Humanitarian Design: One of Five INDEX Winners

The emerging field of “humanitarian design” isn’t confined to wealthy donors like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

With an opening focus on the microloan website, the NYTimes writes Winning Ways of Making a Better World, zeroing in on the five winners of the INDEX: Award 2009, the biennial design prize funded by the Danish government to celebrate examples of “design to improve life.”

The focus of design is moving away from superficial aesthetics (however beautiful, sleek or mentally arresting they may be) to designs that are focused on social problems and everyday quality of life.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is to open the latest installment of its social design biennial, Manifest, in October. Among the design books coming out this fall, IDEO’s president, Tim Brown, will explore “new design” in “Change by Design,” while Project H’s founder, Emily Pilloton, is picking up INDEX’s baton with “Design Revolution,” celebrating 100 products “that empower people.”