Youth Design Studio: Project Inspiration

Julie Africa 817_cropped

Because very few of you out there have actually read our project application for the Cape Town 2014 World Design Capital, you may be wondering why we’re doing what we’re doing.  In case you’re behind the times and have no idea what we’re doing at all: Youth Design Studio is a sustainable design class that will teach secondary school students in Cape Town to research, design, and build a project of their choosing that will  benefit their whole community.  In the process, they will talk to their neighbors, city officials, university students, local professionals, and other people who will teach them about the world beyond their classroom.

Now that we’re all caught up, we’d like to share with you what inspired us to embark upon this journey.  Our story starts over the year and a half or so that Julie Goodness, the main project proposer, spent in Cape Town working on a Fulbright Grant.  Over the course of her Fulbright work, which focused on urban biodiversity in Cape Town, she had the opportunity to interact with and learn from people all over the city, all from different communities, backgrounds, fields, and perspectives.  Here is part of her narrative on what inspired her to create Youth Design Studio:

“In 2011, I spent several months interviewing City of Cape Town elected city councillors in a project regarding their knowledge of environmental issues and integration of these matters into their work. In addition to the information that I was seeking, I gained a deeper, richer perspective into Cape Town’s history, people, culture, challenges, and opportunities, as narrated by the people who are working to improve the city every day.

In one conversation, I spoke with a leader in the social development portfolio committee, who described her work with many of the poorer, more resource-pressed communities in the city. She often gives lectures and church sermons in these neighbourhoods, and frequently engages the young people in conversation. She asks them about their thoughts, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Once, in a community located within sight of the air traffic of Cape Town International Airport, she asked a boy what he wanted to do someday.

“Someday,” he responded timidly, “I want to ride in a plane.”

The official told me that she was heartbroken.

What I want to hear him say,” she said, her eyes sparkling with hope and energy, “ is, ‘Someday, I want to FLY a plane.’”

In this spirit, I have been inspired to create Youth Design Studio. It is to help Capetonians grow wings.”

February 18th, 2014 by imblog

Big News from Imagine More!


Here we are in Cape Town, working furiously toward making Youth Design Studio a reality!  Last night we pitched our project to the World Design Capital crowd, including potential investors and collaborators.  We’ve already had some wonderful feedback, including several people who want to volunteer to speak to the class.  We’re so excited that people want to be involved, and so awed at all the incredible, life-changing projects we saw last night!

More on that to come – our own pitch was a hilarious ton of fun, and we’ll tell you more about it when we can get some pictures and maybe a video up!  But in the meantime, our BIG news is that OUR THUNDAFUND CAMPAIGN IS LIVE!! If you’re not familiar with it, Thundafund is the South African version of Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform for budding enterprises.

You can find our campaign here:  BONUS: the World Design Capital organizers will MATCH our funding when we reach our first milestone of 10,000 Rand! (for our American friends, this is just under $1000).  We would love you to get involved!! Feel free to email us at with any questions, comments, or just to say hi – we’d be so excited to hear from you!

Let’s make Youth Design Studio a reality, together!!


February 12th, 2014 by imblog