The Year in Review
What are the most important buildings, products, or events of 2013 that have ramifications for the future?
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Activism and Design
While billions of dollars were being spent on sporting events, the city of Rio announced a hike in public transit fares in June, sparking widespread protests.
Courtesy Alex Carvalho
JUSTIN McGUIRK: HOLD AN EQUITABLE OLYMPICS
This summer’s protests in Rio spoke volumes about the way cities are made. A million people took to the streets to protest against poor public services. Many find it galling that billions are being spent on World Cup and Olympic sites when public services are in a parlous state. The protests asked: Who is the city for? Is it for FIFA and the International Olympic Committee? Rio, with its 1,000 favelas, ought to be an exemplar of how sporting mega events can benefit the host city, but the opportunity is passing.
McGuirk is a London-based writer, critic, and curator.
Christoph Gielen’s Untitled XV Arizona is part of his “American Prison Perspectives” series.
MARK LAMSTER: END THE PRISON-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
The U.S. has an entire shadow population in prison. How we treat that population is one of the great questions before us. Raphael Sperry and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility are doing incredibly important work on the ethical implications of building solitary confinement cells and prisons. America has to address this issue. We have privatized prison construction, and the results of that business model have been destructive to both families and our culture. We need to rethink our obsession with putting more people in prison, because it doesn’t work and it’s morally indefensible.
Lamster is the architecture critic at the Dallas Morning News.
The Zimba automatic chlorine dispenser is capable of delivering clean water to both urban and rural populations. It mixes chlorine into drinking water at the safe, required levels.
Courtesy Zimba and Laura Stupin
CAROLINE BAUMANN: THE PERSISTENT CHALLENGE
Water purification really equates to medicine in large parts of the world. Delivering clean water to communities is a serious design challenge. While there are many solutions, I admire Zimba’s automatic chlorine dispenser, designed by Suprio Das. The device delivers clean water by precisely mixing chlorine at the required levels. The scale, safety, simplicity, and low cost of this initiative is impressive.
Baumann is the director of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.