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Entries in UNDP (82)

Monday
Nov062017

Smart Cities Up Close | 2013

 


Story: David South

Design and Layout: Solveig Rolfsdottir

Publication: Southern Innovator Issue 4: Cities and Urbanization

Publisher: United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)

Date: 2013

Smart Cities Up Close in Southern Innovator Issue 4.

Southern Innovator Issue 4 contents.

Meet Southern Innovator.

Southern Innovator Issue 4: Cities and Urbanization is published by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

The first five issues of Southern Innovator. The highly influential magazine was distributed around the world and each issue was launched at the annual Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo hosted by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

© David South Consulting 2017 

Tuesday
Aug152017

UN Contest Winner in "State of Total Bliss"


 

In the autumn of 1997, a national contest - Let's Make Life Better! - was launched to inspire and mobilise Mongolian youth between the ages of 20 and 30. The idea was simple: for youth to come up with the best ideas to "design their own small and local development project."

Launched with a cross-country advertising campaign, the prize of US $1,000 to implement the winning project (a substantial sum of money at the time) drew 580 project proposals by the contest deadline of December 15, 1997.

So many of the ideas were excellent, they were later to receive support from either the government, NGOs or international organisations. Read the story in the Blue Sky Bulletin newsletter about the contest's winner below:

Editor: David South

Publisher: UNDP Mongolia Communications Office

Published: Blue Sky Bulletin, Issue Number Six, May/June 1998 

"When the phone operator told me it was a call from the UN in Ulaanbaatar, I didn't expect I would be the winner - my uncle was almost in tears."

The words of 27-year-old UN contest winner Mr. Ciezd Nygmed tells it all. Speaking to a group of journalists at UN headquarters in Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Ciezd confirmed his joy: "I'm in a state of total bliss!"

On Monday, May 4 the United Nations awarded US $1,000 to Mr. Ciezd - a teacher from Bayan-Ulgii aimag - for his project to start a ger school for herder children who have dropped out of school.

"Herders don't want to send children to school without school supplies," says Ciezd, who has been teaching for six years at the primary school in Delwnuu soum. This means poor children end up dropping out of the school system - or never going in the first place.

The ger school will be set up in June in the summering pastures of 33 Kazakh families. A teacher will be hired for the 40 children in need of basic literacy skills. The school will operate from June until September.

Ciezd says there are many benefits to bringing the school to the children. In the school where he currently teaches, many children stay in dormitories and parents must pay for their food. The children attending the ger school will be able to eat at home, saving parents precious togrogs.

The project is already receiving support from local governors. They have pledged to help buy the ger, leaving more funds for school supplies and the maintenance of the school.

During his six-day stay in Ulaanbaatar, Ciezd received one-on-one counselling from distance education advisers at UNESCO, the UN culture and education agency. UNESCO has pioneered distance education in Mongolia, particularly in the Gobi desert. Mr. Monxor, UNESCO coordinator for non-formal education, told Ciezd this was the first initiative of its kind in Bayan-Ulgii.

He also spent some time in the newly-established United Nations Information Shop, a one-stop, drop-in resource centre on development issues. Ciezd particularly found the advice from donors most helpful in planning the future of the project.

In October 1997, the UN "Let's Make Life Better!" contest asked Mongolian youth between 20 and 30 to tell us how they would make life better in their communities. We wanted small projects that could significantly change the lives of people in one community. By the deadline of December 15, the UN office was flooded with 580 project proposals from across Mongolia. To speed up the selection of the winner, the Mongolian Youth Federation formed a panel of judges and selected the five finalists. Keeping in the spirit of the contest, the four runners-up receive gardening kits complete with trowels, watering cans, seeds and spades.

Cover stories: UN contest winner and visit of Jean-Claude Juncker to UNDP Mongolia (pictured with UNDP Resident Representative Douglas Gardner).

© David South Consulting 2017 

Saturday
Mar052016

Innovator Stories and Profiles | 2012 to 2014

 

Southern Innovator was initially launched in 2011 with the goal of - hopefully - inspiring others (just as we had been so inspired by the innovators we contacted and met). The magazine seeks to profile stories, trends, ideas, innovations and innovators overlooked by other media. The magazine grew from the monthly e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-South Solutions published by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) since 2006.

Southern Innovator visited South Korea's Songdo Smart City in 2012.

 

Thursday
Jul022015

3D Home Printing Landmark: 10 Houses in a Day

 

New UNOSSC banner Dev Cha 2013

The global South is experiencing urban growth on a scale unprecedented in human history, far outstripping the great urbanization wave that swept across Europe and North America during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Faced with growth at this pace, governments – both national and local – often become overwhelmed by the rate of change and find it difficult to cope. One of the most common complaints urban-dwellers around the world have is about their living conditions. Even in developed countries, creating enough housing to match demand can be a struggle.

