers of the Future
If there’s one thing that everyone in the social sector can agree on, it’s that children are the drivers of the future. Children, especially girls, are full of energy and innovative ideas. But they need mentors, resources, equipment, and a space to realize their full potential. The architecture and design industries recognized this.
Girls Garage, in particular, is a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to training girls to be builders. They teach them about how hardware tools can help them in their daily lives. They train them in designing and building houses.
Through their programs and workshops, they help girls find a sense of accomplishment in building something. With these girls, they’ve created a chicken pavilion in Richmond, California. They’ve created wooden chairs for elementary schools.
Architects and designers can always do more for people. They can always help build better houses. They can help repair business establishments that have been wrecked by a storm. They can design proper benches in public places so the elderly can rest for a bit when they’re outside.
Their work can be big and game-changers that benefit entire countries. But their work can also be simple yet impactful in small communities.
But the point is that their designs and creations can always help humanity.