Program details

Engineers without Borders Australia estimate that 100 million people are homeless worldwide and as many as 1 billion people lack adequate housing. Across Australia, it is estimated that 105,237 people are homeless.

This project focuses on enabling students to understand how engineering and technology skills in collaboration can lift people out of poverty or support them at a time in need. This humanitarian focus is practical in its application and can be diversified based on cultural and environmental needs.

C.E Bartlett is an Australian owned company operating from their headquarters in Ballarat. They lead the way in developing new fabrication and sealing techniques for woven synthetic fabrics creating faster, stronger and more durable fabric welded quality products. Clients contract Bartlett’s to undertake research and development on their behalf to produce new products for market.

Tech Relief are a humanitarian company who have approached Bartlett’s to redesign their emergency housing to create a new product that aligns to Tech Relief mandates which includes: child protection, sanitation, health, water, food, culture, social needs and climate response.

Students will collaborate to respond to an emergency scenario, learn about Bartlett products and processes and apply these understandings to the new design of an emergency housing product.

Learning program overview

Students will be introduced to the crisis of homelessness and how the Tech Relief organisation is addressing this urgent need. Students will be guided to work through the six-part Design Thinking Process to produce a solution in a collaborative team environment. Students will use the SCAMPER creative thinking model to respond to a design brief and develop a prototype to represent their design ideas and present these for peer feedback. As part of this industry partnership they will be exposed to the fabrics, materials and processes of Bartlett's manufacturing.

Engage - Introduction to world homeless crisis and the Tech Relief organisation
Define - Understand the requirements of the Tech Relief Emergency Housing Design Brief
Skills - Specialist skill-up workshops and introduction to Bartlett's processes and materials
Ideate - Application of the SCAMPER model to re-imagine the Tech Relief housing product
Prototype - An improved emergency housing solution that meets the UN and Tech Relief brief
Present - Improved housing design presented with feedback from peer design teams

Success criteria

  • Collaboration with others to find a suitable housing solution using the design thinking process
  • Application of the SCAMPER model and information gathered by team members to inform the design solution, material choices and UN solution response
  • Team pitching of the design solution

Pathway examples

  • Designers: engineering, civil engineer, industrial design, drafting
  • Artisans: construction, production, technician, mechanic, project manager
  • Carers: emergency services, community health, health promotion, humanitarian org.