Fortunate to be hosted the first time in Hong Kong by a private benefactor and able to work on invitation Cesar Harada in the Makerbay, we were working with a homeless community. We built little heaters, tents and modular furniture with and for the community. Designs were adapted to fit local resources and restrictions. Facing the coldest winter in 20 years and not allowed to enter homeless shelters if under the influence, a part of the homeless community preferred to stay high or drunk to fight the cold, rather then sober up. We also spread awareness about environmental pollution and how the Innovation Aid method can be part of the solution working with Tracy Mai’s CulCULTaMAP文化地圖. You find a full report about the situation of homelessness, trash and what we did using our approach here.
Invited by a large NGO to work in a Summer project with disenfranchised youth, we examined the situation of the street cleaners in the city. Then we used trash and common household items to improve their situation while consulting them.
Finally we presented our final product line to them. This served as an empowerment exercise to the youth as well as a way of hopefully improving the situation of the working poor in Hong Kong. You find a full report about this activity here.
The list of products that we hoped to introduce to the community include but were not limited to additions to their street cleaner cart (bumpers and reflection to reduce accidents, storage for personal items and drink, a net for the back of the cart to increase its cargo capacity), additions to their jacket (modular ice modules for the extrem summer), modular gloves (allow more air circulation), Modular Shoes (can be made smaller to decrease sweat), face masks with a smell pocket (to tackle the horrendous stench in some areas of their work), a modular hat (combining all best practices of existing designs) and a modular, size changing broom (the only product that did not pass the testing phase) .
In the summer time, we returned working with homeless communities building bedding, modular storage and water carts for the community together with a group of youth send by the Jump Foundation in the USA. An interesting detail here was the the beding just consist of bamboo allowing a lot of air and sweat to run through and around the body sleeping on the bed which is very important sleeping on the streets in Hong Kong in the summer time. Bedding from textiles or carton would be rejected as unfit for the climate.