#Disastercamp asks participants to design creative solutions for disaster response. Inspired by the 2011 Imagine Cup Emergency Response and Crowd Sourcing challenge, this course investigates the extent to which natural disasters are ever “natural” and looks to design as a methodology for creative problem solving. In this course, participants will engage with each step of the design process as they move toward a final concept that leverages social media and other tools to improve communication and coordination for disaster relief.
#Disastercamp was originally designed as a five-day summer module co-facilitated by Francesca Fay, Christina Jenkins, Dylan Snowden, and Eulani Labay and Francis Carter (Parsons The New School for Design). It was offered twice in July 2011. It was expanded to a 12-week course in Spring 2012.
The course syllabus can be found here.
READINGS AND RESOURCES, partial:
Selected chapters from Here Comes Everybody, by Clay Shirky
Excerpt from At Risk: Natural hazards, people’s vulnerability + disasters, by Ben Wisner
Small Change, printed in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell
Digital Volunteerism During Disaster: Crowdsourcing Information by Kate Starbird
One Island, Two Peoples, Two Histories (summary) – from Collapse, by Jared Diamond
Excerpt from Social Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards, by Susan Cutter, et al
Excerpt from Reframing disaster policy: the global evolution of vulnerable communities, by L. Comfort et al
Stop Disasters Game
We’ll begin with this presentation (PDF) about the course and a quick design challenge (design a gift!) to get into a creative mindset. On Monday, we’ll address vulnerability factors (like gender, class, disability, age, etc), and you’ll respond to this prompt by Wednesday the 21st.
Haiti / Dominican Republic
Consider the “vulnerability” factors in Haiti, why was the 2010 earthquake so devastating? We’ll read an excerpt from Collapse, by Jared Diamond, about how the island of Hispanola developed in very different ways; we’ll watch a video about the Haiti/Dominican Republic divide narrated by Henry Louis Gates; and we’ll play Ayiti: The Cost of Life, a game about the challenges that many Haitians face. We’ll take a look at Jane McGonigal’s TED talk about how games will change the world, and will play Stop Disasters, a game designed by the UN to raise awareness about the importance of disaster preparedness.
Haiti Board Game Challenge
The board game challenge can be found here. Precedents for this project include Riskland and Development Ups & Downs. After playing the games that you design, players should be able to answer two questions: 1) What factors made Haitians especially vulnerable to the 2010 earthquake, and 2) What can Haitians do to lessen their vulnerability? Though we won’t use it in class, I encourage you to check out Inside the Haiti Earthquake, a simulation designed to help outsiders understand the experience of being an aid worker, journalist and survivor.
Social Media + Disasters
We’ll watch Andy Carvin’s TEDxNYED talk about how social media is changing disaster response, and analyze some of the projects he discusses (Ushahidi crisis maps; Tradui; Katrina people finder, among others). Then, you’ll discover this challenge using the #disastercamp hashtag on Twitter and propose your own mobile solution to that disaster scenario.