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How one idea helped turn water back on for thousands in Detroit

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode DIY

Water bills in Detroit are twice the national average, and in 2014 thousands faced shutoffs because they couldn't afford to pay them. When programmer Tiffani Ashley Bell learned this, she took action.

About Tiffani Ashley Bell

Tiffani Ashley Bell is the founding executive director of The Human Utility, a platform bringing people together from around the world to help residents of Miami, Baltimore, Detroit and over 30 other cities in Michigan with their water bills. Since its founding in July 2014, the organization has helped over 5,000 people and is a Y Combinator-backed not-for-profit. Bell was a 2017 Technology & Democracy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government researching water affordability and designing a water affordability subsidy. She is a programmer who earned a bachelor of science degree in systems and computer science from Howard University. She graduated as a Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business earning a master of science degree in management in 2021.

This segment of the TED Radio Hour was produced by Matthew Cloutier and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHourand email us at [email protected].

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manoush Zomorodi
Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Matthew Cloutier
Matthew Cloutier is a producer for TED Radio Hour. While at the show, he has focused on stories about science and the natural world, ranging from Mars rovers and failed telescope launches to exploring Antarctica's hidden life and 3D scans of the planet. He has also pitched these kinds of episodes, including "Through the looking glass" and "Migration."
Sanaz Meshkinpour