Can architects, designers, landscapers and artists make a real difference to people’s quality of life? If so, what are the best ways to address the problems of today’s societies – their lack of infrastucture, good-quality housing, resources and community spirit? Through over twenty case studies this book constructs a picture of worldwide attempts to address these problems – projects that often use minimal resources to effect the maximum possible change, with the most precious resource being imagination. Some of the ideas are breathtakingly simple:-
• a mobile farm in Chicago that turns vacant lots into a source of food and employment
• a remote Japanese mountain village making a profitable virtue out of snow
• water pumps in south African villages operated by a child’s roundabout – others rely on more subtle interventions, working over years to rebuild the broken ties of society and encouraging communities to take responsibility for their own environments. Brimming with ideas, inspiring stories, and the conviction that design professionals can indeed make a difference to the lives of ordinary people, this book will galvanize all those working in architecture, landscape and design, but also all those who care about the future of our societies. Clare Cumberlidge is one of the UK’s leading independent curators specializing in developing new areas for artistic practice and socially engaged practice. She is the co-founder, with Lucy Musgrave, of the UK-based consultancy General Public Agency. Lucy Musgrave is a former director of the Architectural Foundation, where she developed programmes of action research in the field of social inclusion and the built environment.