Safer Built Environments for 90% of the World


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.


Add yours →

  1. Raveena bhavsar

    April 18, 2016 — 6:41 pm

    Hi Jennifer!!

    I’m a recent graduate from architecture in London and since my graduation I’ve been trying to pursue a life in humanitarian architecture. I’ve had the opportunities to work in high end architecture practice but have disregarded them to follow my passion for helping others! I came your website and I just want to say, it’s so good to see someone else who’s stuck by their passion for architecture regardless of whether others done quite understand what you do!

    I would love to get more involved, in physically building and designing for those that need help.. I just don’t know how to get started? How did your journey begin? And what have you learnt?

    I look forward to speaking with you.

    Kind regards,
    Raveena Bhavsar

  2. This is a great website and a great human and architectural inspirational resource. Thank you very much for caring and sharing.
    Best, Jay Venakki

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2018 Design490. Theme by Anders Norén.