We've made the 2024 Fast Company's World Changing Ideas list!

We've made the 2024 Fast Company's World Changing Ideas list!

Home for Humanity Receives Honorable Mention in Fast Company’s 2024 World Changing Ideas Awards*

New York, NY – May 15, 2024 – We are proud to announce that Fashion Girls for Humanity and ETH Zurich have received an Honorable Mention in Fast Company’s 2024 World Changing Ideas Awards. This recognition honors our innovative approach to providing DIY shelter designs for individuals displaced by conflicts, natural disasters, economic instability, and the effects of climate change.

There has been a significant increase in the number of people displaced due to natural disasters and conflicts in recent years. Yet, there is no centralized online hub that allows individuals to access DIY shelter designs, download blueprints, and view step-by-step instructional videos. The conventional international assistance model, which relies on intermediaries or donations, has revealed its limitations when major earthquakes strike or conflicts occur in remote places. Given the scale of destruction witnessed this year in the Middle East, there is a pressing need for a shift in how we think about reconstruction and rebuilding.

Architects have developed various shelter designs and constructed them around the world. However, plans, drawings, or construction instructions are often not shared. Government and international organization documents tend to be lengthy and cater to aid workers or skilled builders. Mass-produced shelters often prove challenging to replicate using locally available materials. While DIY YouTubers have shown building skills, they do not provide downloadable drawings or comprehensive plans. With basic technology, can we now offer a complete solution encompassing designs, material lists, plans, and construction guidance for individuals who want to rebuild their lives anywhere in the world?

**Our Solution**

Fashion Girls for Humanity and ETH Zurich have embarked on a project titled "Home/Shelter for Humanity," addressing the escalating need for emergency shelter due to increasing natural disasters and conflicts. We have undertaken the initiative to establish an online hub designed to provide easy access to comprehensive shelter design solutions, including in-depth material specifications and step-by-step instructions. Our overarching vision extends into the future, where we aspire to create an open environment on the platform. This will enable users to actively participate by sharing alternative designs, innovative concepts, and valuable feedback, while leveraging the content for global disaster preparedness and self-resilience education.

Supported by Fashion Girls for Humanity (FGFH), Peace Winds Japan (PWJ), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), ETH Zurich has reviewed over 150 examples of emergency shelters to create accessible and practical designs. Their initiative focuses on leveraging local materials and traditional construction techniques to develop sustainable, self-buildable shelter designs. They plan to develop comprehensive instructional manuals and educational materials to teach basic construction skills, emphasizing community resilience through self-reliance. Key activities include workshops with school children and local communities, field visits, and the creation of a web database to disseminate shelter designs and blueprints.

Looking ahead, ETH Zurich aims to refine their shelter designs through collaboration with the Red Cross Foundation under the Humanitarian Action Challenge (HAC) Program. The project will involve a detailed literature review, site visits, and participatory workshops to tailor the designs to local needs. The expected outcomes include launching a web platform to make their research accessible to non-academic stakeholders, enhancing educational materials through community engagement, and promoting environmentally sustainable construction practices. The project aspires to set new standards for emergency shelter design representation, drawing inspiration from the Graphic Anatomy publication by Atelier Bow-Wow. This comprehensive approach seeks to democratize shelter construction knowledge and improve disaster prevention education.

This year’s World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 50 winners, 127 finalists, and 172 honorable mentions—with health, education, energy, and AI among the most popular categories. A panel of Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners from a pool of more than 1,300 entries across climate, social justice, wellness, politics, technology, corporate social responsibility, and more. The 2024 awards feature entries from across the globe, including the Republic of Korea, Brazil, and Madagascar.

**About ETH Zurich**

ETH Zurich is one of the leading international universities for technology and the natural sciences. Known for its cutting-edge research and innovation, ETH Zurich is committed to addressing global challenges and advancing sustainable development. The university fosters a dynamic environment where students and researchers collaborate across disciplines to create impactful solutions.

**About Momoyo Kaijima and Laurent Stalder**

Momoyo Kaijima is a renowned architect and founding partner of Atelier Bow-Wow, as well as a Professor at the Chair of Architectural Behaviorology (CAB) at ETH Zurich. Her work emphasizes the integration of traditional construction techniques with modern design to enhance community resilience. Kaijima has actively contributed to reconstruction efforts following major natural disasters, bringing practical and innovative shelter solutions to affected communities.

Laurent Stalder is a Professor at the Chair of the Theory of Architecture (CTA) at ETH Zurich, known for his expertise in architectural history and theory. His research delves into the socio-environmental dynamics of architecture, exploring themes of anonymous architecture and alternative representation techniques. Together with Kaijima, Stalder co-curated the Japanese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale and has significantly contributed to the field of architectural ethnography.


Fashion Girls for Humanity is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by fashion industry leaders Julie Gilhart, Kikka Hanazawa, Miki Higasa, and Tomoko Ogura in the wake of the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster. FGFH has evolved its mission to bring humanitarian services and funds to communities in need through its global network of fashion and design industry professionals.

**ABOUT THE WORLD CHANGING IDEAS AWARDS:** World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and bold concepts that make the world better. Judges choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to work on solving the problems that affect us all.

Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future of business. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication Inc., and can be found online at [www.fastcompany.com](https://www.fastcompany.com).