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10 Percent

Welcome to the world of sustainable and socially responsible design. If you are the kind of person that believes design can make the difference within the human village that is our planet, you have arrived at the right magazine. You are about to embark on a journey that shows how designers can interact with communities and find solutions to problems through design that enhance and improve the quality of life within these communities.

The 10Percent initiative sees 10% of the Greenside Design Center College of Design’s (GDC) annual notional teaching and learning time devoted to community-based design intervention projects. This translates into the college ‘donating’ four weeks of formal curricula to community development projects. During this time, class structures are disbanded and replaced by inter-level and interdisciplinary design teams representing a mix of expertise, experience, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Each team works collaboratively to explore a given community’s need and the role design can play to respond to that need. The projects vary enormously, from designing information graphics to educate people in informal settlements about the proper care of animals, to designing affordable and easy-to-assemble shops for Spaza Shop owners.

The 10Percent initiative speaks to the imperative on South African Higher Education Institutions to include community engagement as a core responsibility, and has received international acclaim including:

  • Awarded the Design For All Award from the International Federation of Interior Designers/Architects
  • Endorsed by the Philadelphia University and the Royall Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • Selected as the focus of  the 2014 international Cumulus Conference to be hosted by Greenside Design Center (Cumulus is an international association of universities and colleges of Art, Design and Media)

Be Part of the Programme and Improve the World through Design

The projects showcased in here are school projects. We use them in our courses which teach students about design. If you teach design students, and would like to use any of these projects in your curriculum, please feel free to download any of the content and supporting files. If you do use any of the projects, upload your version of it once its complete (along with all you students documentation, references, working files and photos) so that we can grow our database of uber cool community engagement projects. Or, even better, upload one of your community related design projects, along with the brief, documentation, reference and photographs, so that another school might be able to benefit a community in another part of the world through your contribution.

Feel free to offer any comment or feedback on the successes and weakness of existing projects, and as an international design education community, we can resolve and improve projects so that they can be implemented properly and make the world a better place.


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