Students Design Solutions To Global Water Crisis

Students Design Solutions To Global Water Crisis

NEW YORK.- AIGA, the professional association for design, today issued an ambitious call to action, tasking the next generation of creative thinkers with developing solutions to the global water crisis in its first annual Aspen Design Challenge, dubbed “Designing Water’s Future.” The international contest challenges cross-disciplinary student teams to develop design solutions that encourage responsible water use, provide access to freshwater to those in need and increase awareness about the importance of water conservation.

The rules and guidelines for the Challenge were distributed to thousands of faculty and students at more than 250 universities from Beijing to Boston, and are available to all with the launch of the Aspen Design Challenge website ( Winners will have the opportunity to refine and develop their concepts with world leaders and policy makers at the Aspen Environment Forum, and their solutions will be discussed at the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and the World Business Summit on Climate Change.

The Aspen Design Challenge is a joint project developed by AIGA and INDEX:, a global nonprofit design network, with the purpose of engaging the millennial generation in solving an emerging set of global issues. The Challenge is issued as part of the Aspen Design Summit, an international conference organized for leaders from business, the public sector and nonprofit organizations. The idea for “Designing Water’s Future” grew out of discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, led by Brian Collins, chairman of Collins:, a New York-based transformation design firm, and journalist J. Carl Ganter, co-founder of Circle of Blue, an international network of leading journalists, scientists and communications designers that connects humanity to the global freshwater crisis. AIGA has partnered with Circle of Blue and Collins: for their expertise, knowledge on the issues and ability to provide resources to ensure that the students’ ideas are realized and brought to international attention.


There are no restrictions on the type of solutions that students may submit. Print design, web applications, environment design, physical devices, data presentation tools and other approaches are all encouraged, as are proposals for the conceptual framework or method of dissemination that may propel these designs into public consciousness. Design students are encouraged to lead cross-disciplinary teams of engineers, artists, ethnographers, anthropologists and scientists, and to consider the social, cultural and scientific significance of water use.

“The global water crisis is a universally threatening and immensely complex problem,” said J. Carl Ganter, director and co-founder of Circle of Blue. “The causes are many—climate change, population growth, overuse—and the ramifications are felt in all areas from environment to security to economic development. This is where we need design students to step in. Design is the intermediary between information and understanding. Young people have the fresh perspective we need, and it is their future which is most at stake.”