The African Bicycle: Design in a Development Context-Practice and Involvement

By Qassim Saad.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Interdesign-2005 in South Africa addressed ‘Sustainable Rural Transportation, Technology for Developing Countries’, a challenging problem for developing countries, especially their rural communities. The mainstream of design practices now address ‘sustainability’, and seek ways to use design knowledge and practices to achieve optimal sustainable solutions. In line with this direction, Interdesign-2005 initiated practices to incorporate the active participation of rural village people to understand their needs and desires, and then fulfil these by creating sustainable solutions. These practices seek solutions to the needs of sustainable rural transport, while also promoting job creation, with the aim of improving the quality of life for those in rural communities in Africa. This practical example has continued to progress: in 2006 the new designs for vehicles were built and tested, the goal now is to construct the first workshop for production. This study examines these cooperative efforts between national and international designers in advancing this practical example, demonstrating the role of design and cultural practices in sustainable development. It is also a reflection on how my involvement in this context has contributed to my practice as designer and researcher.

Keywords: Design, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Rural Transportation, Design Practices

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.57-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.671MB).

Qassim Saad

PhD Candidate-Industrial Design, School of Architecture and Design, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand

My recent research activities relate to design (products, process, services) and its role in promoting sustainable development for developing countries. Design in the context of development relates to the ways in which development programmes in ‘developing countries’ are enhanced through application of design principles and practices. Forging creative activities of design with development science and the political, economic and socio-cultural aspects of human life, has added greater depth to contemporary design discourse and opened new dimensions in our understanding of design and its definitions. The emerging uses of design tools to improve the quality of life for the wider communities in developing countries through sustainable use of efforts, resources and aids is the key role of sustainable development. These directions in research are contributing directly to my own ongoing practice as industrial designer, design educator and active researcher.

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