Welcome to the world of sustainable and socially responsible design. If you are the kind of person that believes design can make the difference within the human village that is our planet, you have arrived at the right magazine. You are about to embark on a journey that shows how designers can interact with communities and find solutions to problems through design that enhance and improve the quality of life within these communities.

The 10Percent initiative sees 10% of the Greenside Design Center College of Design’s (GDC) annual notional teaching and learning time devoted to community-based design intervention projects. This translates into the college ‘donating’ four weeks of formal curricula to community development projects. During this time, class structures are disbanded and replaced by inter-level and interdisciplinary design teams representing a mix of expertise, experience, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Each team works collaboratively to explore a given community’s need and the role design can play to respond to that need. The projects vary enormously, from designing information graphics to educate people in informal settlements about the proper care of animals, to designing affordable and easy-to-assemble shops for Spaza Shop owners. The 10Percent initiative speaks to the imperative on South African Higher Education Institutions to include community engagement as a core responsibility, and has received international acclaim including:

  • Awarded the Design For All Award from the International Federation of Interior Designers/Architects
  • Endorsed by the Philadelphia University and the Royall Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • Selected as the focus of  the 2014 international Cumulus Conference to be hosted by Greenside Design Center (Cumulus is an international association of universities and colleges of Art, Design and Media)


Click on one of the links to view details and descriptions about the brief, the community, and the design solution for each project. Some of the projects will also include template and working files for download, should you want to run a similar project.