The Winners of the 2014 SEED Awards for Excellence in Public Interest Design

Six public-interest design projects have been announced as this year’s winners of the International SEED Awards, held by the SEED Network, Design Corps, and Parsons The New School for Design. According to the jury, these six are those which most creatively and successfullyaddress the pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our world today.

See the six SEED Award winning projects, after the break...


Comunidad Ecologica Saludable, Puente Piedra, Lima, Peru

Video above of Escuela Ecologica, another one of the Informal Urban Communities Initiatives being undertaken by faculty and students from the University of Washington (Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and Department of Global Health), collaborators from the Universidad Nacional Mayor of San Marcos, and design professionals from Engineers without Borders and Architects without Borders-Seattle.

The Comunidad Ecologica Saludable (Healthy Ecological Community) program aims to improve the quality of life of residents of an informal urban community in Peru. The project ingeniously converts fog into a water resource for drinking, household use and irrigation; twenty-nine families will soon use this new source of water to create gardens for food as well as spaces to relax and socialize.

From the Jury.The project integrates a structured landscape with the local natural and social ecology by harvesting fog droplets in a desert. The critical resource produced from the fog, water, is channeled to a system of food gardens. The design focuses on food cultivation, community solidarity and is an effective collaboration that is both global and local, social and technical. The project is transformative for merging ecological science with local technology into a hybrid system that is suited to local operational capacity.

Can City, Sao Paulo, Brazil

From the Jury.How can the discarded ordinary soda can be transformed through low technology to enhance an existing local economy, open new markets, and symbolize cultural artisanship? Developed by a young industrial designer, this structure is not a building but a modestly priced elegant portable street cart that uses old cooking oil to smelt cans into liquid metal poured into sand models to form craft objects reflective of Brazilian culture and environment. These can be sold to a growing tourist trade. The project encourages recycling, economic opportunity for poor to collect cans and participate – less than 20% of recycling in Brazil is done formally. One of best outcomes is capturing and recycling the cooking oil from street carts, which is otherwise very polluting.

The Potty Project, New Delhi, India

Courtesy of

From the Jury.The Potty Project sets the ground work for understanding that in a civil society the structures of inclusions need to be designed to define safe places for the daily life of each individual. As in Delhi and other cities, women live in fear for their lives or rape to use a community or public toilet due to the lack of sewage systems in slums. The Potty Project stands out as a statement about not waiting for government to act and resolve the issues of safety and sanitation in their community. The question is how this potty can be a catalyst for service upgrade. Inhabitants can effect small scale environments that remove sewage in reasonable way by introducing a system. This could be followed by a city as an i.e. of what could happen.

Towns Association for Environmental Quality Green Building Headquarters, Sakhnin, Israel

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The Towns Association for Environmental Quality (TAEQ) Green Building is the home of TAEQ, the first environmental organization that organizes funds and resources for the social, environmental, and economic development of Israel’s minority Arab population. Acting as a cultural meeting ground, the green building annually hosts 60,000 visitors who participate in workshops and training courses related to ecology and sustainable development.

From the Jury.The building and landscape reflect traditional Arab design and house programs about desert sustainability, inter-generational heritage and cultural traditions. Its beauty belies its true story, six Arabs communities located in Israel worked collaborative to overcome mutual suspicion, inter-governmental rivalry, funding issues, differences between elders and youth, and a harsh climate to structure an organization and a place to collectively search for common ground.

Community How-To-Guides, Detroit, Michigan, United States

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From the Jury.SEED Awards tend to feature the image of a group of smiling residents standing in front of a beautifully design community design and built building. The work afterward is less glamorous and difficult to capture in a photograph. It is design work that converts the values and lessons learned from demonstration projects, reframing existing public and private sector polices and procedures, identifying missing gaps in capacity, and translating to different cultures, for the community at large. With extensive community workshop experience, a network of community advocates and the design and building of spaces, this group has reflected about what these experiences can mean towards designing basic city building policies and procedures. A guide like this is a sign of hope that the Detroit communities are seeking tools that move a constant of crisis to the mode of daily productive rebuilding by minimizing the turbulence of existing agency procedures while aggregating individual efforts towards a common goal of defining a city wide inclusive set of rules of engagement.

Manica Football for Hope Centre, Bairro Vumba, Manica, Mozambique

From the Jury.How can the game of soccer (football), the design of sustainable community built spaces, directed towards the desire to help the war in Mozambique catalyze large institutional change of existing corporate and philanthropic agent methods of working? FIFA and Architecture for Humanity have been on the ground working from their individual perspectives to serve the needs for structures of inclusion in Africa. Each met shortcomings in their individual projects until FIFA recognized that needed Architecture for Humanity’s design skills. Together they learned to open their projects to a wider community audience. Soccer then moved from being a game to a space for healing and community building. The spirit of the building program moved from being sustainable to becoming a place to spur the growth of inclusive social ecology.


Re: Dimen Kam Minority Cultural Heritage in China

Walk [Your City]

People Organizing Place

See last year's winners here.

All projects will be presented at the fourteenth annual Structures for Inclusion conference, co-hosted by Parsons The New School for Design, in New York, New York on March 22 and 23, 2014.

Story via Design Corps

About this author
Cite: Vanessa Quirk. "The Winners of the 2014 SEED Awards for Excellence in Public Interest Design" 23 Jan 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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