I’m on a Victor Papanek kick these days, and I found this book that he co-authored at 9th Avenue Books yesterday (across the street from Arizmendi Bakery, only the best bakery in the whole freakin’ city). Take a look at the cover. Oh yes, it’s that kind of book, but he’s an inspiring communicator/designer and there are actually some pretty clever ideas amongst the 70′s cheese.
Definitely worth reading is his classic, Design for the Real World : Human Ecology and Social Change
More on Papanek: Review of his last book, The Green Imperative
Also, whilst googling the man known as Papanek, I found this class out of MIT: Design that Matters: Open source collaborative prototyping studio for design with real-world communities. There’s an associated website called ThinkCycle, which “seeks to create a collaborative community of individuals and organizations engaged in working on design challenges posed by our environment and the developing world”.