Design and Poverty: A Review of Contexts, Roles of Poor People, and Methods

Design and Poverty: A Review of Contexts, Roles of Poor People, and Methods

ABSTRACT

Design is essential to fulfil unmet or under-served needs of resource-poor societies, supporting their social and human development. A great deal of design research has been undertaken in such low resource settings, and is discussed under different names, such as ‘community development engineering’, ‘humanitarian engineering’, ‘appropriate technology’, ‘design for development’, ‘design at the Base of the Pyramid’, etc. This has created an important need to know what has been examined and learnt so far and to plan for further investigation. To address this, we review a broad range of literature, with close examination of 30 design studies in this field. This reveals a multifaceted picture, showing a great diversity in investigation and reporting of attributes of context (income, rural and urban, design sectors, countries, and gender), the roles of poor people (consumers, producers, and co-designers), characteristics of research methods employed (e.g. descriptive and prescriptive, data collection methods, qualitative and quantitative aspects, and unit of analysis), and design topics. Based on the review results, we offer recommendations for further research, identifying concerns that researchers ought to have about this field and suggesting ways in which research in this field can be undertaken and reported.

KEYWORDS

Poverty, Design process, Design research, Developing countries, Frugal innovations

CITATION

Jagtap, S. (2019). Design and Poverty: A Review of Contexts, Roles of Poor People, and Methods. Research in Engineering Design, ISSN 0934-9839, E-ISSN 1435-6066, Vol. 30, no 1, p. 41-62.  DOI: 10.1007/s00163-018-0294-7

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DIVA: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:bth-16842

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Categories: Publications, Research