Join our network of non-profits, companies and individuals who believe social change can happen through design.

Become A Member

Grace Tsai

New York, United States

Product Design

Member since September 08, 2008

  • Assignments 11/3

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    The Discrimination in Urban China

    Mission Statement

    My mission statement is to develop the awareness of inequality and increase the survival skills for young rural migrants to live in urban city of China.

    Research Finding

    Cause of Issue The cause of discrimination between rural migrants and urban citizens in China are government’s policy and the hukou system. Such system result rural migrants’ citizens not been able to receive health care, equal educations, employee opportunities and more. Although rural migrants are able to “temporary” stay in the city bases on current policies in China, they are still illegal to work and obtain equal educations. At same time, however, the hukou system is very important for China government to monitor and control their labor resources and distribution; to strengthen the growth within urban city and restricts rural people to compete with urban people for the limited job resources.

    Two surveys and conclusion


    • My target users are low income rural-to-urban migrants age 15 between 25 in Beijing.
    • Many of them move into city as single, without family.
    • They either get into city through temporary residential permit, got into City University, or married with lower class of urban citizens.
    • They might consider as illegal workers (street vendors, illegal labor consulting services), or labors for lowest job class (factories and construction site).
    • They have basic educations that are higher than rural citizens, yet lower t...
  • Assignments 10/20

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    Revisited Map

    OLPC Laptop and galaxy System are two completely different products yet address the direction that I want to focus on in my thesis. Both products are involving some kind of collaboration between each child; child has to interact with each others physically or mentally with in community. Both products force child to socialize with each other, through physical contact, and talking. The biggest difference however, laptop is focus on forming a community virtually using internet; children has right to work alone or with a group. Galaxy System require child to be in the same space, using same equipment; which force children to learn how to social with one and another.

    For my thesis, I do not wish to go for a high tech. device. Galaxy System or design in physical space should be the type of design that I am interest in.

    Non-Profit Charrette Questions

    1. How heavy, or how many text of the Voter guide?
    2. How was graph/graphic been use in the guide?
    3. How does that guide been apply to different generation of voters?

    Contact Relations

    Click here to view my contact list

    Steven’s Questionnaire

    Click herefor survey post.

    • The survey result that most people understand the meaning of equality in identity, yet most of them think American discriminating society.
    • More than half of the responses have international cultural background.
    • Most people know someone who used to be orphans, yet they don't seem difference between orphans and non-orphans.

    Mission Statement


  • Summary of Thesis

    Well-being, Industrial Design

    Mission Statement

    Mission for my thesis is to increase the awareness for equality between rural migrant children and urban children in China by designing a product that will increase self-esteem within rural migrant children; empower migrant children the importance of collaborate with others and form a strong friendships through learning or game playing.

    Concept to With More Depth

    The product could be an educational tool or game that provides an opportunity for migrant children strengthen their communication skills and ability to learn, in order to cope with new environment. The experience of using this product will develop a positive self-esteem for migrant children individually, increase their confidence and desire to seek a better life. Products should also increase awareness and acceptance of each migrant child's social identity within his/her community. Such awareness could be actualized through targeting both migrant and urban children, and the method of how the product is distributed to both children group.


    According to UNICEF, there are around 150 million migrants who flock to urban cities of China seeking for better life, and 19 million are children who follow their parent into city. Most migrants are considered invisible citizens in China; their education is usually separate from public school systems and their diplomas are not qualified by their society. Such strong discrimination of their identity prevents migrant children to pursue a better op...

  • "Children Left Behind" Documentary

    Well-being, Communication Design

    Social orphans - Child who still have one or more parents yet live in orphanages. (such include single orphans)

    • Child in rural China whose parents migrate to cities to search for work.
    • They don't live in orphanages, yet they has no one to depend on, that they have to do all the work on their own.
    • Many child live with grandparents, or alone
    • Those child are very lonely, they might wash clothes together, yet they usually eat and play alone
    • More issues with orphans : child violence, HIV/AIDS, juvenile justice


    view part2 on youtube

    view part3 on youtube

    Research from my friend who used to live in Shanghai

    • Child with family migrate illegally into city are been abandon from society.
    • The government will not provide basic need, education for child
    • Child are not allow to go to schools
    • Government treat those type of family as invisible
    • My friend who went to American school in Shanghai, she were able to voluntary to help those child (she was high school at that time)

    I am getting contact source in China from this friend


  • Are We Equal? Survey

    Well-being, Communication Design

    Through survey with SurveyMonkey, I send out to 89 people and receive 23 responses. 1 person did not complete most of the survey. Most samples are Newschool Students from Parsons, Eugene Lang. Age between 20-25.

