Fossil fuels are the biggest cause of climate change and are still our primary source of energy. Most energy is used in metropolitan areas. That’s why What Design Can Do focuses its Clean Energy Challenge on urban energy issues. Together with IKEA Foundation and many local partners we invite designers and creative entrepreneurs to rethink how we produce, distribute and use energy in our cities.
Energy is crucial for our daily survival and development. It is needed to produce and distribute our food, to keep us warm or cool, to deliver us clean water, to help us move around, and to make the products that we rely on every day. People who lack access to affordable or reliable energy live in energy poverty, which hurts their health, economic development, and quality of life.
Cities, home to more than 50 percent of the global population, consume about 75 per cent of the global primary energy supply — and that means they consume a lot of fossil fuels, emitting between 50 and 60 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Cities therefore offer us a huge opportunity to transform the way we generate and use energy: to quit fossil fuels, radically expand usage of renewable energy, and to secure clean energy for all.
What Design Can Do is a platform for the advancement of design as a tool for social innovation and change. Through our conferences, challenges, and media we support designers in finding solutions for the most pressing issues of our days. With the Refugee Challenge (2016) and the first Climate Action Challenge (2017) we’ve developed a challenge process that helps make ground breaking ideas reality.
Besides a global challenge in which participants can literally challenge their city to tackle different energy issues, this new creative competition, Clean Energy Challenge, also includes design briefs for five specific cities: São Paulo, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Nairobi and New Delhi. There are separate tracks and awards for students, professionals and start-ups.
This challenge aims to tackle different aspects of energy use in the metropolitan area, including home, healthcare, mobility, water supply, food and more. The specific questions in these areas are described in briefs that will be published on the challenge platform.