Have you ever found just the perfect shirt? One the fits just right and makes you look and feel good? I recently found a nice short-sleeve button-down shirt that is a heavy enough fabric, cut right for my robust shape, and came in my favorite color – black. It is rare to find just the right article of clothing since they are designed for the “average” person, meaning they don’t fit right for a large majority. Most of us have never had clothes designed specifically for our desires, body type, and preferences. Most of us have not experienced design rather live in a world of “no design.”
In the construction industry, this is also very true. Design can change how you live, work, and play for the better. Yet, design is almost always cut out of the budget. You hear the phrase code minimum as a standard to achieve when it is actually the minimum quality allowed by law. The result is seen in projects that in no way are customized to meet your goals for living, working, or playing. Most of our buildings and outdoor spaces are not designed to enhance our lifestyle or business or family life, they instead rely on “no design.” In the United States, we largely have not experienced quality design. Our homes in many cases are built to the lowest possible quality and are generic, not designed for a specific lifestyle. Many of our commercial projects are also generic, maximum leasable space the site will allow without thought to what could be if time was spent on design thinking.
How can we change the future if we don’t stop and design the future we want. We need to have skilled and trained designers creating our spaces where we live, work, and play. We need to raise the quality of our built environment to make intentional decisions about what is important for our collective future. Design matters and together we can build a better future through design. If we continue to move towards generic solutions for our built environment we will miss the opportunity to live the fullest life possible.