This year, Metropolis Magazine's annual Next Generation Design Competition is challenging emerging designers to define "inclusive design." The competition asks those who will design the 21st century to develop solutions that empower, advance, and include groups often overlooked in the design process - including, but not limited to, the rapidly increasing aging population and citizens with disabilities.
"There are 1.13 billion people who need special help worldwide. This is a difficult figure to wrap your head around," commented Susan S. Szenasy, editor-in-chief of Metropolis. "So, we decided to make this year's competition personal. We ask young designers everywhere to think of their own mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and friends. Their submissions should help their own relations, as well as others, to live better lives, beautifully."
The competition strives for solutions at all scales-systems, experiences, places, spaces, products, or any area that needs to be made inclusive and empowering. Submissions can be conceptual, in the early stages of development, near completion, or completed and ready for the next phase of development. The ideas must have the potential to be made, built, or otherwise realized.
This year's theme presents four possible areas of focus:
Pioneer a new frontier: 80% of disabilities are invisible to the wider population. What is the solution the world didn't realize it needs?
Produce products that serve: 285 million people are visually impaired, 6 billion people are left-handed, and 350 million people have arthritis. Be the one to design for the real masses.
Re-imagine urban living: By 2050, it's expected that 908 million older people will live in urban communities. What needs to change?
Build a better system: Consider your daily commute - what would become a roadblock if you broke your leg, lost your glasses, or couldn't hear? How can you make it a smoother journey for all?
The winner of Next Generation receives a $10,000 prize, but, more importantly, that person or team receives career-building international attention. Past winners and runners-up have become leaders in their fields, receiving recognition from manufacturers, design firms, governments, design schools, and major NGOs.
The deadline for entries is February 18, 2013.