Designers: Paula Kuhn, Alex Scott, Shira Kates, Arash Shirinbab, Amy Gustincic
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Category: Design for Social Impact
Award: Student Notable
The SPARK Project
SPARK is a hyper-local system that connects people in defined geographic areas, creating sustainable community by engaging human potential. A benefit of knowing your neighbor is easy access to limitless variety of skills that people have, but since people don't know their neighbors this all goes to waste.
Research shows that people in Western societies are gradually losing connection to their neighborhoods, and issues around loneliness, isolation, depression and detachment to community are increasing. This lack of connection and relation to community have negative impacts on individuals and society, including excessive individualism, alienation, violence, abuse and mental illness, ultimately leading to lower quality of life and lack of accountability to other people and the environment. This is a picture of unsustainable community.
People told us that they want to know their neighbors more than they currently do. If people know their neighbors, they have greater access to skills, support, community and resources. People use less, purchase less and feel more supported when personal connections are built.
Our team become excited by the notion that by creating human connections we can help to engage people more in their neighborhood community, bringing back a sense of cohesiveness, support, and belonging that leads to a thriving and sustainable community.
Core77: What is 1 quick anecdote about your project?
SPARK is a project about creating community in a world where many of us don't know our neighbors. We were surprised when we learned that one of our team members, Alex, lives just a few blocks from the sister of another team member, Paula, and they had no idea. Even though the project had not launched it was already helping people to make connections.
Read on for full details on the project and jury comments.