Design With the Other 90%: CITIES

August 17th — January 5th

Location: Mercy Corps Action Center

Hurry! Exhibit ends Saturday, January 5! For the first time in history, the majority of the earth’s approximately seven billion inhabitants live in cities. Close to one billion live in informal settlements, commonly known as slums or squatter settlements, and that number is projected to swell to two billion by 2030, pushing beyond the capacity of many local institutions to cope. An industry of innovation is finding brilliant solutions. Find out how in the West Coast premiere of Design With the Other 90%: CITIES, organized by the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

What: Design with the Other 90%: CITIES, an exhibit of 60 urban solutions for people living in temporary settlements, commonly known as slums. Curated by Cynthia E. Smith of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and on view at Mercy Corps Action Center and the Museum of Contemporary Crafts. The Presenting Sponsor in Portland is The Lemelson Foundation.

When: Opens Friday, August 17, 2012 and remains on view through January 5, 2013.

Where: Because of the scope and size, the six components in CITIES are showing at two Portland institutions: Mercy Corps Action Center (28 SW 1st Avenue, Portland, Oregon, 97204, 503-896-5747) features three displays entitled Reveal, Prosper and Access, and the PNCA Museum of Contemporary Craft, (724 NW Davis Street Portland, OR 97209, 503-223-2654) is host to Exchange, Adapt and Include. The two galleries are just 8 blocks from each other -- a ten-minute walk.

Hours: Beginning August 17, the Mercy Corps Action Center Gallery is open 11 am - 6 pm, Monday - Friday; 11 am - 5 pm, Saturdays. The Museum of Contemporary Craft is open Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am - 6 pm; First Thursdays, 11 am - 8 pm.

Cost: There is no charge at the Mercy Corps Action Center. The Museum of Contemporary Craft charges a $4.00 entrance fee.

Lured to the city in search of work and greater social mobility or fleeing conflicts and natural disasters, many urban migrants suffer from insecure land tenure, limited access to basic services such as sanitation and clean water, and crowded living conditions. At the same time, these informal cities, full of culture and life, increase opportunities to create solutions to the problems they face.

Design with the Other 90%: CITIES features sixty projects, proposals, and solutions that address the complex issues arising from the unprecedented rise of informal settlements in emerging and developing economies. Divided into six themes—Exchange, Reveal, Adapt, Include, Prosper and Access — to help orient the visitor, the exhibition shines the spotlight on communities, designers, architects, and private, civic, and public organizations that are working together to formulate innovative approaches to urban planning, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, nonformal education, public health, and more.

Cooper-Hewitt first explored solutions for the world’s poor in 2007 with Design for the Other 90%. On view at Mercy Corps from October 2009 – April 2010, this exhibit focused the talents of the professional design community on the needs of rural communities. From August 17 – January 5, Portland will host the second generation of this ongoing series, Design with the Other 90%: CITIES, calling out the need (Design with the Other 90%) for an exchange between professionals and residents – the “90%” living in urban settlements.

Recently on view at the United Nations in New York, CITIES' second showing will be in Portland, the only west coast city to host this exhibit. Challenging, complex and ultimately hopeful, CITIES asks the question – how can communities collaborate to create a new infrastructure for the poor that fosters and accelerates innovation? These informal cities, concentrating the needs, dreams, skills and drive of much of the world’s poor, are the new face of urban living for a vast swath of the earth’s population.

You can read an interview with Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Curator Cynthia Smith here.

Design with the Other 90%: CITIES is organized by

The Portland exhibit of CITIES received support from the following individuals, businesses and organizations:

Presenting Sponsor:

Additional Sponsors:
Hoffman Construction Co. • McKinstry Co. Charitable Foundation • Pacific Office Automation • Howard S. Wright Construction • Design Forum/PDX • The Oseran Family • Salvador Molly’s Restaurant • Rick and Halle Sadle • Glumac Engineering • THA Architecture • Jordan Ramis PC, Attorneys at Law • Waterleaf Architecture, Interiors and Planning • Anonymous • Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects • Shiels, Obletz, Johnsen • Eberwein Family • Mark and Ann Edlen • BOORA Architects

The Autzen Foundation • John & Suzanne Bishop • The Boeing Company • Brown Printing • Ed Cauduro Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation • Jackson Foundation • Linda & Bill Nicholson • PGE Foundation • RACC and Work for Art • Bonnie Serkin & Will Emery • The Standard • The Swigert Foundation

This exhibition’s presentation at the United Nations was sponsored by Citi

Generous support was provided by The Rockefeller Foundation

Additional funding was provided by Procter & Gamble, Deutsche Bank, Smithsonian 2.0 Fund, the Albert Kunstadter Family Foundation, and Smithsonian Institution’s Research Opportunity Fund.

For more information about Design With the Other 90%: CITIES, visit their website.