October 8 – October 25, 2018
By the People: Designing a Better America focuses on humanitarian design solutions in the modern world, examining how design is addressing social, health, economic and environmental challenges faced by communities throughout the United States. The exhibition is organized around six themes that embody collaborative approaches designers are taking to resolve complex issues. Included is the Beltline Atlanta Concept, a grassroots effort to save and transform four existing rail lines into a 22-mile green loop, aiming to connect 40 diverse neighborhoods with light rail, street cars, walking trails, bike paths, and parks; and a mobile market that brings fresh produce to a “food desert” in Chicago in order to reduce diet-related health risks. Investigations range in scale from a mobile phone public health initiative for expectant mothers, to sustainable approaches to infrastructure and land-use for the entire city of Detroit.
Organized by Cynthia E. Smith, Curator of Socially Responsible Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the exhibition includes objects, infographics and media to illustrate these new design approaches and to provoke questions about the dynamic role of design in providing innovative solutions.
Fresh Moves Mobile Market, Chicago, Illinois. Photography by Cynthia E. Smith © Smithsonian Institution