Inclusivity and space: The use of empty shops

A simple question: What is inclusive design? One might say that it is all about product development, public facilities and education. A local organization, One Bite Design, took four weeks to make use of an empty shop to demonstrate how to achieve Inclusivity by the use of space.

In the summer of 2017, several housewives, accompanied by their children with their well-ironed school uniforms, gathered outside of a ground floor shop at Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, waiting to take portraits for the new school year. With minimal decor and a handful of colorful boxes, this shop held the experimental project, the "Project House ".

The three founders, who have a professional background in architectural design and urban planning, hoped to create a project to directly improve the community and to encourage interaction in neighborhoods. The "Project House" convinced the shop owner, by offering a low rental fee, the project would accumulate popularity of the area. The project provided a short-term space to social welfare organisations which held activities targeting at the neighborhoods in the district as to promote social connection. In the hope that the project would eventually benefit the residents, social enterprises and property owners and form an inclusive society.

Under the theme of "Basic Necessities of Life - Food, Clothing, Housing and Transportation ", the debut of "Project House" in August this year, invited different local organizations or social enterprises to create various programs. A total of 23 groups participated on the project. The neighborhood connection and exchange were greatly transformed. One of the activities, "Little Bazaar Market", offered a great opportunity for kids to make friend who lived in the same district.

“Project House” also lined up with various sectors including the “new-comers” of stores and Café in the area . It also invited a vegan store to prepare refreshment for one of the movie screenings.

The awareness of inclusive design is further promoted thanks to KODW 2017 (Knowledge of Design Week 2017). Rama Gheerawo, Director of The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art, prospected for greater improvement of mass transit by adopting driverless vehicles; Human Understanding Design Centre from Seoul Medical Centre, Seoul Metropolitan Government, has been developing service designs to combat infectious disease and improve the medical system; A study of community health problems which caused by discrimination and estrangement in the Austin area  was made by Design Institute for Health, University of Texas at Austin.

  All the case studies are included in the book "Include. Design. Society. "published by Hong Kong Design Center, summarising all the topics discussed in KODW 2017 .Inclusive Design, the philosophy on which the conference was based. It looked at how we deal with society’s toughest issues – such as ageing, health, mobility, new technology, policy, citizenship and community. "Include. Design. Society. ", a collaboration with City Magazine, will be available on January 2018.

Project House, a 4-weeks experimental project demonstrated how to achieve Inclusivity by the use of space

The first event of “Project House” invited three hairdressers to offer free haircuts to local residents

"Include. Design. Society. "Published by Hong Kong Design Centre, a summary of KODW 2017(Knowledge of Design Week 2017) discussing Inclusive Design.