Quality housing is crucial to human development and quality of life. Adequate living space and access to running water make a significant contribution to people’s health and well-being. Despite this obvious conclusion, millions of urban dwellers live in squalid conditions with poor sanitation, overcrowding, crime, pollution, noise and a general feeling of insecurity. Insecure people find it difficult to access stable jobs and suffer stigma for living in poor-quality neighbourhoods.

But many initiatives are seeking to speed up the pace of home construction.

These include the Moladi construction system from South Africa (moladi.net). Moladi uses moulds to assemble houses, so that the building skills required are minimal and easily learned. Built to a template that has been tested for structural soundness and using a design that produces a high-quality home both in structure and appearance, the Moladi system seeks to provide an alternative to makeshift homes that are structurally unsound and vulnerable to fires, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Another clever approach is a home and dwelling assembly system developed by architect Teddy Cruz (http://estudioteddycruz.com) (http://visarts.ucsd.edu/faculty/teddy-cruz) that allows slum dwellers to gradually construct a building in stages as they can afford it. It is earthquake-safe and fire resistant.

Another approach turns to the fast-growing technology of 3D printing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing). This technology has gone mainstream in the past five years in the form of desktop-sized 3D printers, or fabricators as they are sometimes called. The machines assemble objects in an additive fashion – layer-by-layer – using digital designs from a computer.

3D printers can make a complex object without having to resort to mass manufacturing. An accurate, one-off object can be created with the same precision as a machined object. Architects, for example, use the technology to make 3D models of their designs. And now a company in China is hoping to use 3D printers to make houses.

The WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. (http://www.yhbm.com/index.aspx) 3D printed 10 houses in 24 hours in Shanghai’s Qinpu district, reported Business Insider.

This landmark achievement was accomplished with a giant printer – 152 meters long, 10 meters wide, and 6 meters high – which manufactured walls for the house from a mix of construction waste and cement.

As a sign of the confidence the company has in the innovative construction technique, it built its own 10,000 square meter headquarters in one month using the same materials. The company’s chief executive officer, Ma Yihe, is also the inventor of the technique. It is a very flexible technology and the material can be tinted different colors according to the customer’s wishes. It is cheap to work with and is also less draining on environmental resources than traditional building materials.

The 10 houses consist of two concrete side supporting walls with glass panels at the front and back and with a triangle roof. They will be used as offices at a high-tech industrial park in Shanghai. The company has big plans, hoping to use the technology to build more homes – and even skyscrapers.

Competition is heating up as people around the world seek to perfect 3D technology to print houses to meet the growing demand for dwellings.

In The Netherlands, Dutch architectural firm Dus Architects (dusarchitects.com)  commissioned the development of a leviathan 3D printer so it could print entire rooms. Modeled on a much smaller home desktop version, the Ultimaker (ultimaker.com), this printer creates whole rooms that are then assembled into custom-built houses.

The 6-meter high KamerMaker (kamermaker.com), or “room builder”, is being used in Amsterdam to build a full-size house.

The project is called “3D Print Canal House” (http://3dprintcanalhouse.com/). The printer assembles the rooms individually, and then they are snapped together to make a house. The internal structure of the building blocks are in a honey-comb pattern, which is then filled with a foam that becomes as hard as concrete.

“For the first time in history, over half of the world’s population is living in cities,” Dus Architects founder Hans Vermeulen told cnet.com. “We need a rapid building technique to keep up the pace with the growth of the megacities. And we think 3D printing can be that technique.

“We bought a container from the Internet and we transformed it into one of the biggest printers on this planet.”

This technology can also easily use recycled waste materials and lower the pollution and cost of moving building materials around. The Dus Architects prototype house is expected to take three years to complete (so, still in its early development phase) and will look like a typical Dutch canal house with a pointy, gabled roof (http://www.build.com.au/gabled-roof).

One of the pioneering advocates for using 3D technology to address the global South’s urbanization and housing challenge has been Larry Sass, director of the Digital Design Fabrication Group (http://ddf.mit.edu/) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Three technologies have been developed at MIT since the 1950s that have made digital fabrication possible – computer numerical control (CNC), which enables computers to control machines; computer-aided design software in the 1960s; and 3D printing in the 1980s to make solid models using digital designs.

Sass told MIT’s Spectrum newsletter (spectrum.mit.edu) that large-scale 3D printing would mean “buildings will rise faster, use fewer resources, cost less, and be more delightful to the eye than ever before.”

He envisions a future in which architects will be able to send their designs by computer to a 3D printer and it will then be able to start “printing” the building or a house accurately according to the original designs.

The conventional way of making buildings has been stuck in the same approach since the 1800s, according to Sass. It uses highly skilled and extensive labour, it is slow and plagued by weather disruptions and urban congestion, and it is expensive, often using materials brought from far away.

Digitally fabricating buildings takes a radically different approach: the building is made in a series of precision-cut, interlocking parts and then assembled on site like a jigsaw puzzle.

“It’s the right delivery system for the developing world, because the developing world doesn’t have an infrastructure of tools, air guns, saws and power,” Sass said.

