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Design Like You Give a Damn
Alex Steffen, 19 Mar 06

If you care about the future we're building, you ought to own a copy of Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises

Now, I'm biased. Co-author Cameron Sinclair is not only a WorldChanging contributor, he's also a close friend. Cameron's been a buddy, an ally, and sometimes a teacher.

But if I'd never met Cameron, Design Like You Give a Damn would convince me that I ought to know him. This book should sit on the desk of every designer, architect and engineer who believes that changing the world is part of her job.

Much of the book centers (as one might expect) on housing and shelter, but other fields (sanitation, planning, etc.) are covered as well, with overviews of illustrative design innovations in each field.

Many of the ideas here will be familiar to WC readers. Barefoot solar engineers, land mine detecting flowers, Hexayurt, Roundabout's PlayPump, the Mine Wolf, Watercone, Anti-Malarial Bednets. But there's plenty of material I'd never before encountered here, and, as an overall resource, it's indespensible.

Indeed, I am more and more convinced that 2006 is going to be the year when worldchanging approaches break big. More and more smart, dedicated people (in a number of fields) are turning their passion, skill and experience to bear on solving our biggest problems. Nothing could be more exciting, or more needed, but one of the challenges we all face now is keeping up with the best work being done in each field. That makes resources like this one all the more critical. Design Like You Give a Damn is worldchanging.

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I'm curious that few of the new meta design books out talk about redesigning capital and divorcing it from capitalism.

Posted by: Kevin Jones on 19 Mar 06

Thanks for getting us connected to this book. It looks like one that I would defintely like to pick up! Have you ever seen the Earth Ship homes in New Mexico? They have the most incredible designs.

Posted by: Curious George on 19 Mar 06

Thanks for th note about the book - you can find out more at

In addition to 80 case studies on projects around the world (including a section on politics, policy and planning) there is a history of humanitarian design from 1906-2006.


Posted by: Cameron Sinclair on 19 Mar 06

When will the book be open sourced?

Posted by: A. on 20 Mar 06

A, we have been figuring that out but many of the designs will appear as part of the open source architecture network... coming very soon.

I just finished up a stint in India and Sri Lanka and am in Biloxi so soon as I get home I can concentrate on the open source database.

Posted by: cameron Sinclair on 20 Mar 06

In the World Changing spirit, shouldn't you link to someplace like which will push the sale of the book through a (to people in the US) local independent bookseller rather than to

Posted by: Gene on 21 Mar 06

I am very much interested to have such valuable source of material so I can think and develop ideas for the victoms of Earthquake in Pakistan.

Posted by: Shahab on 21 Mar 06



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