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Shannon Delaney is Moving Durham, NC to Action

By Kristin Gecan

October 21, 2019

Composting in Durham, NC
Delaney, an ID alum and design strategist for the City of Durham, works with residents to find a composting solution

What does Durham love even more than diverting food waste from landfills and contributing to healthier soil?” writes Shannon Delaney (MDes 2018) in a recent LinkedIn post. “Co-creating equitable, municipal services with the very community it’s going to serve.”

The first question for Delaney and her team when they started working on their composting project for Durham, North Carolina, was whether composting was something residents and the city could and would take on—whether it was desirable and how it was feasible.

It was also critical for residents to be part of the design process.

From Fast Company:

People get really attached to their methods. So finding a way that works for them without being prescriptive was interesting for us. One of the most interesting takeaways for me was people’s willingness to really try something, even if they had never done it before.
—Shannon Delaney (MDes 2017)

Now the city is working on its next prototype before it introduces a fuller pilot of the program.

The project is funded through a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Cities around the world are adopting human-centered design techniques to improve civic life and civic infrastructures. Through participatory processes like these, design can address large-scale problems effectively, ensure access, and promote sustainability. At the same time, communities come together.

Read more about the project from Fast Company and Bloomberg Cities on Medium.