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Student Showcase Archive

Michael Currin

MA work

MA work

My Resilient Community

My project is about improving the resilience of urban communities to extreme weather events. It does this by improving their ability to communicate and exchange important information relevant to the local community, so as to leverage social capitol in the wake of the destruction caused by the event. 

The product offering can be  divided into two aspects. The first is a social platform application which serves as the primary user interface for the exchange of information. This is supported by a mobile phone peripheral which fits onto any smartphone and augments the battery life of the phone in the event of a power outage, providing access to an off-grid telecommunications infrastructure in the event of the traditional networks being affected by the power outage. 

My vision is that people in vulnerable hot spots around the globe will be made aware of the application through public awareness campaigns supported by local governments. Insurance companies have the most to gain from empowering communities to help themselves in the wake of these extreme events, and I envisage them subsidising the cost of the peripheral so that it can be provided at minimal cost to the citizen.



  • Michael Currin
  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Innovation Design Engineering, 2014

  • As an Innovation Design Engineer I am interested in using a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach in developing solutions to problems, old and new. 

    In particular I am interested in cities as my area of focus.  I am intrigued by how design affects every aspect of a city and how we interact and engage with it. I also believe that it is within the city that design can have the greatest impact on social change. The coinciding collapse of the global economy, energy challenges and concerns over climate change have thrust the role of cities into the spotlight. There has not been a more exciting time than now to be thinking about the role of cities in navigating the challenges we face as a modern civilisation. How can we improve the way cities are designed and operate so that they become more resilient and less harmful to the environment? I believe these are two of the most important questions of the twenty-first century. 

  • Degrees

  • BSc Electro-Mechanical Engineering, University of Cape Town, 2009
  • Experience

  • Product design engineer, ELW Global, Johannesburg, 2010-12; Researcher in renewable energy solutions, Lebone Engineering, Johannesburg, 2009-10