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The Nippon Foundation nonprofit debuted The Tokyo Toilet project: 17 public toilets designed by 16 renowned architects and creators. The toilets are being created to promote inclusivity and dispel negative perceptions about the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of public toilets. They can be used by anyone (regardless of gender, age or disability) and will be located throughout Shibuya, Tokyo. Some of the restrooms are already available for public use; these include toilets that appear transparent but turn opaque when locked, a ‘squid toilet’ that is designed with children in mind and contains baby changing stations in the mens room, and a restroom that glows like a lantern. All 17 toilets will be completed by spring 2021.
The Nippon Foundation isn’t the only brand to have gone down the toilet...route to improve its locale. Sustainable urinal brand GreenPee (yes, you read that right) just set up 12 urinals in Amsterdam to combat the issue of ‘wild peeing’, preserve historical sites, as well as use urine collected to produce organic fertilizer — which is then supplied to companies in Amsterdam that maintain green spaces in the city. In the UK, Serious Tissues capitalized on the early-COVID toilet paper pandemonium to raise funds for the NHS. And in Tokyo, this project has made the restroom both a destination and a symbol of inclusivity. It ensures locals — all locals — feel comfortable enjoying Shibuya’s parks and commercial districts, without worrying about having to rush home with duty calls.
Globally, travel bans (and quarantine requirements for those who do choose to travel) mean consumers are largely stuck at home, in their local communities. What could you do to create a resource that helps residents make the most of their local area — one that improves conditions, makes local life more exciting, or perhaps responds to the community’s unique needs? See how Beirut-based design studio Bokja offered free furniture repairs for residents after the explosion in the city, and how Chevrolet’s drive-thru blood banks in Brazil serve local hospitals that are low on donations. Could you collaborate with local innovators to execute and elevate your vision?
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