Inhabitat: Were there any notable trends that surfaced these last few years?
Kate Stohr: The practice of community design is happily getting more sophisticated and there are many more professional practitioners sharing their work and thinking through tough development issues like land transfer and tenure, use of GIS to map all sorts of indicators that can be used to better adapt the built environment to the common good. There are some great examples of reuse and recycled materials that I think are only going to become more pervasive, cost-effective and innovative.
Inhabitat: What emerging design communities should we watch out for? Which ones impressed you the most?
Kate Stohr: If this were the Oscars, I’d have to say New York City swept the awards. Amanda Burden’s team has something going on. New York was featured no less than six or seven times for innovative community design projects that have been undertaken in the last five to seven years. It’s truly impressive. A more general and equal second would be the South American community design movement which is transforming slums into engines of economic growth. Colombia saw an 800% increase in their GDP and invested in beautiful cities such as Medellin and Bogota that are going to be able to compete for and win jobs in the global market. Think about it, the digital revolution has made us freer than we have ever been to live and work anywhere. All of a sudden community design, which might have been an afterthought, is going to be a major factor in determining which cities thrive and which stall or decline. If I were a mayor in any major city today, I’d be reading this book as a who’s who guide to making my city more competitive.
Inhabitat: What’s up next for Design Like You Give a Damn?
Kate Stohr: Ah… Yes, well, here’s the thing. Hopefully enough people will buy the book and donate to Architecture for Humanity so that we can stick around and do another edition in a few years. By then, I may have recovered from reading all of those white papers on financing.