Welcome to design490!

My name is Jennifer Sinclair and this is where I share about all things about humanitarian architecture from a graduate architect’s point of view.  To help people understand what architecture for humanity is, I will be writing on a vast range of topics from the beginnings of humanitarian architecture, current humanitarian architectural projects around the world and also sustainable resources and materials that are developing for the future in aid of humanity.


Why the name design490?

The name design490 simply means to design for 90% (design-for-90) of today’s population.  Its name highlights the importance of how humanitarian architecture can help reach 90% of the world through the knowledge and skills of design professionals.

Where it all began…

During my final year of university studies, I researched on post disaster reconstruction for a journal article.  It was then that my passion for humanitarian architecture began.

Coming across the book Design Like You Give A Damn (written by the founder of Architecture for Humanity, Cameron Sinclair), it completely opened my eyes to a shock reality.  At the time of publishing, 98% of the world was either too poor or have no knowledge of professional design services (Design Like You Give A Damn).  Which means only a minuscule 2% of the world’s population were actually receiving all the professional architectural services!!

I later came across the following:

“The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.” Dr. Paul Polak, International Development Enterprises

This has led me to ask:

  • What are 90% of the world doing to create their buildings?
  • Where are they gaining the knowledge and skills (if any) to build their houses?
  • How are they designing their homes and what effects might they have on the natural environment?
  • Does sustainability (cultural, economic and environmental) play any sort of role in their building elements?

So in an attempt to answer these questions for others and also myself, I have started this blog to broaden people’s understanding on how professional architectural and design services can enrich people’s everyday lives through their services to those in need.