The Orange Social Design Award: help us make our cities more liveable

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Marianne Wellershoff, July 30, 2014 (12 Photo in the Gallery).

Vegetables for all and second-hand treasures: Smart design doesn’t just look good — it also seeks to do good. That’s why we’re launching the Orange Social Design Award, to be bestowed on ideas that look great and improve life in the city

Ok, let’s assume you have a few things lying around your house that you no longer need but still might be useful to others. A table lamp, a vase or a book, for example. You could give them away to friends or sell them on Ebay. You might also consider throwing them away.  

That would be the fastest way to solve the problem, but also the worst one.

People in The Netherlands have come up with a simple alternative to throwing things away — the “goedzak,” or “good bag” — a half-transparent plastic bag people can use for setting things that are still in working order out on the sidewalk for others to collect. Designstudio Waarmakers, the company responsible for creating the “goedzak,” says that “design for altruism” was the inspiration for the gift bags and not necessarily sustainability.

The generic term for the idea is “social design,” a global concept that has become the buzzword of the day from New York to Germany. It refers to design that aims to improve society. It includes ideas like urban gardening, the planting of flowers or vegetables in fallow lands in cities, exemplified by projects like the Prinzessinnengärten, or “princesses garden,” in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. It can also be applied to things like the “deposit rings” that are hung from public trash cans in the German city of Bamberg that enable people who collect bottles to make money to prevent having to rummage around the trash bin. Bottle collectors can make up to 25 cents a bottle when they turn them in at stores for their deposit.

More ideas like this are needed for the cities in which we live … //

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Related Links:

  • We’re designing our city: Good ideas with a positive impact – KulturSPIEGEL and SPIEGEL ONLINE are hosting the first Orange Social Design Award, A Special Page on Spiegel Online International;
  • World’s most livable cities on en.wikipedia is an informal name given to any list of cities as they rank on a reputable annual survey of living conditions. Three examples are Monocle’s “Most Liveable Cities Index”, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Liveability Ranking and Overview”, and ”Mercer Quality of Living Survey”. Liveability rankings are designed for use by employers assigning hardship allowances as part of job relocation. There have been numerous arguments over the expansion of liveability rankings for other purposes. However, the annual city rankings attract extensive media coverage, and are a popular topic of discussion …;


Other Links:

On a vote and a prayer: how evangelical groups could influence the election, on New Statesman, by Oliver Boullough, August 2014; Labour does not “do God”, in the words of Alastair Campbell, but a group of believers from Luton do – and they won the party the seat. Could their success be replicated?

The CIA just admitted that it spied on the US Senate, on ViceNews, by Jason Leopold, July 31, 2014;

A Venerable Jewish Voice for Peace, on Democracy Now, by Amy Goodman, with Denis Moynihan, July 31, 2014;

The Emperor’s Rage: Let Chaos Envelop the World, on Global, by James Petras, July 29, 2014;

United States: Working-class and left electoral politics back on the radar? on LINKS: International Journal of Socialist Renewal, by Dan La Botz, July 2014;

… and this;

… und noch dies:

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