    Please visit Grace's blog for the complete result of survey.

    Survey Questions

    1. What Nationality are you?
    2. Do you see yourself more as an individual or as part of a group?
    3. Do you think you understand the concept of equality in identity?
    4. Do you think Unite State is a discriminating society? (race, gender, nationality, income, education, and health)
    5. Have you been to any condition or country where your social identity is not equal?
    6. Are you, or do you know any orphans /adoptees? (you may click multiple answers)
    7. Do you see any difference between orphans/adoptees, compared to people with typical family?
  • Concept Sketch #1

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    please visit my blog for more drawing and detail.

    Click here

  • Mapping #2

    Communication, Communication Design


    Revisit the mapping

    I reorganize the list so there is hierarchical structure. I place the key to indicate what color represent to which design.

    first mapping post

    visit Grace's Blog for better image size

  • Haru Haru Thesis Study #1

    Well-being, Industrial Design

    A resource list from William Eun-Sae Steinkraus' thesis project -Haru haru

    1. David Grary, AP Aational Writer
      • 46% are adopted within one year
      • 43% are adopted within 1-4 years
      • 8% are adopted 5-6 years
      • 3% are adopted after 9 years old
    3. American Adoption Congress
      • 73% adoptee want to know why they were given up
      • 65% want to meet bio-parents
      • 94% want to know what bio-parents looks like
    5. Asian Adoption on the Rise
    6. Dana E Johnson MD.PhD
      • Adopt child as young as possible to pursue parenting experience.
    7. National Adoption Attitudes Survey
    8. US Department of State
    9. Adoption History Project
    10. www.
    11. International Adoption project Survey

    more to add...

  • Design Criteria

    Community, Industrial Design

    Form: Form follow the function, without knowing exactly what I want to do for my thesis, I can’t state how I am going to approach to the form. However, I would love to bring in some cultural symbol into the form. For example, wide-brimmed rain hat that are used by farmers in Asia (斗笠); this type of hats are easily recognize by most Asian people, it also a symbolic objects for farmers.

    Function: I want to design a physical product that has practical functions for Orphans’ need, and it will allow orphans to visually “communicate” between each other. The design will form a social network within Orphanages. After all, it is very important for one to find others who had been through similar experiences; such friendship will reinforce their social ability within and outside the orphanage. Therefore, function is to focus on communication of symbol, form, colors and maybe some interaction. (However, I am not intend to design a cell phone for a verbal communication.)

    Ergonomics: I believe in the importance of ergonomics. Yet it also depends on how much human body is depending on such product or object. For my thesis, I don’t think it going to play a major role in my design.

    Ease of Use: As my target is child, some could lack of educations or disability, it is very important for me to design a product that is ease of use for child. I will have to focus on the size, necessary of function, color. Most importantly, I have to reduce the process for child to u...

  • Observation

    Community, Communication Design

    1. What did you observe in the physical space? The physical space is consistently changing as people use them. For example, a bike massager was untying his lock from the bike park area; he pulled the iron chain too hard that the bike rest stand was shifting off a little bit. The bike massager left without readjusting the bike rest stand.

    2. What did you observe in the social space/interactions? I notice how people tried to use public space as their personal space. Many of them are completely into their own wonderland and do not even notice their surrounding, or they simply don’t care. Although still some people notice me because I was directly holding my camera at them, they do not response to my action.

    3. Did you observe any issues/problems in physical and social space? As I had mention, people tried to use public space as their private space, and many of them does not care about other’s space as they are too into their works or else. Example, a guy trying to get taxi from fifth Ave, the taxi driver park his car at corner of 13th when there are also cars from other side is coming to the 13th street. Taxi drivers usually don’t park in a proper area on the street as we all know, yet it is actually very dangerous to do so or it might cast accidents. I did not realize that until I spend time and observed.

    4. How can design address those issues/problems? The design can address the issue by reorganizing the use of the space. For example, parts of the street are delicate for ta...

Contact Grace Tsai

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design