Mortgages, product lines, and other things architects don’t talk about.

March 31, 2011 at 10:28 pm 1 comment

With all of the diverse expert learning that today’s foremost public interest designers are doing, there were a lot of nontraditional terms and topics being discussed at the 2011 Structures for Inclusion conference.

Andrew Freear, director of Auburn’s Rural Studio program, mentioned that his students worked with local banks in Hale County on adapting their mortgage structures; the goal is to make buying the $20K House a more competitive option than long-term renting. Freear also discussed the three versions of the $20K house being developed at the time, which he referred to as a “product line” for customers to choose from.

The “Learning from Communities” panel shared how they identified as capacity builders, rather than structural builders. By engaging in a participatory design process with your beneficiaries, they stressed, you can empower that community to discover how possible change is, even beyond the project at hand.

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In discussing Café 524 by Carnegie Mellon’s 2010 Urban Design Build Studio, professor John Folan highlighted how developing the project’s programming (the educational kind – not the spatial kind) was key in advancing the project. It also resulted in significant commitments for funding.

On the “Change Agents and Innovators” panel, Emily Pilloton noted that one of the six tenet’s of Project H’s design process is “design systems, not stuff.” And I really think she meant “systems” in the broadest sense of the word.

March 31’s daily design idea is a quote from The Age of Unreason by Charles Handy: “Words are the bugles of social change. When our language changes, behavior will not be far behind.” By getting more people to talk about design in a way that includes increasingly diverse aspects of social impact, we’ll be helping to advance the industry that much faster.

This is post 6 of 7 recapping Structures for Inclusion 10+1, an annual conference focused on design for social good.



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The experts of public interest design. The 98%.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. The 98%. « Daily Design Idea  |  February 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    […] may happily aim to diversify our architectural vocabulary, always be learning, better understand economic value, take an entrepreneurial approach, and work […]


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