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Brings the engineer's and designer's perspectives together to make a 'beautiful latrine'.

TitleLatrine design: go in peace
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSugden, S
Secondary TitleWaterlines
Date Published07/2014
Publication LanguageEnglish
Keywordsdesign, design criteria

In more developed areas of the world we have forgotten the horrors of using a disgusting toilet and we now take for granted that toilets are comfortable, well lit, smell free, private, pleasant places to defecate. They are places where we can ‘go in peace’. Latrines provided using donor funds have tended to be designed from a purely functional perspective and based on vague ideas about what poor people want, or what the implementing organization thinks poor people should have. The growing use of professional designers in the sector is making implementing organizations pay attention to the key attributes of the latrine and view its design from the perspective of the user. This paper brings the engineer’s and designer’s perspectives together and looks at what we mean by ‘beautiful latrine’. It draws on the work of Donald A. Norman, providing a lens through which the visceral, behavioural, and reflective design aspects of a latrine can be viewed. The paper draws heavily on the author’s 20-year experience in the sanitation sector in Africa and Asia and thousands of happy hours spent talking and poking his nose into people’s most private business. (author abstract)


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