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Van Alen Institute invites designers to rethink the voting process


Van Alen Institute Open Poll competition. Photo: Jeff DaPuzzo

New York’s Van Alen Institute has launched an open competition to redesign the voting process, ahead of the US presidential election. The organisation is inviting interdisciplinary design teams to consider how the voter experience in cities could be more impartial, accessible and engaging for citizens.

As prompters for entrants, it asks how poll centres could be more visible to encourage turnout; how the design experience of a poll centre could improve access or be repositioned to engage more with the streetscape; and how technology could be used, without taking the form of an app.

Concept proposals can be submitted online, then shortlisted teams will be asked to attend a one-day workshop where a winner will be chosen. The team will be awarded $1,000 and will work with Van Alen to refine the proposal.

The non-profit architecture and design organisation is hosting the competition as part of its own Mandate festival, a series of events exploring how political mandates and public participation shape the urban landscape. This is also part of New York’s Archtober, a month-long architecture and design festival.