How do you design a solution with the power to lift Canada’s 300,000 homeless and at-risk people out of poverty? What can be done to shift the perception that the condition of homelessness is “normal”?
In Toronto, OCAD University students were challenged with these questions in the university’s annual Design Competition, Four by Six. Over a four-day period, 19 student teams researched, consulted experts in the field and collaborated to develop solutions that challenge the status quo and change the lives of the homeless.
The first place submission, Revolution, suggests an amendment to Canada’s Constitution Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect social welfare funding. In second place, Toronto Beyond Homeless, a concept to give people a virtual home on the web that helps them develop social connections, which in turn could lead to employment opportunities. Other winning concepts suggest awareness campaigns paired with matched donations online towards housing, or mentoring solutions that bring the homeless and those with past experience together to form a community of support.
The winning teams:
First Place, $2000: Revolution – Reid Langille, Sarah Crossley, Mary Bulnes Velez, and Maximillian Wessman in third-year Industrial Design, and Fiorella Martinez, third-year Advertising.
Second Place, $1000: Toronto Beyond Homelessness – Nikoli Berda, Mandad Kazentabrizi, Daniel Sookdeo and Sina Afshani in fourth-year (thesis) Industrial Design.
Third Place, $500: home=x – Brad MacDonald, third-year Advertising, and Jen DeVera and Sarah Lever in third-year Industrial Design.