From Grad Student to Community Builder

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Nov 17, 2011 in , , | No Comments


 Do you have what it takes to be an innovator extraordinaire?

A grad student was pursuing her master’s in urban planning at Columbia University when she left for South Africa. In 2007, Candy Chang was offered a fellowship in a township in Johannesburg, South Africa, to help develop new community information systems–though not as modern as one might think–they were sorely needed nevertheless.

The township Cindy set out to help had no real neighborhood-wide communication–no local radio station, telephones, computers with e-mail–which proved problematic in an emergency. Devising a simple solution, Cindy and her team installed blackboards in well-traveled public areas where locals could post news, events or jobs. It was an inexpensive, effective and easy way to solve a major problem.