FEATURED THIS WEEK : JOHN CARY
Out of work for more than two decades, my uncle Tom, a Vietnam veteran whom I idolized as a kid, somehow made ends meet. Our family was never quite sure how, and we were too polite to ask. Over a cryptic phone call with my mom one gray fall day, Tom divulged that he was severely in debt. Creditors were calling him constantly. This uncle, with whom we shot hoops and played catch, rapidly declined into a shell of his former self. Tom stopped eating, resisted the efforts of compassionate VA caregivers we summoned to help, and ultimately holed up in his dark apartment.
The event gathered together some 500 planners, architects, engineers, designers, scientists and futurists. It grew from the recognition that — especially among the urban young — automobiles have a negative image. One Wall Street analyst even describes the industry’s reputation as a “tobacco-like” problem.
Any role that requires engagement with other human beings can benefit from sensitivity to good service — communicating clearly, keeping projects on schedule, providing appropriate feedback. And yet such capabilities are colloquially characterized in MBA programs as “soft skills.”
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Over three decades old, the Intern Development Program is more an exercise in arithmetic than experience, with aspiring architects required to pay hundreds of dollars and record a staggering 5,600 hours across various tasks. They’re asked to do so in lieu of demonstrating creativity, competence or any other attribute one would associate with their profession.
To walk into the General Assembly Building, even with the horrendous ad-hoc security tent that ruins its entry plaza, is an edifying, hopeful experience. That it is not always effective in achieving its ideals is, of course, an unfortunate reality. This seems an apt metaphor for “Design with the Other 90 Percent: Cities.”
COURTNEY DRAKE & WILLIAM DRENTTEL
This bibiography was initiatied by Courtney Drake, a graduate student at the Yale University School of Management, to survey the literature of social design — the spectrum from design process and thinking to the zones of social innovation. It is the beginning of a larger project by Winterhouse Institute, working with the participants of the Winterhouse Design and Social Change Symposia, to build a bibliography around the practice of social design.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Rock Girl in Cape Town offers real and symbolic safe places for girls and women.