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Author: Mi Li
Title: WaSH – Improves Public Health in Underserved Communities
Category: Health & wellness
Description: How can design empower community-led initiatives? In response to the ongoing pandemic, the COVID-19 Vulnerable Populations Task Force in Lynn, MA, expressed an immediate need for handwashing stations to promote public health and safety, but off-the-shelf handwashing stations were not available with the necessary speed. Payette partnered with the non-profit organization Beyond Walls in responding to this urgent need and created stand-alone, hands-free wash stations throughout the city, enabling a return to public spaces including parks, playgrounds and outdoor dining areas. This system combines the quality control of a product-design approach with the engagement and inclusion of a grassroots initiative. Payette designed laser-cut sheet-metal parts that flat-pack that can be simply assembled by anyone. Materials and features can be adjusted to meet site-specific needs while maintaining the efficiency of a scalable, local production chain. With 35 stations being implemented so far in Lynn, Nashua and Salem, WaSH not only addresses a public health crisis, but also opens a door for long-term civic improvements to ensure the success of underserved, but resilient communities. WaSH is now expanding across the New England area and beyond.