The CO-COON - Feasibility 

The Brief

The plan is to create an ‘educational space’ for children, and possibly adults, living under the poverty line in less economically developed countries. The poverty may have occurred due to socio-economic issues, a natural or man-made disaster, or an outbreak of an epidemic. The ‘educational space’ should help them to escape for a time from their harsh reality and give them a safe environment to learn and gain essential skills.

Whilst volunteering in Pune, India, I saw first-hand how poor children are disadvantaged with their education: “One in four young people in developing countries are unable to read a sentence…[,] a “legacy of illiteracy”…” Disasters quickly escalate already existing problems. “Typically, the poor are the worst hit for they have the least resources to cope and rebuild.” In the short term, the ‘education space’ would provide disaster emergency support and education. In addition to saving a life by teaching survival skills, it offers the children affected by disaster opportunities to learn basic skills and literacy to break free from 

the poverty cycle for a better future for themselves and their families. For example, the ‘educational space’ aims to help children and their families to move on from the camps and rebuild more quickly. While at present, a small body of literature and voluntary organisations address disaster education, these are only short-term solutions for education after a disaster.

Biomimicry is the inspiration for the ‘educational space’. People have a closer connection to organic shapes and, therefore, tend to feel instantly more relaxed and safe. I have a keen interest in biomimicry as a way of solving problems and using it as a design tool to influence the outcome. Because the ‘educational space’ is to be placed in an area of poverty, mainly after a disaster has occurred, it needs to be easily assembled with minimal experience required. Additionally, it will be better if the design is easily transportable as in some cases the best way to reach a disaster zone is by airdropping. The site is not going to be set in one place because it needs to be a structure that can help people in lots of different areas.

The ‘educational space’ is to be an interactive way of learning and gaining new skills by creating a sense of community through informal, yet organised community education. Information is more easily retained when playing or interacting with something. The space and scheme should be seen as a glimpse of hope for the people in the community.

- February 2018

Before designing and developing my final major project I needed to decide on a theme and a design brief. I looked at the different things I enjoy and previous experiences. I looked into deprived areas and disaster areas, I have volunteered in a school in India with underprivileged children. I wanted to help children and their families escape the poverty cycle. From researching the poverty cycle and disaster zone relief plan, I found there wasn't anything set in place to help children continue their education in refugee camps. My brief was to design a sustainable, educational space that can be placed within a refugee camp to help the children develop and learn new skills that can help them to escape poverty and improve their life, regardless of the unfortunate circumstances they have faced. The initial designs are to help creatively think about the brief, using maquettes to help demonstrate each idea.

To view, the design journal click here.

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