Posts tagged ‘community’

Expanding the scope of brand impact.

via Co.Exist (January 1, 2012):

What’s the trick to making a brand meaningful? Focus on outcomes, not outputs. The criteria, says Haque [director of the Havas Media Labs and HBR blogger], are simple: “Did this brand make you fitter, wiser, smarter, closer? Did it improve your personal outcomes? Did it improve your community outcomes? Did it pollute the environment? We’re trying to get beyond ‘did this company make a slightly better product’ to the more resonant, meaningful question: ‘Did this brand actually impact your life in a tangible, lasting, and positive way?'”

Haque cites Nike+ as a prime example. “Instead of putting up another campaign of billboards with celebrities saying ‘Buy our shoes, they’ll turn you into a master runner,’ Nike+ actually helps makes you a better runner. That’s a constructive way to build a meaningful brand.”

image by Flickr user Mathieu Thouvenin

March 8’s daily design idea is consumers have long demanded (and received) positive impact from the strongest and most meaningful brands, but the impact that we’re demanding now is extending far beyond ourselves. Exciting!

For even more insight from Co.Exist on consumers’ growing expectations for businesses, check out the article “The Three Ages of Socially Responsible Business.”


March 8, 2012 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

Awesome new housing concept causes serious self reflection.

From a distanced perspective, everything about K’House is phenomenal. The Philadelphia-based coworking community Indy Hall has teamed up with uber-cost efficient and sustainable residential developers Postgreen Homes and with award-winning architecture firm DIGSAU to propose a new brand of co-housing. The project’s values are “community, openness, sustainability, accessibility and collaboration.”

rendering of K’House by Postgreen Homes (especially amazing compared with the before shot)

So what’s not to love? It’s hard for me to admit this, but I’m hesitant enough about living with one other person – despite the obvious benefits (including cost and energy savings, increased safety, opportunities for socializing, and more) – let alone a true, shared, intentional community. That said, I’d love to come around to the idea of living in this type of development/neighborhood. Maybe Indy Hall will consider accepting tenants for trial periods?

March 6’s daily design idea is what is your comfort zone for the scale of your home (and particularly the number of people you share it with)?

March 6, 2012 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Congrats to the winners of the 2012 SEED Competition!

via (January 27, 2012):

“The 6 winning projects along with 13 honorable mentions were selected from a field of 45 submissions from 14 countries. According to the press release, ‘The award winners and honorable mentions…offer tangible evidence of how design is effectively playing a role in addressing the most critical issues around the globe…Each project team carefully identified a community’s needs and priorities, then maximized the use of resources to strategically address these.'”

Announced last month by the SEED Network, the following six projects have been selected as winners of this year’s SEED Competition (images above begin at upper left and go clockwise):

Bancroft School Revitalization, Kansas City, Missouri. Team includes BNIM Architecture + Planning, Dalmark Development and Management Group, Make it Right, Green Impact Zone, Historic Manheim Park Association, JE Dunn Construction, and Truman Medical Group.

Owe’neh Bupingeh Preservation Plan and Rehabilitation, Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico. Team includes Atkins Olshin Schade Architects and The Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority.

Grow Dat Farm, New Orleans, Louisiana. Team includes Tulane University City Center, Grow Dat Youth Farm, and New Orleans City Park.

Escuela Ecologica Saludable Initiative: Parque Primaria, Lima, Peru. Team includes University of Washington (Department of Landscape Architecture, Department of Global Health, School of Forest Resources, Global Health and Environment Fellows), Architects Without Borders- Seattle, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos/ Fundacion San Marcos, Escuela Pitagorus #8183, COPASED de Zapalla, and Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar Jorge Alarcon.

Nyanza Maternity Hospital, Nyanza, Rwanda. Team includes MASS Design Group, UNICEF, Rwandan Ministry of Health, Transsolar Kilma Engineering, Nyanza Hospital Administration

Maria Auxiliadora School, Los Calderones, Peru. Team includes Architecture for Humanity, Happy Hearts Fund, ING-INTEGRA Peru, Maria Auxiliadora School, Los Calderones Community, Tate Municipality.

The winning teams will present their projects in just over a month at this year’s Structures for Inclusion conference, being held at the University of Texas at Austin. See you there!

February 22’s daily design idea is celebrate your industry’s accomplishments, and eventually others will too.

February 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm Leave a comment

Metropolis announces its 2012 Game Changers.

And it’s an awesome bunch. Via Metropolis (January 25, 2012):

“Our class of 2012 is a diverse lot, but its members share an important trait: their community-based work has broader implications for the world at large, demonstrating the power of design to forge real change.”

