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Images from The Air We Breathe Exhibition

This past weekend, the winners and outstanding submissions of The Air We Breathe: The Chicago Clean Air Design Competition were revealed in an exhibition space during Pilsen’s 2nd Friday art walk.  The competition was hosted by the volunteer initiative, Design Makes Change: A Chicago Design Initiative, and called for design entries that would address the issue of air pollution in the Pilsen and Little Village communities arising from their proximity to two coal-burning power plants.  One of the interesting aspects of this design initiative was the focus on inter-disciplinary collaboration.  Graphic designers, product designers, architects, and urban planners all worked together to develop an innovative approach to exposing and addressing the detrimental health impacts of the coal-burning plants on these communities, and the entries were judged by a multi-disciplinary team – from designers to environmental policy makers.

The winning entry was The Community Voice Box by Jeff Munie and Bill Vassilakis.  The Community Voice Box aims to mobilize people through “community based participatory research,” which enables people to share local knowledge by offering their own relevant experiences through “mobile community forums” – Voice Boxes.  And of course, the sign of any cool and modern innovation, it comes with an app.

Other projects on display included the print campaign concept, Pilsen. Us vs. Them, designed by Moto, and a project developed by Trish VanderBeke and Pei San-Ng called Breathing Buddy, a solar powered filtering device that would be placed on school playgrounds and would display over time the build up of soot in the Buddy’s lungs, acting as a wake up call to those complacent about the effects of air pollution.

On Saturday, June 18 2011, attend the Clean Air Symposium from 11 am to 3 pm located at 1915 S Halsted in Pilsen.  Check out the upcoming schedule on Design Makes Change.

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