Yerwada slum settlement community. Photo: © SDI. Full photo caption listed below.

Lecture: Cynthia E. Smith

September 14, 2012
5p Lecture
Steinberg Auditorium

Cynthia E. Smith, the Cooper‐Hewitt, National Design Museum's Curator of Socially Responsible Design, will deliver a lecture titled Design Exchange as part of the Sam Fox School Public Lecture Series. Following her 5p lecture, all are invited to attend the public opening of the Kemper Art Museum's fall exhibitions, including Design with the Other 90%: CITIES.

Smith will examine how a new wave of designers, architects, engineers, and philanthropists is working directly with people with limited resources, collaborating across sectors to find solutions. They are proving that design can play a significant role in solving the world's most critical problems. Informal settlements—dense, lacking access to basic services, proper shelter, jobs, and other advantages cities offer—are expanding at an unprecedented rate in many of our cities throughout the global south. Projected to double from 1 billion to 2 billion over the next 20 years, a design exchange is taking place as regional and local governments struggle to keep up with the growth.

Trained as an industrial designer, Smith led multidisciplinary design and planning projects for cultural institions for over a decade; and after earning a graduate degree at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, she joined Cooper‐Hewitt, where she integrates her work experience with her advocacy on human rights and social justice issues. She co‐authored The Politics of Genocide: U.S. Rhetoric vs. Inaction in Darfur for the Kennedy School Review; curates the Design with the Other 90% exhibition series and co‐curated the 2010 Design Triennial: Why Design Now? She was named a "20/20 New Pioneer" by Icon design magazine and is one of Metropolis magazine' "next generation of young curators. She has served on several international design juries and lectured widely on socially responsible design.

Image caption

Informal settlement dwellers, SDI affiliate Mahila Milan, and architects discuss existing and new community layouts, Yerwada Slum Upgrade Project: Yerwada slum settlement community. SPARC Samudaya Nirman Sahayak, and Pune Municipal Corporation; with Prasanna Desai Architects and SDI affiliates: SPARC, National Slum Dwellers Federation, Mahila Milan. Mother Theresa Nagar, Sheela Salve Nagar, Wadar Wasti, Bhat Nagar, Netaji Nagar, and Yashwant Nagar, Yerwada, Pune, India, 2008–present. Photo: © SDI.