The Buckminster Fuller Institute just announced the top seven finalists in the 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge from the competition’s strongest and most diverse pool of entrants to date! Now in its seventh year, the Fuller Challenge will award $100,000 to support the development and implementation of one innovative project with significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems. From an amazing floating health clinic in Lake Tanganyika to the Rebuild by Design-winning Living Breakwaters project, these seven proposals under consideration represent the strongest entrants that use a sustainable, whole-system approach to problem solving. Click through to see all seven finalists still in the running for "Socially-Responsible Design's Highest Award!"
The Force Majeure is a large-scale, holistic response to global warming and accelerated resource exploitation. Created by world-renowned artists Helen and Newton Harrison, the project combines the efforts of both artists and scientists to “reduce the entropy of planetary ecosystems in the face of human-induced climate change.” Their proposal has identified four research sites, where the Harrisons and a team of others will test their experimental methods.
The Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic is a water-based aid organization located on the world’s longest freshwater lake in Africa. Divided amongst four countries–Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Zambia–the African Great Lake borders massive, but isolated rural regions that lack access to adequate land-based health services and supplies. Hosted on a ship, this floating medical and research facility helps not only to improve public health, but also encourages riparian cooperation and security, builds capacity-building and education, and promotes environmentally responsible development.
The port city of Lagos, Nigeria developed its reputation as the second fastest-growing city in Africa largely by forced evictions and demolitions of homes. To defend the threatened Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront community from demolition, Lookman Oshodi of Urban Spaces Innovation created a comprehensive master plan to build resilience into the fabric of the 40,000-person community. Teaming up with key stakeholders and community groups, the plan proposes the preservation of the traditional lagoon-front culture, while introducing modern and sustainable solutions to catalyzing economic growth and revitalizing its built environment with low-cost, disaster resilient housing.
As sustenance for life, food infiltrates all aspects of our everyday lives. Thus, the Food Commons moves away from the restrictive and linear food production process and towards the “world’s first fully integrated system” that incorporates everything from the interest of farm communities to environmental health. This alternative and regenerative food system model is currently testing three prototypes in Fresno, Ca., Atlanta, Ga., and New Zealand.
The Thunder Valley Regenerative Community Plan was created as a response to the critical need for “self-sufficiency, economic self-determination, and ecological resilience” in the Indian Country. Developed from the input of the Thunder Valley community, this comprehensive strategy proposes building a locally-owned and operated housing development in the Oglala Lakota Nation’s geographic center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The community will also incorporate sustainable, net-zero features and the project will serve as a dynamic model for other Indian communities around the world.
The bonobo is our closest extant genetic relative, but they’re in danger of being wiped out by habitat destruction, commercial poaching, and human population growth. In order to protect this endangered species as well as other indigenous fauna, The Bonobo Conservation Initiative created the Bonobo Peace Forest, a protected and community-managed network of biodiversity-rich tracts in the Congo Basin. Rather than wrest lands from the local populations, the Bonobo Peace Forest uses a strategy to partner with community groups to help prevent deforestation while providing alternative economic avenues, such as ecotourism and field research training, to the indigenous peoples.
One of the winning proposals in the HUD Rebuild by Design competition, Living Breakwaters encompasses a whole-systems approach to bolstering coastal resiliency along the United States’ Northeastern Seaboard. The project, designed by the SCAPE landscape architecture firm, uses a multi-layered approach and includes systems such as ecologically engineered concrete breakwaters, “reef street” habitat micro-pockets, and educational programs. Not only will Living Breakwaters reduce the everyday risk of flood and storm damage, but the proposal also addresses long-term issues of maintenance, economic growth, and the possibility of ecosystem collapse.