“Design and high-quality construction is mostly for the rich,” added Sass, who was raised in Harlem, a New York City neighbourhood with high poverty levels. “I’ve always wanted to figure out how to bring design choice and architectural delight to the poor.”

By David South, Development Challenges, South-South Solutions

Published: July 2014

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP's South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South's innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.  

Follow @SouthSouth1

Google Books: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qBU9BQAAQBAJ&dq=development+challenges+july+2014&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/DavidSouth1/development-challenges-july-2014-published

Southern Innovator Issue 1: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Q1O54YSE2BgC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 2: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Ty0N969dcssC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 3: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AQNt4YmhZagC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 4: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9T_n2tA7l4EC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 5: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6ILdAgAAQBAJ&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Thursday
Jul022015

Old Boats Become New Furniture in Senegal

 

New UNOSSC banner Dev Cha 2013

Every country has its fair share of waste and the remnants of past economic activity. Old cars nobody wants, discarded tins of food, old plastic bags, spare copper wire, cast-off clothing – all can have a new life in the right hands.

An intriguing twist on recycling is happening in the West African nation of Senegal. The country has a strong fishing tradition, and plenty of boats are used to haul in the catch every day. These boats are elaborately decorated and dazzle the eye when lined up on the beach awaiting the next journey to sea. But what to do with the boats when they have completed their service?

One ingenious social enterprise is turning the weatherbeaten but colorful boats into highly prized pieces of furniture that sell in the boutiques of Europe. The enterprise Artlantique (slogan “Made in Africa”) (http://artlantique.com) gathered together local craft folk, both masters and young apprentices, to tackle the challenge of re-shaping old fishing boats into furniture.

Artlantique’s founder, Spanish designer Ramon Llonch, then sends the furniture back to his shop in Barcelona, Spain where it is in turn distributed to shops around the world. Llonch ploughs Artlantique’s profits back in to expanding the business and hopes to hire more skilled craft folk in Senegal.

The idea is to create a “contemporary, modern design, which is above all 100 per cent African, as much in the material as in the making.”

Each unique piece of furniture is a riot of color, with planks of wood harvested from the boats creating an original and eye-pleasing pattern. The furniture has the weathered look expected of wood battered by years of exposure to salty sea water, and is streaked and branded with colorful patterns from its previous life as a fishing boat. The furniture items include cabinets, tables, benches, work tables, chairs, picture frames, coffee tables and even a fusball game table for lovers of soccer (football).

The catalogue that accompanies the website shows the families of the fisher folk, their boats, the workshop where the furniture is made, and the finished product. As the catalogue says, the boats “are stylish and elegant, their sides covered by many layers of paint, faded, and affected by rust from the salt and sea air, giving the wood a rich texture of different tones. Attracted by their beauty, and their history, we wondered whether after all the sea faring they had undergone, the wood would still be in good enough condition to begin a new life, to be ‘reincarnated’ into furniture.”

Negotiations are made with the fisher folk to acquire boats when they look like they have reached the end of their work life. The purchased boat is taken to a beach-side workshop and the craft folk discuss what to do with it. Young apprentices work alongside skilled craft folk, gaining the skills to make a high-quality wooden product capable of being exported.

The craft folk draw on their years of experience to add value to the final product. “Their contribution is essential as they suggest which type of furniture would be the most suitable to make,” Artlantique’s website explains. “They discuss their past and that of their forefathers: their cultural heritage, how to take full advantage of the wood, according to the size of the boat, and its color combinations.”

The furniture made from the boat wood has a high value because each piece is unique and can not be replicated. The raw “Samba” wood comes from an African tropical tree (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triplochiton_scleroxylon) and remains untreated by chemicals. It is seasoned naturally by the sea from its years of service as a fishing boat.

“This wood … has certain limitations, not only because it has a shape but also because it’s very damaged by the salt, the sea, the sun and the lime. But these artisans are very talented,” Llonch told CNN.

“Their creativity is not academic, they are like this by nature because [for them] recycling and reusing is not a fashion, it’s not a trend.”

Artlantique-branded furniture is now on sale in boutiques in Barcelona, Spain, Paris, France and Rome, Italy.

In Brazil, artist Sérgio Dido (http://www.artinsurf.com/art-dido.php), who lives in the dynamic beach resort town of Buzios (http://www.lonelyplanet.com/brazil/the-southeast/buzios), also salvages wood from fishing boats to create art with a surfing theme. The work is featured in the Art in Surf shop (http://www.artinsurf.com/index.php).

By David South, Development Challenges, South-South Solutions

Published: July 2014

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP's South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South's innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.  

Follow @SouthSouth1

Google Books: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qBU9BQAAQBAJ&dq=development+challenges+july+2014&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/DavidSouth1/development-challenges-july-2014-published

Southern Innovator Issue 1: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Q1O54YSE2BgC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 2: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Ty0N969dcssC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 3: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AQNt4YmhZagC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 4: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9T_n2tA7l4EC&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Southern Innovator Issue 5: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6ILdAgAAQBAJ&dq=southern+innovator&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.