The Curry Stone Design Collaborative (CSDC) is a design studio created to equip underserved and marginalised communities with methods to design, develop and improve their own built environments.
The Curry Stone Design Collaborative (CSDC) is design studio created to equip underserved and marginalised communities with methods to design, develop and improve their own built environments.
Launched in India in 2016, CDSC operates as a true collective of social design practices, architects, civic planners working collaboratively with communities in need. It unites design practitioners and community in a common cause: addressing inequalities using design and technical tools.
At CSDC’s core is a community driven design process. It starts by spending significant time with residents to gain a thorough understanding of the complexities of their living conditions. It is only after the community is comfortable and familiar with the CSDC team that the work of collaborating on the design of life-improving solutions begins. The ultimate goal is for the community to be full participants in the initial process, and to be empowered to continue the work on their own for years to come
This community-first approach is born out of the direct experience of CSDC Managing Director Sandhya Naidu and the Curry Stone Foundation’s decade of researching and awarding a prize to global social design practitioners. It is their joint observation that traditional development metrics such as “scalability” and “replicability” are not necessarily applicable—or desirable, in community-based work. Design solutions tailored to a community’s unique needs have tremendous impact and can significantly improve quality of life.
CSDC is intentionally lean and nimble. While it plans to expand its work both within and beyond India, it will replicate its “community-driven” philosophy, rather than simply duplicating previous interventions. Instead of growing its permanent staff, it will invite local professionals and agencies to collaborate in each new community. Moreover, the Curry Stone Foundation has built a network of social impact design practices around the globe. Where appropriate, these will be invited to join CSDC’s work.
CSDC is primarily a design studio, but it is also an incubator for “patient development,” a riff off of what is called “patient capital” in the impact investment sphere. The Curry Stone Foundation is not looking for quick-fix solutions with purely quantitative success metrics, e.g. number of people housed or how many villages can use the same design verbatim. It is willing to wait for long term, qualitative metrics, even if they are arguably intangible such as human flourishing and quality of life. Further, it is open to changing its strategies as needed to remain relevant to the communities it serves.
See the CSDC in action in our video