Project M works on the "act locally" level. This innovative summer design camp was created by John Bielenberg in 2003 and was inspired by Samuel Mockbee, who founded The Rural Studio for Architecture in Alabama and won the MacArthur Prize for his work. Every year Project M brings together 8-10 young designers for an intensive design experience: the designers have to conceive and develop their own project. To date, projects have included work in Costa Rica and Ghana, an expedition to deliver donated supplies to Katrina victims, creating new parks on abandoned urban lots in East Baltimore, and, now, the Buy A Meter project in Hale County, Alabama.
The facts are simple: one in four families in Hale County are not connected to the municipal water system. Without this service, these families often get water contaminated with sewage. It costs $425 to bring clean water to a single home. It is clear that in the last decade, the rural poor in America have gotten poorer. But having safe water is not something most of us think of as a problem in our country. Let alone a design problem. [Via Design Observer.]