2011 may be remembered for its global disasters; from the New Zealand earthquake to the Japan Tsunami’s to the southern U.S. tornadoes this week. If there is any light amidst the tragedy, it could be the developments and improvements that arise from aid efforts.
Homes in Haiti
IdeaConnection recently published a case study about the rebuilding of Haiti. After the devastating earthquake in 2010 thousands of volunteers and aid groups flocked into the impoverished country to administer food, water, first aid and to start the rebuilding efforts. With many homes flattened the demand for housing was and is still high.
An innovation contest organized by ARCHIVE (Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments), sought housing designs that would prevent TB transmission, a major risk following the devastation.
The top five housing designs generated by this open innovation contest are going to be built during 2011 in St. Marc, Haiti – a coastal town approximately 100 km north of Port-au-Prince the Haitian capital. ARCHIVE hopes to replicate the model in other countries – demonstrating that among the poorest, housing can be a central strategy for improving health.
Out of the New Zealand crisis came an innovative earthquake protection device which will is being installed in new buildings at Wanganui Hospital to ensure they remain 100 percent operational after the disaster. Developers say the simplicity and lower cost of the device will fit well with construction methods used in developing countries that are most in need of such technology.
Advancing Aid Platforms
Several innovative aid options have evolved from the Japan crisis, where the need is still great. For example, www.quakehousing.com provided a platform to connect those in need with those who wanted to help by providing shelter or money. AudioDraft Ltd utilized a contest to create a Japan Relief song to raise awareness and generate funds to donate to the Red Cross.