By the People

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Designing Recovery Housing
Jaunita Valdez-Cox is the Executive Director of LUPE (La Unión Del Pueblo Entero) and Brent Brown is the founder of bcWORKSHOP. Brown and his team at bcWORKSHOP ‘s project, RAPIDO Rapid Recovery Housing, is featured in the exhibition By the People: Designing a Better America, curated by Cynthia Smith, Curator of Socially Responsible Design at...
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Rebel Nell: Designing Against Defiant Odds
Amy Peterson, a Detroit lawyer, envisioned Rebel Nell—an enterprise that creates unique jewelry from scrap pieces of graffiti—after moving next to one of Detroit’s shelters. While walking her dog, she began talking to women she met, and after listening to their stories and challenges, Peterson started a social enterprise with a vision to help women...
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Designing Humane Borders
Responding to migrant deaths along the Arizona-Mexico border due to dehydration, minister Robin Hoover (along with former Navy engineer Tim Holt) designed a system for placing water in the desert. Their project, Humane Borders Water Stations and Warning Posters, is featured in the exhibition By the People: Designing a Better America, curated by Cynthia Smith, Curator...
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Designing with Empathy: By the People and Pratt
Cooper Hewitt collaborated with Pratt Institute students, who created socially-responsible designs based on experiences they had at two New York nonprofit organizations.
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Mapping for Social Justice
In 2012, math professor Laurie Rubel developed, with support from the National Science Foundation, the City Digits project to help high school students learn math by examining urban injustices in their own New York City neighborhood. Partnering with civic designer Sarah Williams, the team designed a set of place-based learning tools to integrate richer data...
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Designing Resilience to Climate Change: Workshop for College Students
In conjunction with the exhibition By the People: Designing a Better America, Cooper Hewitt collaborated with IBM to host a hands-on workshop that explored design thinking and the tools required to meet social, economic, and climate change challenges. Guest designers and By the People exhibitor Anthony Schloss from Brooklyn’s Red Hook WIFI initiative shared how their...
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Spatializing Citizenship: Public Culture at the Border
Excerpt from Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman’s essay “Where is the Public Today? Design for a New Civic Imagination” from By the People: Designing a Better America exhibition publication. Border Crossing Design by the people begins with re-energizing a public culture and building the capacity of divided communities for mutual recognition and coexistence. The San...
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Imagining Restorative Justice
In 2013, architectural designer Deanna Van Buren and social scientist Barb Toews established Designing Justice+Designing Spaces (DJ+DS) to facilitate the design of more restorative and healing criminal-justice environments through community engagement in jails and prisons. Their work is featured in the exhibition By the People: Designing a Better America, curated by Cynthia Smith, Curator of...
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By the People, By Other Means
Brooklyn-based graphic design studio Other Means discusses designing the book that accompanies the exhibition and their approach to "American" design.