Metropolis Game Changers award, designed by Christopher H. Lee (of SHoP architects) and produced by Replik. Photo by Kevin Shea Adams. Photo via Metropolis.

I was especially psyched to see that the honorees include architect Michael Maltzan, but to be fair all the bios are inspiring and definitely worth a read. (Consider this a nod to #19: Read biographies of people who have built things.) Coverage of the award celebration is also available.

February 12’s daily design idea is aim to be a (community-based) game changer!

February 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

Community-driven vs. community-based design.

One of the many commonalities among presenters at this year’s Structures for Inclusion conference was their commitment to working collaboratively with (as opposed to simply for) their clients. Thomas Fisher, dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, captured this difference by separating the ideas of “community-driven” design and “community-based” design. Often called a participatory design process within architecture, the community-driven approach relies on a deep, local engagement and usually involves bringing in community members for anything from design development to construction.

Presenting on the related “Learning from Communities” panel was Michael Zaretsky, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, who spoke with Emily Roush and Richard Elliott about the Roche Health Center in rural Tanzania. The project is designed to be zero-energy, easily reproducible, low-cost, and durable, and is based on some very extensive research (including research within the local community). As a result, the center was built using only local materials and local construction techniques. Michael, Emily, and Richard agreed that the massive impact (present and future) of the Roche Health Center and the overall smoothness in the construction process would never have been possible without developing and sustaining relationships with local individuals, who will continue to contribute enormously to the center’s success.

photo of over-sized gutter being constructed for collecting water for the rare but heavy rainfall, from the now open Roche Health Center

Part of developing these local bonds is bringing your own information, skills, and other assets to the project. Using the tools of the design discipline while simultaneously engaging with the community is critical; “these two are not mutually exclusive,” encouraged Dan Pitera, executive director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and a ddi favorite.  One especially valuable contribution – highlighted by both Sergio Palleroni and Brent Brown, founding director of bcWorkshop – is a design team’s ability maintain continuity in community activity during project development and construction. For example, bcWorkshop’s SEED Competition-winning project for Congo Street in Dallas involved temporarily placing residents in a holding house on the same block while construction was being done on their homes. This minimized disruption to the residents’ daily routines and to their relationships with their neighbors.

photo of the holding house on Congo Street, by bcWorkshop via Arch Daily

March 27’s daily design idea sums up the core advice from the “Learning From Communities” panel: when doing community-driven design, you’ll be most successful if you partner with locally respected organizations (and individuals), bring your own assets to the table, and demonstrate a sustained commitment to the community.

This is post 2 of 7 recapping Structures for Inclusion 10+1, an annual conference focused on design for social good.

March 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm 1 comment

“Why is the category of humanitarian architecture even necessary?


“The two terms should be synonymous.
Because sound building practices
can and should lead to social justice.”

Inspirational words from Michael Murphy of MASS Design Group (a not-for-profit design firm headquartered in Boston), as quoted in the article “Social Design: Straight Out of School” in Metropolis Magazine (posted January 17, 2011).

photograph of MASS’s Butaro Hospital in Rwanda; stone cutting was performed by local masons

Here’s more on the amazing and inspirational MASS, from their website: Appropriate, high quality architecture and planning means that the underserved receive the services they need, as well as meet the goals of governments and aid groups hoping to provide basic civic, social, and environmental benefits. MASS believes that our design process can empower communities, provide better access to critical services, and build civic identity. Our approach brings architects and builders to meet directly with communities most in need and assists with aid and development efforts at a range of scales.

diagram of MASS’s approach

March 11’s daily design idea is the greatest design accomplishments involve leveraging limited resources to create a positive impact, aesthetically, socially, environmentally, and otherwise. Kudos to MASS for demonstrating that in spades.

March 11, 2011 at 9:32 am Leave a comment

Taproot’s 8 Proven Models for Community and Business Impact.

Are you enthusiastic about the possibility of offering pro bono services to your community, but unsure of how to go about it? Here are eight possible models, published by the Taproot Foundation, that could help you make the leap. You can download the full report, which describes the models using real world case studies, by clicking here.

Taproot is a fantastic organization that links professionals with socially-minded organizations in need; or, in their words, “Taproot is a nonprofit organization that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society.” This is the kind of business that I hope (and expect) to see more of in the future.

February 18’s daily design idea is that pro bono services can be an extraordinary “vehicle for capacity building, sharing resources, and ultimately, social change.”

Want to read about other successful projects that hinged on pro bono professionals? I highly recommend The Power Of Pro Bono.


February 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm Leave a comment

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