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Build Change: Semi-Finalist for 2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

(DENVER, August 22, 2013) - Build Change has been named a 2013 Semi-Finalist in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, the prestigious annual design science competition named "Socially-Responsible Design's Highest Award" by Metropolis Magazine. The Challenge awards $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a whole systems-based solution that has significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems.


In Colombia, roughly 2.5 million homes are in critical need of upgrade, including those in urban slums. To reduce the risk for disaster, Build Change plans to build the capacity of local partners in Colombia to provide technical assistance to retrofit or upgrade their houses before an earthquake strikes. In turn, these partners will offer access to financing and technical assistance for housing retrofitting (structural strengthening) or upgrading to residents in marginalized urban communities. Build Change will also work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that retrofitting is understood, accepted and promoted at a national policy level.


"We know there are sustainable solutions to reducing the risk for earthquake disasters in developing countries," explains Dr. Elizabeth Hausler Strand, Build Change founder and CEO. "Winning the Buckminster Fuller Challenge will enable Build Change to test and refine our homeowner-driven, pre-disaster mitigation solution in Colombia and create an affordable and sustainable model that is easy to replicate in other developing countries around the world." 


Project Overview for Build Change's Expansion to Colombia
Build Change's Expansion to Colombia


After an initial rigorous vetting process by Buckminster Fuller Institute's (BFI) multi-disciplinary review team, which included an in-depth interview, Build Change's project was chosen from a pool of hundreds of entries from around the world, to be one of 19 Semi-Finalists this year. It will now be featured as a top-tier project in BFI's Idea Index and featured on their website.


Finalists will be announced in October and the winner, runner up, and honorable mention(s) will be announced at the conferring ceremony in New York on November 14, 2013.


About the Buckminster Fuller Challenge


The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is the premier international competition recognizing initiatives which take a comprehensive, anticipatory, design approach to radically advance human well being and the health of our planet's ecosystems. The 2013 Semi-Finalists are providing workable solutions to some of the world's most significant challenges including water scarcity, food supply, health, energy consumption and shelter. The Challenge is a program of The Buckminster Fuller Institute, which aims to deeply influence the ascendance of a new generation of design-science pioneers who are leading the creation of an abundant and restorative world economy that benefits all humanity. 


The Buckminster Fuller Challenge
The Buckminster Fuller Challenge



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Reducing Disaster Risks

"Earthquakes don't have to be disastrous. There is a sustainable solution to this man-made problem."


- Dr. Elizabeth Hausler Strand, Build Change 

Founder and CEO



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About Build Change


Build Change is an international, non-profit social enterprise that designs earthquake-resistant houses in developing countries and trains builders, homeowners, engineers and government officials to build them. 


Build Change works in partnership with the public and private sector to leave in place lasting change in construction practice after earthquakes. 


So far, Build Change has trained over 15,000 people in Bhutan, China, Guatemala, Haiti, and Indonesia in earthquake-resistant design and construction techniques, who have in turn built nearly 20,000 safer homes, impacting more than 80,000 people. 


Click here to learn more about Build Change's project in Colombia.