“The mission of the Kounkuey Design Initiative, a project begun by Jen Toy and Chelina Odbert, is to generate and implement entrepreneurial landscape strategies in slum communities of developing countries. Their process is an iterative community process that provokes dialogue between residents, designers, technical consultants, government officials and the private sector. Since 2006, Kounkuey has been working on a pilot project in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. As a group, our strategy is practical: to reclaim waste spaces along the rivers that currently run through Kibera for new community amenities. Through the design of such a space, they seek to address priority concerns such as youth idleness, the few economic opportunities, and a complete lack of trash and sanitation services. They hope that by demonstrating the success of this project – physically, socially, and economically – the PPS (Productive Public Space) model can catalyze + kick-start the larger, more systemic programs out there for improving conditions in Kibera. PPS is a testing ground for different technologies + partnerships, offering the support of local leaders and the community, a replicable model, and, most importantly, a different perspective and potential solution to the ‘problems’ facing Kibera.” [from the “Structures for Inclusion 8” conference program, as organized by Design Corps and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2008]
See: kibera public space project
Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Sub-Saharan Africa, is home to over 1,000,000 residents, yet it has no trash collection system or formal dumping site and only 1 toilet per 250 people. Robert Neuwirth writes in Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World: “Some parts of Kibera … are so unsafe that you cannot walk from your hut to the latrine at night for fear of being mugged. So you either hold it until morning, or you use what Kenyans artfully but uncomfortably call “flying toilets”—you use a plastic bag and then, after sunrise, you fling it as far from your home as you can.”
KDI participated in the “smallBIG” show curated by Wes Janz for the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana in early 2010. Their contribution: a “Toilets Aren’t Supposed to Fly” poster, designed as part of a campaign to engage people throughout Nairobi in understanding the need for proper waste facilities in Kibera.
[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157623670970194″]