Through the collaboration between Designmatters at Art Center College of Design and Latin American NGO, Un Techo para mi País, The Safe Agua Project addresses the quotidian challenges of safe water access for Chile's poorest families living in slum developments (or campamentos) on the outskirts of Santiago.
The practical challenge for Safe Agua was to design concrete solutions for utilizing, transporting and storing water for families living in campamentos without running water. The extensive two-week field research undertaken by a team of 3 lead faculty and a multidisciplinary team of 12 students, became paramount in gaining a richer understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent to the project. This immersion in Chile allowed the students and faculty to gain experience with the communities and make personal emotional connections. Throughout the project the U.S.-based team continued to validate their design process through close contact with Chilean partners and the community of end users.
Safe Agua prototypes have been successfully field-tested with the families of the campamentos.. The Innovation team of Un Techo is currently working with government and corporate partners to scale and distribute these solutions across Chile.
Viewed as an example for the execution of socially driven design principles, The Safe Agua Project demonstrates the far-reaching potential for specifically tailored design research methodologies, collaborative processes, and creative solutions to achieve further relevant successes globally.