Wondering where breakthrough ideas addressing today’s major crises are? Look no further, the entries to the 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge are now available for view in the Idea Index, an open-source database of solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
The entries listed in the Idea Index range from a radical solution to human transportation in the world’s largest cities to a strategy to dramatically increase crop yields and economic development in remote African villages. While the entries cover a broad range of topics, the common thread among them is a highly integrated approach to design - one that is simultaneously comprehensive, anticipatory and aligned with nature’s fundamental principles. This focus on an integrated design strategy is what distinguishes the Challenge and the innovators who have submitted their work from other prize programs.
These new additions to the Idea Index represent a growing pool of knowledge about how to tackle some of the most inexorable problems facing our global society - ready to be picked up and put into action by investors, philanthropists, designers, artists, policymakers, and anyone who wants to change the world.
The Idea Index is not just a static database of projects, it is an interactive hub for discussion and debate. The tools provided by the Idea Index allow users to comment on entries, contact the submitters, and engage in dialogue with the Buckminster Fuller Challenge community.
“The visionary solutions contained in the Idea Index are an demonstration of the intuition shared by many people that the solutions to our most pressing problems are ‘out there’ - designed by inspired and highly motivated individuals all over the planet. These are people who are not waiting for the mainstream institutions of the world to solve out problems for us! My best antidote to reading the morning’s crisis-laden headlines is to log-in to the Idea Index!” said Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Director of The Buckminster Fuller Institute.
The winner of the 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge will be selected by a distinguished jury and announced to the public on May 4th. The $100,000 prize will be awarded on June 6th at a conferring ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago followed by a panel discussion with our jurors, moderated by Susan Szenasy, Editor in Chief of Metropolis magazine and a celebration and reception featuring design innovator Bruce Mau. In addition to the conferring ceremony and reception, join us on June 5th for a presentation by Fuller’s architecture partner, Thomas Zung at the AIA Chicago and on the morning of June 7th to see a demonstration of Fuller’s unique Rowing Needle and a race of this super-lightweight watercraft on the Chicago River, organized by Carl Solway Gallery and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information about these events and to RSVP, visit www.BFI.org.
The Buckminster Fuller Challenge, a program of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, is an annual international design competition awarding a $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a solution that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.
Here are the 33 finalists of the 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge (more info on each project at BFI’s Idea Index):
YourOwnDemocracy.org, submitted by Gong Szeto
Beyond the Petroleum Era: A Proto-Cooperative Means for Re-mineralizing Coastal Regions, submitted by Pliny Fisk III, Co-Director, CMPBS
Sustainable Unit - An anticipatory approach to ecological livingry in the 21st century, submitted by Joao Amorim, PostModern Times
(C)urban Ecology: Micro-remediation and The City Street of The Future, submitted by Commonstudio
A Proposal for Bamboo Resource Systems for Social, Economic and Environmental Benefits in the Pacific Northwest USA, submitted by Jonathan Scherch, Ph.D
AIDSfreeAFRICA drug production in Africa, submitted by Dr. Rolande Hodel, AIDSfreeAFRICA
BerkShares local currency, submitted by Susan Witt, Executive Director, E.F. Schumacher Society
BK Farmyards, submitted by Stacey Murphy, Landmines Productions
Carnot-Equivalent Stirling Engine and Heat Pump, submitted by Berkana Technology Group (Berkana LLC)
Civic Ads: Public Smart, submitted by Nathalie Rozot, Photic
Climate Solutions Project, submitted by Tom Bowman, Principal, Climate Solutions Project, LLC
Cycle for Health, submitted by Joseph Agoada, Two Wheeled Foundation
DISCOVER Carbon Net, submitted by Hosung Chun, LEED AP
Dreaming New Mexico, submitted by Kenny Ausubel, Co-Founder, Bioneers
Ecocity Mapping For Urban Villages, submitted by Richard Register, President, Ecocity Builders
Green Flight World Link Initiative, submitted by Mike T. Voorhees, CEO, Skylite Aeronautics
Growing Functional Materials for a Sustainable Tomorrow, submitted by Eben Bayer, CEO, Ecovative Design, LLC
KickStart International - The Tools to Fight Poverty, submitted by Martin J. Fisher, Ph.D, Co-Founder and CEO, KickStart Intl.
Machineless construction strategy based on least physical strain to build cyclone resistant women’s centres in Bangladesh, submitted by Bonnie L Y Chu
Macrofacturing: Maximizing resources through distributed rapid manufacturing technologies, submitted by Jordan Brandt, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Mukuru BioCentres, submitted by Dyfed Aubrey, Urban Development Coordinator, GOAL
Operation Paydirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project, submitted by Mel Chin, Artist and Project Director
Sahara Forest, submitted by Charles Paton, Seawater Greenhouse, Ltd.
SubEx: Moving Small Package Freight through City Subways, not City Streets, submitted by Bruce Cahan, Urban Logic, Inc.
Sustainable Personal Mobility: The CityCar, the RoboScooter, and Mobility-on-Demand Systems, submitted by Ryan Chin, Ph.D Candidate, MIT Media Lab
Tensegrity-based Structural Systems Development for Ecologically-regenerative Urban Development Along Tropical Coastlines, submitted by Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology
The Bamboo Institute, submitted by Kurt Przybilla, Inventor
The GCH4, submitted by V.S. Gardiner, Industrial Designer
The SA Social Investment Exchange (SASIX), submitted by Carol Tappenden, Managing Director, GreaterGood South Africa
Water Harvesting to Promote Economic Sustainability, submitted by Roger Salway, Executive Director, Compatible Technology International
Watermill - Atmospheric Water Generator, submitted by Richard Weisbeck, Chief Technical Officer, Element Four
World Game Beta, submitted by Katy Barkan, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Images: Buckminster Fuller Challenge