The Abundance Coach
Speculative Design,March, 2021
The Goal:Design a solution to a prevalent problem that Wayne County is currently facing.
Challenges Faced: Maddie experienced challenges after the research phase, specifically in figuring out a specific problem and solution to focus on. There was a lot that she uncovered and wanted to help, but did not want to allow her scope to get too large. Figuring out the sweet spot for this speculative design took a lot of iterating to come to.
Role:Designer, Art Director
The Solution:Maddie decided to design a repurposed school bus, appropriately named “The Abundance Coach” that visits the soup kitchens around Detroit.
Inside it would contain several technology stations with two seats, one on either side. When the bus arrives at each stop, their doors are opened to help people of all genders, ages, races and backgrounds with whatever problem they are facing.
Maddie came to this conclusion based on a lot of research, where she found a primary disconnect between the people and the information that is out there to help them. Not everyone knows about the resources the Detroit Public Library has, nor do they necessarily have the resources to get to the physical location. There is also a lack of one-on-one help in many of these situations, so The Abundance Coach would eliminate that factor.
The point is to bring technology, along with volunteers from a technological and service background, to the people who need them most. There are many websites to find soup kitchens, shelters, housing assistance, jobs and government programs, but many homeless peoples do not have a phone to call, nor access to the internet to find these places. The technology stations on the bus are used to connect people with these resources online, allow them time and assistance in making phone calls and filling out paperwork, and helping them get back on their feet.
Deliverables: Speculative map with corresponding bus stop signs; bus mocked up.
This design and research project opened Maddie’s eyes a lot to the ways that design can begin to solve real-world problems. She had not previously done much speculative work, so it was a very intense experience. She learned a lot about design as well as the city and world around her.