By the People: Designing a Better America--the third volume in Cooper Hewitt’s series on socially responsible design, which began with Design for the Other 90%--examines how design is effectively challenging poverty and social inequality across America. The book explores current social, economic and environmental issues in America with a particular focus on marginalized and underserved communities.
By the People features design projects organized into six working themes: Act, Save, Share, Live, Learn and Make. It is a true manual--in format and content--featuring design solutions that expand access to education, food, health care and affordable housing; increase social and economic inclusion; offer improved alternative transportation options, and provide a balanced approach to land use between the built and natural environments. Cooper Hewitt Curator Cynthia E. Smith traveled to post-industrial cities, urban areas impacted by natural disasters, sprawling cities, places of persistent poverty and major metropolitan regions. Her research yielded nearly 400 potential projects from over 30 states and three indigenous nations (Navajo, Lakota, Pueblo).
Smith met with local designers, community members and organizations. Her research was guided by the following questions: where does poverty exist? Why are poverty numbers increasing? What populations and communities are most affected? Who are the individuals, organizations and networks that are creating innovative and systemic approaches through design? What are the local, regional and scalable design solutions?
In addition to the highly illustrated project profiles, By the People contains essays by, and interviews with, those designers and architects building the innovative and systemic approaches being developed through design.
Cynthia E. Smith serves as Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s Curator of Socially Responsible Design. Trained as an industrial designer she led multidisciplinary projects for cultural institutions. After earning a graduate degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School she joined Cooper Hewitt where she integrates her work experience with her advocacy on human rights and social justice issues. She co-authored The Politics of Genocide: U.S. Rhetoric vs. Inaction in Dafur for the Kennedy School Review; curates the Design with the Other 90% exhibition series; co-curated the Design Triennial: Why Design Now?; serves on international design juries; and lectures widely on socially responsible design.
Caroline Baumann became the Director of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in 2013. From 1995 to 2001, Baumann held several leadership positions at The Museum of Modern Art. Prior to that, she was Director of Development for The Calhoun School in New York City. Baumann is a member of the Royal College of Art USA, a NYCLandmarks50 Alliance member, a member of the Dwell On Design NY Advisory Board, and a member of the MAS Design First Advisory Committee. She earned a master’s degree in medieval art from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. She also received a bachelor’s degree in the history of art and French literature from Bates College in Lewiston.
Teddy Cruz is a Professor of Public Culture and Urbanization in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. He is known internationally for his urban research on the Tijuana/San Diego border, advancing border neighborhoods as sites of cultural production from which to rethink urban policy, affordable housing, and civic infrastructure. Recipient of the Rome Prize in Architecture in 1991, his honors include the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award in 2011 and the 2013 Architecture Award from the US Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including representing the US in the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale and “Small Scale Big Change” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2010.
Fonna Forman is a Professor of Political Theory and Founding Director of Center on Global Justice at the University of California, San Diego. She is best known for her revisionist work on Adam Smith, recuperating the ethical, social, spatial and public dimensions of his political economy. Current work focuses on human rights at the urban scale, climate justice in cities, and equitable urban development in the global south. She presently serves as Vice-Chair of the University of California Climate Solutions Group, and on the Global Citizenship Commission (advising UN policy on human rights), for her expertise on social and economic rights.
Cruz & Forman direct the UCSD Cross-Border Initiative, and are principles in Estudio Teddy Cruz + Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice in San Diego. Their work emphasizes urban conflict and informality as sites of intervention for rethinking public policy and civic infrastructure, with a special emphasis on Latin American cities. From 2012-13 they served as special advisors on Civic and Urban Initiatives for the City of San Diego and led the development of its Civic Innovation Lab. They are presently co-investigating a Ford Foundation-funded study on citizenship culture in the San Diego-Tijuana border region, in collaboration with Antanas Mockus and the Bogota-based NGO, Corpovisionarios.
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, is a research psychiatrist at New York State Psychiatric Institute and a professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia University. Dr. Fullilove has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities. She has published Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It, and The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place.
Theodore Jojola, PhD, Director, Distinguished Professor, and Regents Professor, Indigenous Design + Planning Institute, School of Architecture + Planning (SAAP), University of New Mexico (UNM), and was cofounder of the Indigenous Planning Division of the American Planning Association. He is coeditor of How It Is (U. of Arizona Press, 2007) and Reclaiming Indigenous Planning (McGill-Queens University Press, 2013).