A mark of good design, sustainable or otherwise, is that it benefits all people across society. Social responsibility is becoming a growing issue within the sustainable movement; it seeks to cultivate a more holistic view of the environment that weighs people’s needs equally with the implementation of sustainable building practices. As an inclusive movement that is concerned with not only on giving back to local communities but humanity in general, social responsibility is becoming an increasingly vital design philosophy with the potential to raise living standards and the psychic well being of people across the country and throughout the world.
This year at NeoCon in Chicago, a panel moderated by Jennifer Busch, Vice President of A&D Market Development for Interface FLOR, and consisting of John Cary, president and CEO of Next American City, Eileen Jones, principal at the Chicago office of Perkins+Will, and Prataap Patrose, director of design for Boston Redevelopment Authority, addressed how social responsible initiatives benefit design practices and how thinking in a socially responsible manner applies to the A&D community.
“Inevitably, we are all involved with some kind of design for the public good,” said Mr. Cary, after providing his personal overview of how the design industry currently addresses social responsibility and the professional advantages of working Pro Bono. Listing films like Citizen Architect, a film about Auburn University’s Rural Studio, a prolific and inspirational design-build outreach program in Alabama, and books like Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People by Emily Pilloton, he clarified that “Pro Bono does not mean for free; it means for good. There can be some transaction fees that are dependent on the individual relationship between the firm and the client.” Mr. Cary edited the book The Power of Pro Bono, a series of project case studies that illustrate the process of designing for the public good. The book is divided into six project categories: Parks, Civic, Education, Community, Health and Housing. “Those categories are generally aligned with the breakdown of the nation’s nonprofit sectors, but the categories are also aligned with the interests of most major foundations that fund a lot of these projects in part or whole,” he said. Mr. Cary called special attention to design firm Perkins+Will, who he noted, “institutionalized what was a long history of socially responsible design and they did so by naming it their Socially Responsible Initiative (SRI).”
For the full article, please visit www.officeinsight.com