From trend forecaster Li Edelkoort’s predictions about how the coronavirus will impact consumer behavior to urban designer Emmanuel Pratt’s call for regenerative design in blighted neighborhoods, the ideas captured here represent a cross section of how our world is changing—and how design must change in response.
"This is my biggest joke, and everyone laughs nervously about it: Let’s say you’re walking with one of your Black homies, and the last thing you think they’re gonna say is, ‘Yo, man, look at that Italianate duplex. It’s like, from the 1800s.’ That’s funny to me. I thought it was ironic that a lot of us Black creators are fighting against being stereotyped—and we are pretty rigid with our disciplines—but we weren’t able to educate ourselves or be educated. Now, it’s like, let’s do it."
"Cities will become much greener. That’s what we see in a lot of the better urban plans right now. The city will become the forest and the landscape. I predict that at one point you won’t see the difference between the city and the country. They will somehow grow into each other."
"We commonly think of sustainability as bringing plants and trees onto buildings, but what if our most sustainable innovations were rooted in cultures who figured it out a millennia ago? There are hundreds of nature-based technologies that have been constructed by Indigenous cultures across the globe that need to be considered as potential climate-resilient infrastructures. It is possible to weave ancient knowledge on how to live symbiotically with nature into how we shape the cities of the future before this wisdom is lost forever."
"As someone who lived in a refugee camp, I know the pains of not having a place to call home. In the richest country in the world, it is a moral outrage that we don’t provide housing for all."
"The minute I design something that goes into a public space, it no longer belongs to me—it belongs to the people and the community. They create memories there, give that space life, and build on the narrative of the building. That’s the power of design."
"Kinetic architecture, like the hand-operated gizmos you mention, is important to me because I believe buildings should be adjusted and changed by the people who use them. It’s most interesting to me to see how people morph a building and how it evolves over time. I don’t think that buildings should be static—they should be as changeable as possible."
"Let’s move away from traditional, 20th-century design practices that have created voids in our cities, alienated populations, and closed down schools. We’re in crisis mode. But now we have a tremendous opportunity to look at a new beginning. And that’s where the regenerative design and development comes in. That’s why we do the work."
"Farmworkers have often felt like the silenced, ignored workforce in this country. And yet, when our food supply came into question, the reaction was that they're essential and they need to keep working to keep the food supply going strong. I think there is great potential for the consumer to build on that recognition and educate themselves."
"We are exploring how to reconnect people with nature through technology. We believe that you can align people with spaces by using frequencies of sound or movement that relate to frequencies that are in our nature. For instance, the human heartbeat, or breathing, has a similar frequency to waves coming from the sea, wind going through the grass, or the endless sparks of a fire. There is a certain nature that we as humans respond to very, very strongly—and it makes us feel calm, and aligned, and part of a bigger whole."
"Quarantine hinges on suspicion. You’re dangerous until proven safe. And uncertainty has always been subject to bias. It’s something that we traced through to the present day. The idea that quarantine technologies are a way of controlling and documenting movement with things like health passports goes back to the Black Death. Often those technologies hardened into normal practices in which governments managed the movement of their populations. You see particular border controls hardening into actual borders. And I think that we’re going to see some of this tracking based on cell phones hardened into regular practice. If that’s not done right, and with a care for privacy and civil liberties, it could end up being a huge problem."
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