…it’s a rewarding profession, and I’d say that [architecture] would benefit from us looking to diversify the way we practice, […] certainly the construction industry and particularly the housing industry, there’s pretty broad opportunities to change the status quo, and that’s what I’ve been interested in trying to do.
"Design is a problem-solving activity. It provides a means of clarifying, synthesizing, and dramatizing a word, a picture, a product, or an event. A serious barrier to the realization of good design, however, are the layers of management inherent in any bureaucratic structure. For aside from the sheer prejudice or simple unawareness, one is apt to encounter such absurdities as second guessing, kow-towing, posturing, nit-picking, and jockeying for position, let alone such buck-passing institutions as the committee meeting and the task force. At issue, it seems, is neither malevolence nor stupidity, but human frailty."
Interesting read on the world in which design must function, as relevant today as when it was written. Read the whole text here.
Not my problem
I never held an unpaid internship, but I was one of thousands who had difficulty finding an entry level job after graduating college—2 years from graduation to a full-time job. Granted, the economic collapse had something to do with it, but this issue, like many of our day, is multifaceted and complex.
SHoP Architects recently took a public stand against unpaid internships, as highlighted in Architizer. The timing coincides with a class action lawsuit in NYC that claims, among other things, that unpaid internships are killing entry level jobs.
At one point I know I thought that by avoiding taking an unpaid internship, as some of my peers did, this particular problem was not mine. In hindsight, connecting the dots, I was probably wrong. Not only was I competing for entry level jobs against slightly older and more experienced interns who had been laid off when the market collapsed, we were all disadvantaged further by a professional culture that accepts unpaid internships as a matter of course.
Ross A. Alameddine
Christopher James Bishop
Brian R. Bluhm
Ryan Christopher Clark
Austin Michelle Cloyd
Kevin P. Granata
Matthew Gregory Gwaltney
Caitlin Millar Hammaren
Jeremy Michael Herbstritt
Rachael Elizabeth Hill
Emily Jane Hilscher
Jarrett Lee Lane
Matthew Joseph La Porte
Henry J. Lee
Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan
Lauren Ashley McCain
Daniel Patrick O’Neil
Juan Ramon Ortiz-Ortiz
Minal Hiralal Panchal
Daniel Alejandro Perez Cueva
Erin Nicole Peterson
Michael Steven Pohle, Jr.
Julia Kathleen Pryde
Mary Karen Read
Reema Joseph Samaha
Waleed Mohamed Shaalan
Leslie Geraldine Sherman
Maxine Shelly Turner
Nicole Regina White
"…the opportunity for local design activism is everywhere. Because human need is everywhere…Social change is a complex, messy business. It takes a long time. We’re best positioned to affect long-term outcomes when we stay home and work within our own communities."
In my own work during college and since, I’ve grown to feel this way about changemaking and humanitarian work. Some of us are called to dedicate our lives to relief work in developing countries. The rest of us are challenged on a daily basis to serve the need in our own communities, to help our cities and towns and neighbors be the best that they can be.
Social change is a complex, messy business. It takes a long time. We’re best positioned to affect long-term outcomes when we stay home and work within our own communities.
Many of you are already enmeshed in local design activism. But do we see our work as designers as a form of community service? If not, I think we should. Think of programs and service delivery models like soup kitchens, Americorps, trash pick-up days. These models, more than global humanitarian work, are most relevant for designers looking to work locally.
Some sound bites of sorts from yesterday’s Placemaking Conference at OU, an all-star line-up of internationally renowned thinkers and incredibly diverse mix of local leaders from all over the state of Oklahoma.
"Placemaking is the next new industry."
Ethan Kent, Projects for Public Spaces:
What good is transportation without good destinations?
The suburbs are killing us. Literally.
Hank Dittmar, The Prince Charles Foundation for Building Community:
"Everyone has biases and everyone has principles, the only ethical position is to disclose them."
Here’s a look at another alternative model of practice, another attempt at reconciling a design career with the desire to make a positive impact on the world in a way that is economically sustainable. verynice studio pools talent from around the globe to form an alliance of designers that gives over 50% of its work away for free.
In a recent TEDx talk, verynice founder Matthew Manos talks about his own attempts at reinterpreting (as opposed to reinventing or reimagining) the role of the designer through integrating volunteerism into his practice. By putting his ideas and convictions to the test, his mission statement evolves from “save the world” to “change the industry,” a great takeaway for those of us endeavoring to reinterpret our own roles as designers setting out to “save the world.”
Hey Baltimore friends: Bike Maryland is hiring! This is an awesome organization working tirelessly to make cycling safer and more fun for cyclists of all kinds. If you care about safe and affordable transportation options, healthy lifestyles, and want to work with people who are passionate about the same, check out this opportunity. If you don’t, pass this along to your friend who does. Yay bikes!