Japanese designer Tomo Kihara has developed a tool for “street debating”, which allows homeless people to earn money without compromising their dignity.
Street debating is a new type of job that makes public discourse visible with coins. It also serves as an initial viable step for vulnerable people on the streets to discontinue begging by allowing them to earn money in a way that restores their dignity and sense of social connection. People are given a set of scales which they can write a topical question. Passers-by are invited to stop, engage in discussion, then put their coins on the side of the scale that represents their view. It’s also a way of helping people to break out of their social bubbles to be challenged by people with different opinions.
The initial study showed that on average, street debating earns £13.5 per hour in London and stops 12.5 people for a friendly chat. The device data is open source at “www.streetdebater.com” and can be made by anyone. Currently, several street debaters are raising their own debate on the streets across the world from London to Capetown.