What I Learned in 2013: “Design With AND For”

The Village of Arts and Humanities sits in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. For over 26 years the Village has supported youth...

The Village of Arts and Humanities sits in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. For over 26 years the Village has supported youth ages of 5 to 18, in an effort to empower them. At the core of their mission sits a desire to change lives through creative entrepreneurship.

Over the course of 2013, I worked to build a Research and Development lab at the Village. The focus of the lab is to introduce the youth to storytelling, game mechanics, design thinking, and collaborative problem solving skills. Our ambitious goal is to revitalize the commercial corridor of the neighborhood though an effort that is designed by the youth and activated by the community.

I’ve learned more from the youth than they have learned from me. Within the children is an incredible spark. It glows brightly even in places where everything else seems so dark. My biggest takeaway is simple at its core but challenging to realize: Solutions to the neighborhood’s struggles rest within the youth themselves. Their potential is propelled by outside the box thinking, passion and creativity, but the opportunity requires adults to take the time to really listen.

While schools across the city are shuttered, the Village continues to find ways to sustain itself. A beacon in a neighborhood that is plagued by drugs, violence and economic disparately, in many ways it is a dot on a political map that the city has written off after spending millions on reports, surveys and outside recommendations. Meanwhile, the city has left the neighborhood out of the discussion of its own future.

So, as I reflect on 2013, I want to thank the youth of the Village for their creative spark and for teaching me an important lesson: Designing with AND for will enable us to achieve a better future. Within each of those children are ideas about innovation that their neighborhood truly needs.

This piece is part of a series sponsored by The GAP in which members of the 2013 GOOD 100 share important lessons they learned this past calendar year. Subscribe today to GOOD Magazine and receive the 2014 GOOD 100 edition this coming Spring.

NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less

Climate change means our future is uncertain, but in the meantime, it's telling us a lot about our past. The Earth's glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, but as the ice dwindles, ancient artifacts are being uncovered. The Secrets of the Ice project has been surveying the glaciers on Norway's highest mountains in Oppland since 2011. They have found a slew of treasures, frozen in time and ice, making glacier archeologists, as Lars Pilø, co-director of Secrets of the Ice, put it when talking to CNN, the "unlikely beneficiaries of global warming."

Instead of digging, glacier archeologists survey the areas of melting ice, seeing which artifacts have been revealed by the thaw. "It's a very different world from regular archaeological sites," Pilø told National Geographic. "It's really rewarding work.

Keep Reading Show less

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

Keep Reading Show less

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less