Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Chicago Clean Air Design Challenge

Design Makes Change, a Chicago design initiative, is hosting The Air We Breathe: The Chicago Clean Air Design Challenge.

This contest is aimed to challenge participants to a regional design addressing issues of air quality in two Chicago's most affected neighborhoods- Little Village and Pilsen. Living in close vicinity to the Crawford and Fisk coal-powered plants, these residents, along with the rest of the Chicago region, have high rates of asthma and other illnesses.

This is the critical environmental concern of the moment in your city and you are the designer. What will you do about it?

Design Makes Change is looking to see what designers in industrial design, graphic design, interior architecture and public space design will envision to raise awareness, address the health issues and improve overall quality of life for the people who live in these coal-polluted neighborhoods.

To create the best design, Design Makes Change encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration. Submissions can come from a class, group, partnership or individual.

Project Scope:
(taken from the Project Brief PDF)

Show your design phases from concept to resolution. If your solution is an object, structure, or space, show us your finished design through detailed drawings, 3-D renderings, and/or prototypes and physical models. If your solution is a graphic one, present all print, interactive media, or packaging materials with a plan for implementation.

Take a local viewpoint to the issue of poor air quality in the neighborhoods of Pilsen, Little Village, and/or an adjacent Chicago community that is most affected by the coal powered plants.
• Make your project relevant to the issue of clean air as this relates to health, the environment, and quality of life in these communities.
• Focus on design solutions that are viable means to solving the problem.

Project essentials
• Show depth of thinking and quality in your design
• Communicate the feasibility of your concept
• Show supporting evidence to prove relevance and importance. Tell us why your idea is the best idea.
• Show a strategy for implementation

The Jury
• Submissions will be judged by a multi-disciplinary team of jurors from the fields of design, environmental policy and advocacy, community development, and medicine. This will offer a holistic perspective in identifying the designs with the greatest potential for implementation and success. All submissions will be judged together regardless of discipline, professional, or academic. We are looking for the best solutions.

Important Dates
All submissions due April 18, 2011
Top entries announced May 6, 2011
Exhibition T.B.D

Exhibition Details & Awards
• Outstanding entries will be selected to be in a juried exhibition at a gallery spacein Chicago.

Awards will be given to 3 of the top entries with a grand prize of $2,000 in seed money for the most outstanding entry. The recipient of the grand prize will also receive professional assistance to help further develop and implement their design.

More details can be found on or by E-mailing

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