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Friday, June 26, 2015


It's All about the Kids

Later today I'm going to be giving a presentation for the AIA VISION leadership program I am involved with on the following topic as it relates to the theme 'Beyond Sustainability': “Take one of your current projects . . . Imagine all the ways that developing this project could continually add value to the world, instead of doing less damage.”
The project I am choosing to discuss is the Starter Home 2.0 project, and the topic reminded me of something my old co-op employer, William McDonough used to say that is quoted in this article.

The typical approach to eco-innovation is to start with metrics—then tactics, strategies and then goals. The problem with that is, if you start with measurement you try to be less bad. People think being less bad is good. This isn’t math, with two negative numbers becoming positive; you are still bad, just less so. Is that as good as we’re going to get?
What we start with instead is value. How do we love all of the children of all species for all time? That’s our value set. We can take it with us wherever we go and it stimulates dynamic creativity and prosperity.
This attitude of creating value by designing with children in mind is something that is of critical importance to the Starter Home 2.0 project. Children growing up in the Starter Home 2.0 will have the freedom and ability to walk safely to school, church, the park, the pool, the library, stores, restaurants, bus stops, etc., whereas children growing up in most suburban areas are 100% dependent on adults to drive them to and from these locations, with the common alternative being to stay at home and play video games all day. Children growing up in the Starter Home 2.0 will also be part of one of Cincinnati's most ethnic and racially diverse neighborhoods in Pleasant Ridge, providing them the opportunities to interact, learn, and play with kids of different cultures and backgrounds on a daily basis, which is something many suburban raised children miss out on growing up. The house itself has an abundance of natural light, ventilation and social spaces, which are conducive to the development of happy and healthy children as well, so in the end, it really is all about the kids.