Author Archive

Living in Poverty Research

25, نوفمبر 2010

From the very beginning of the Innovations project, our group decided that we wanted to focus on poverty, and the people living in poverty near us. There is an especially high population of impoverished people in Georgia, with nearly 15% of Georgians living below the poverty line. Most living in Downtown and Metro-Atlanta.

For narrowing down our research, we needed to decide who we wanted to focus on. There are people living in poverty in permanent housing, homeless people, people at risk of homelessness, and people in between, who bounce around from homeless to sheltered.

There are a lot of people who live in poverty but are not considered homeless. These people have permanent housing situations, and try their hardest to successfully raise families. Most of these people are considered the Working-Poor. These people have jobs, but they are usually working at minimum wage and do not have the means to provide their families with the luxuries that a lot of Americans are blessed with, such as a meal each night.

A lot of the working poor are at risk for homelessness. This is because of the cost of housing. Minimum wage workers can not afford Fair Market Rent for a two bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States. People should not spend more than 30% of their income on housing, however, people working at minimum wage cannot afford housing at 30% of their income. This puts them at high risk for losing their residences.

When people think of poverty, especially in Atlanta, they usually think of the homeless. Homelessness is defined as: “the condition and social category of people without a regular house or dwelling because they cannot afford, or are otherwise unable to maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack ‘fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence’” ( Homelessness is not only the state of not having a home, it is also a mindset and a state of mind.

There are also people in between the state of being homeless and not. These are the people who live paycheck to paycheck, literally. They will live on the streets for a night or two, then they will get paid and take their family to a hotel for a few nights. Once they run out of money they will be back on the streets. These are also the people who will go back and forth between the houses of family members or church members. They do not have a permanent residence, but they do not have the mindset of a homeless person.

Our group is still in the process of doing or field research. We have met with Molly Williams, Facilitator of Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau for The National Coalition for the Homeless. She is a recent graduate of Georgia Tech, and has taken part in research of homeless women and children for over a year. We asked where she see’s the biggest need for innovation, and she told us about the growing population of homeless women and children. The statistics are shocking. Over 20% of the georgians living in poverty are children.

Molly told us that there are things that we do not think about when it comes to homeless women and children, for example, feminine hygiene. Women living in poverty do not usually have access to products that they need. Also, children who are in school lack access to supplies necessary for take-home projects, such as collages and posters.

There is certainly need for innovation in the population of Georgians living in poverty. We are currently setting up an interview with a homeless woman that Molly works with. We feel like we will gain a lot of knowledge and insight on the situation by hearing what she wants and needs.

Elevator Pitch – Living in Poverty

22, نوفمبر 2010

For the homeless community

Who are dissatisfied with shelters with function, but no form

Our innovation offering is making prefabricated good-looking shelters

That provides shelters that are easily put together and mass produced

This will provide quick shelters that look visually pleasing, unlike most shelters that are either quickly made or beautiful

Our innovation is a prefabricated, gorgeous, living community that is made in pieces and put together at the site. It satisfies both form and function.

Living in Poverty Problem Solving

22, نوفمبر 2010

In regards to all the homeless living in Atlanta, and all over the world, we would like to construct housing that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, these people living in poverty would rather live in an aesthetically pleasing home than an ugly one. Also, the homeless feel more secure, safe, and more part of the community when they live in better looking places. The problem is those nice-looking shelters usually take a multitude of time and money in order to be built. What our group is suggesting is that we make shelters that are aesthetically pleasing, but are also able to be mass produced, via prefabricated parts and an abundance of volunteers to put these shelters together. When we have the materials and manpower to accomplish this task, there will be safer, healthier, and overall better shelters for the homeless to live temporarily, but then escape out of their poverty.

Link to Homeless Dome Site

Homeless Domes, like the one above, can be mass produced, and are aesthetically pleasing. The only problem is that there is no sense of community.

StoryCorps Research [Assignment 1]

18, نوفمبر 2010


In 2003, StoryCorps was founded by MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay with the help of Sound Portraits Productions. StoryCorps gives people the equipment to record their lives, in the form of interviews or stories told to one another. The recordings are on public radio, online, and through weekly podcasts, and books (Listening Is an Act of Love). Once per week, segments are broadcasted on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Also, the stories are also archived in the Library of Congress and other archives around the nation. Since late 2009, StoryCorps has recorded interviews from more than fifty thousand people in every state in the USA.




Door-to-Door is the newest way of collecting interviews. It is also growing to be the most popular. With Door-to-Door, Facilitators visit community organizations, and the like, with sound equipment in hand. People are then interviewed in a quiet room somewhere in the facility. The Door-to-Door service “is the centerpiece of [the] Earned Income Plan and the primary way [StoryCorps] carr[ies] out funded Initiatives.”

GOAL: Collect more than 10,000 Door-to-Door interviews through 2014.


