CATALYZING the Conversation: Designing The Good Life
By Dr. Mary McBride
Issue 8 Summer 2011
The good life varies in its dimensions across place, time and culture. One size does not fit all. This issue of Catalyst: Strategic Design Review explores the meaning of the good life for people across our shared world.
For this issue, we searched out designers who were creating the future in their current practice. We asked them about the good life and what they had discovered about creating it and living it. They shared their discoveries and their design experiments with us and we have shaped this issue to engage all of our readers in a conversation about how we, collectively, might experiment with designing a good life.
Our contributors demonstrate that a good life can be designed for and by people who are not educated to read or write. In Rajasthan, we learn from “barefoot professionals” as they create economic value and enrich their communities and our ecosystem.
In this issue, our contributors demonstrate that our schools, libraries, clinics and gardens can be strategically designed to create a social infrastructure of experience and exchange. And, that the good life finally, must be one that is sustainable and inclusive.
The Rural Studio reminds us that architectural interventions can shape place and help define a good life for the residents of economically disadvantaged rural areas.
The work of Publicolor re-imagines the construction and design of learning spaces and offers another example of how we might re-imagine education to include the full engagement of the senses.
Basic Initiative reminds us that design can revitalize communities and build economic strength. And, the PALS initiative helps redefine design education and challenges the leaders of academic institutions to lead the cultural conversation on designing a good life.
The experiments featured in this issue demonstrate that imagination is limitless even when material resources are in short supply. They give voice to the idea that strategic design can create an infrastructure of exchanges and experiences to support a 21st century good life.
Add your voice. Spread the word, share the experiments and keep the conversation going about a good life that does not depend on outdated economic measures and models.