"HE/DE the guide to the furnished city". ICT for social innovation, a Spanish case study.

Business & Innovation
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 17:30 to 18:00
stage E
Beginner
English
Talk

Tags: 

Short thesis: 

Abandoned furniture in the street is a very common thing in Spain. Spaniards are used to abandoning their furniture anywhere near public disposal containers, even in the city center. Furthermore, consumerism of the early 2000’s caused a large amount of furniture to be thrown away while they were still in very good condition. This is very bad for the environment, but fortunately Spanish people love to collect and refurbish abandoned furniture. In times of wealth, the only people to do that were non-resident students, artists, gypsies, and a few fans of “bricolage”, otherwise known as DIY repairs. Now that times are harder than ever, those people affected by the bursting Spanish property bubble, the economic crisis, and rising unemployment have embraced this practice. They are the main reason why promoting the habit of collecting and refurbishing abandoned furniture is so important. In order to support Spanish families and their needs, an innovative idea called "HE/DE la guía a la ciudad amueblada" (HE/DE the guide to the furnished city) came up. HE/DE is a multimedia guide whose purpose is to encourage Spanish creativity in the challenging times that arose after the deep economic and social crisis that hit the country, challenging its users to create and spread culture out of something already existing: abandoned furniture in the streets. The main goal of the project is to create a network of DIY repairs by giving them access to a community of people that share, collect, and refurbish furniture abandoned every day on city streets as a fresh and innovative form of sustainable livelihood, and not only as a way of subsistence of the poor.

Description: 

The idea behind "HE/DE la guía a la ciudad amueblada" started at the end of 2011, with a simple observation: Spanish city streets are always full of abandoned furniture, even in the city center. I was a student at that time, and I was looking for an occasion to develop a social innovation through Information and Communication Technologies. For me, an Italian designer living in Spain, the fact that people in Spain are so used to throw away furniture in the streets really was an unusual habit, but at the meantime I was fascinated by it.

Some of people recollect and refurbish furniture as a hobby, some others do it as a way of gaining money. These people not only have found a creative way of surviving during the deep economic and social crisis that hit the Country, but they are also cleaning Spanish city street from bulky wastes. An alternative economy is taking its first steps, but not without some embarrassment of the poor. HE/DE recognizes the value of this practice and tries to give it more dignity, providing a multimedia network and a highly interactive platforms, through which the community can share, collect, and refurbish furniture abandoned every day on Spanish city streets as a fresh and innovative form of sustainable livelihood, and not only as a way of subsistence of the poor.

"HE/DE la guía a la ciudad amueblada" relies on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which the community can share, co-create, and discuss user-generated content. HE/DE features a mobile application for iPhone and Android, and a responsive website suitable to work on every device and every screen size.

Users can access information regarding abandoned furniture in the street, which is loaded on-site directly by users, using the HECHOS and DESECHOS sections.

 What does desecho mean? DESECHOS are all the pieces of furniture that have been abandoned near public disposal containers in the streets, even in the city center. A large amount of these pieces of furniture are still in good condition, and with a coat of paint they could become very unique and creative designer items. Each DESECHO page includes a short description, photographs, and the selected object’s GeoTag. This information helps users find the location-specific information of the item they are interested in.  What does hecho mean? HECHOS are all the workshops, shops, cultural centers, etc., involved in creative recovery of furniture collected from the streets of Spanish cities. Each HECHO page includes a short description, a photograph, and a GeoTag of the concerned place. This information will help users to find the location-specific information of the cultural place they are interested in.  RECOLECTOR URBANOS (urban collectors) are able to explore the HECHO and DESECHO pages through geolocated maps and lists. The whole territory is also explorable through the smartphone’s Augmented Reality, and the content of HE/DE can be shared on the leading Social Networks.

HE/DE’s website also features a TRANSFORMACIÓN CREATIVA section. In this specific area, users may insert a tutorial of every desecho they collected from the streets of Spanish cities thanks to the guide, explain how they creatively and successfully restored these pieces of furniture and sell them to other users.

After winning the 2013 edition of the @Diversity Award, an EU funded competition searching for innovative ideas for the cultural and creative sectors in Europe, HE/DE is currently looking for socially conscious team members who are willing to contribute to the project, and sponsors/investors who believe in social innovation and enterprise as a tool for positive change. The world is social now, and the good habits HE/DE promotes can easily spread and become social, among with the natural imposition of a new cultural model of reference. The success (even if in many ways undeclared) the practice of collecting furniture from the streets already has in Spain is giving hope to the belief that a positive outcome lies ahead.

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