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The Future of Architecture and Design is Social Justice

Gilad Meron

Architecture and design are rapidly changing professions these days. Young firms like MASS Design Group are pioneering new ways of practicing, proving that architecture can have a social impact AND be profitable, while organizations like bcWORKSHOP are demonstrating how community-based design can be an incubator for innovations in the public realm. This article explores these recent developments and what they mean for the design industry as a whole, as well as the future of design education.

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  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    What do you think about these changes? I'm excited to see more companies adopt these types of models, and make them a part of their DNA. In fact all companies should be operating in the same way-“The heart of public interest design is in predesign work; that’s where the brief is set. And in some ways, every minute we spend being a real estate developer deprives us of the time we could have spent applying design to public problems.” The predesign- ie pre-strategy of thinking about how to make impact is key before implementation. I like the idea of the Rose Fellowship for architects. But I wonder- is it possible for architects to live comfortably while making impact? What do they mean by "Live comfortably"? “The goal is to live comfortably and do only work that has impact. I would call that a success.”

  • Adele Peters

    Really interesting. How do you think education should change to help better prepare students to work in public interest design?

    • Rodrigo Mejia

      Need more local settings for design projects. I recall an architecture course at my local community college ordered their students to connect two communities through a sunken, abandoned piece of land. The class didn't just get to render and use site plans to make their public structure, they got to walk in the same dirt and look at the people their project would have served. Their renders may not have seen actual construction, but the connection made between the students and the community was plenty real.