Below is a list of considerations we recommend you factor into your project to ensure it is appropriate to the context. You might ask yourself these questions a few times throughout the design process – it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers in week one!
You can also check out our FAQ guide if you have questions that you can’t find the answers to: Some Big Tricky Questions: Explained.
- Sustainability of design – Consider the long-term sustainability of your project proposal. What measures could be put in place to ensure the successful continuation into the future?
- Community impacts and stakeholders – What impact will your design have on members of the community? Who are your key stakeholders? Is there anyone you haven’t included?
- Environmental impacts – What impacts, both positive and negative, will your design have on the local environment? What measures would you propose be put in place to mitigate any negative impacts?
- Cultural and social factors – Does your design align with and/or celebrate the cultural and social practices of people who live and work in your project context?
- Community engagement – How would you propose that EWB and our community partner(s) engage and consult the community throughout the project? Think about the initial design right through to implementation. What avenues are there for community members to become involved? What form(s) of community engagement might be required for your particular design response?
- Cost and economic benefits – What is an estimated cost of the project? Think about the ‘Capital Expenditure’ (initial cost to start) and Operational Expenditure (ongoing costs over time), which might include materials, implementation costs, operation/program delivery costs, and maintenance costs. Consider if there are any potential economic benefits to the community which could result from the project.
- Effective technical design – Is the technical design the most appropriate and effective for this context? Take the time to show what alternatives were considered and why you are proposing your design as the most appropriate. Previous EWB Challenges show that the most successful designs are often ones that are simple in design and can be implemented / prototyped (tested) rapidly in the community.
- Materials choice – Have you considered the use of locally available materials that are culturally acceptable and environmentally friendly wherever possible? Transportation of project materials and availability of materials which might be required for future maintenance are a significant consideration for projects in remote locations in which EWB works. Where might your proposed materials be sourced from?
- Delivery and ongoing management – How might you construct and/or implement the project? Is the design response one that considers local capacity for ongoing management, repair, and maintenance? As much as possible, does your design or system proposal align with locally available expertise?
Additional considerations for the Cape York context:
- Remote diagnostics – Many of the remote Indigenous communities CfAT work with have limited mobile phone reception on Country. When considering options for ongoing maintenance, you may explore opportunities for remote diagnostics. In other words, how can you make it easy as possible to figure out and address an issue if a key element of your design proposal breaks? How might you better engage key community members or users in assisting the process of remote problem identification and troubleshooting to avoid (as much as possible) the requirement for external support to be brought in, or make this as efficient as possible when required? A critical challenge for appropriate design is the sheer cost of mobilising technical expertise to site to resolve system breakdowns.
- Seasonality – A number of remote homelands become inaccessible in the rainy season, which is typically from December to April but can stretch from November – June (or even later in some more remote areas). How might your project plan work around the varying levels of site access associated with the wet season?
- Simplicity & Aesthetics – Two criteria specifically identified but often not considered in the design and development of engineering solutions are simplicity and aesthetics. ‘Simplicity’ of design was interpreted as how a project would be both built and maintained – ‘there’s no need to complicate things!’. Aesthetics are how your design solution looks and feels – the most cost effective solution does not have to be ugly!
- Disaster resilience – A number of remote homelands are subject to extreme weather conditions. For example much of Cape York is classified as Australia wind region C (cyclonic) and may be upgraded to D (severe cyclonic) as the number of severity of cyclones increases with the change in climate. Are there design decisions which might increase the cyclone or flood resilience of your proposal?
You are encouraged to include a response to each of the main design considerations in the design proposal submitted for any of the EWB Challenge Series programs. In most Design Briefs you’ll also find ‘context-specific’ design considerations which provide more detail on what a particular community partner and community representatives consider most important when designing and delivering projects with them.
Each program within the EWB Challenge Series has a rubric to assist external assosors review your work consistently. Each of the rubrics are listed below for your reference.