During every three to six week stop, the MobileBooths, or moving soundproof recording studios, pair up with local radio stations and broadcast interviews. Since the MobileBooth method has been in effect, they have recorded in 48 states (not Alaska or Hawaii). StoryCorps uses “support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a corporate sponsorship secured in partnership with National Public Radio.”

GOAL: Increase the capacity of our existing MobileBooths, allowing them to collect more than 14,000 interviews through 2014.


StoryBooths are soundproof recording studios with Faclitators and a Site Supervisor to help with the recording process. Though there are only StoryBooths in New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta, when working part-time, they each can collect over 500 interviews per year. GOAL: Operate and sustain one StoryBooth in each of four U.S. regions, collecting more than 10,000 interviews through 2014.



Interviews can either be done at an official StoryCorps site, or by following the instructions of the DIY guide. These interviews are then admitted into the StoryCorps archives.

Edited Stories

People can watch, listen to, or read the stories of others, which have been edited from the interviews. These stories are the most effective way to reach people, since they are on the radio, television, and even in school curriculum.


All the stories are archived on the internet, so everyone can listen to them. It is a way to connect the future generations.

People Involved

Executive Team

Administration Staff
Business Development Staff
Community Outreach Staff
Development Staff
Finance Staff
Human Resources Staff
IT Staff
Marketing & Communications Staff
Mobile Staff
Participant Relations Staff
Print & Animation Staff
Production Staff
Recording & Archive Staff
StoryBooth & Door-to-Door Staff


Current Initiatives

Griot collects African-American stories. Griot works with the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture

Memory Loss Initiative collects the stories of those with memory loss

September 11th Initiative collects stories centered around the tragedy of September 11, 2001. This initiative works with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

StoryCorps Historias collects stories of Latinos around the United States.

Future Initiatives

End-of-Life / Hospice Initiative
Prison Initiative
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) Initiative
Muslim-American Initiative
An Initiative to collect stories of people with cancer or other diseases
Asian-American Initiative
Veterans Initiative
Native American Initiative
Bar and Bat Mitzvah Initiative


Digital vs. Traditional Archiving

Most people associate archiving with books, collections, and libraries. StoryCorps takes archiving to a new level by taking history and recording it digitally. This seems very efficient and a lot easier than traditional archiving, however, a lot of people are uneasy about the technology involved. People who are less advanced in new technologies have trouble trusting that the history is safe in digital format.

Accessibility vs. Internet

How easy is it really to use StoryCorps? It is certainly easy to go online and listen to different people’s stories and interviews, but not all of them are as accessible as others. I have never tried to go record a story, but the company tries really hard to make it easily accessible to the public. Examples of this effort are the mobile booths and story booths. They have their story booths in highly populated cities like New York and San Francisco.


11, نوفمبر 2010

We are still made up of Virginia Bradbury, Elizabeth Slagel, and Tori Mansell.

Our topic is… duh duh dum… poverty.

Ten Thousand Villages & StoryCorps

10, نوفمبر 2010

Ten Thousand Villages

“One day all artisans in the developing countries will earn a fair wage, be treated with dignity and respect and be able to live a life of quality.”

Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit organization that helps artisans across the globe earn a fair wage. The program helps Third World people by sharing their stories and marketing their handcrafts in North America. The majority of items they sell are jewelry, home decor, and gifts, all of which handmade. The fair trade purchases made by Americans help artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The income helps provide them with food, education, health care, and housing.

The shopping experience in a Ten Thousand Villages store is one of a kind. The artifacts for sale are imported from all over the world and support a multitude of personal styles. The sales staff and volunteers are passionate about both the products and the mission that support their retail stores. There is currently a national retail network of 75 stores, along with multiple sales channels, Festival Sales, and a comprehensive e-commerce website.

We chose this project because of the people supported mission behind the program. It is interesting to investigate how an organization in North America can impact help artisans from all over the world. Ten Thousand Villages changes the lives of people who are not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Negotiations: Region vs. Accessibility, Social Class vs. Income, Fair Trade vs. Retail


“By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this great nation reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how truly great it is to be alive.”

-Dave Isay, Founder, StoryCorps

StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization that records oral interviews of people telling their life stories. Since 2003, StoryCorps has recorded more than 30,000 interviews, which they submit to the Library of Congress on CDs that are available to the world.

StoryCorps began in 2003, when they opened a “StoryBooth” in Grand Central Terminal in New York. They then moved to “MobileBooths,” which traveled across the States. Through the years, they have had special interviews with those affected by September 11th,, those affected by memory loss, African Americans, Latinos, and more. StoryCorps continued to open StoryBooths across the nation, including one in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2008 and 2010, StoryCorps released two New York Times best selling books, Listening Is an Act of Love and Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from Storycorps.

We chose to blog about StoryCorps because they process and organize individual, oral history. We found this organization significant because it gives illiterate people an opportunity to pass on their stories. When we think of design, we typically think of product design, not design of history documentation.

Negotiations: Interviewers vs. Interviewees, Oral Stories vs. Listeners, Accessibility of the website to users