A Case StudyAt the edge
of the functioning United States, in Hale County, Alabama, the designer John Bielenberg is marshaling a class of design-minded idealists in a program called Project M. These mostly student volunteers spend a summer month translating their design skills into meaningful change.MISSION
VITALS Founded in 2003; 100 total people involved, about 20 active participants at any given time; two base camps: one in Belfast, Maine, and another in Greensboro, Alabama; individual projects have happened in Costa Rica, Iceland, and Baltimore.ACCOLADES
Design awards from institutions like AIGA and I.D.
; the Skandalaris Award for Entrepreneurship in Design and Visual Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, a $20,000 award that will help fund a 23-city Project M tour starting next spring.WHY IT WORKS
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE Establishing year-long fellowship programs for alumni; building two "creative villages" using converted shipping containers for low-cost housing in Alabama and Maine; a business called PieLab to promote community in Greensboro; a bike evangelism movement called NADA.UPDATE
: PieLab, a Project M offshoot, is trying to raise money for a new facility. The deadline is November 1, so head over to Kickstarter
and donate now.