Design is always political. Whenever we make spaces we address people’s emotions, and their socioeconomic and cultural circumstances. In our cities, our ZIP codes are the best indicators of our health. Architects and designers have the power, in both public and private space, to shape either an oppressive or empowering environment. Our surroundings are not simply passive wrappers that facilitate function; they mold and shape our feelings. The power of this idea has the potential to become a call for equity in the quality of all our environments—public and private, physical and digital.
In many ways, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a uniquely equalizing moment in our experience of the world. All of us, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic differences, have had to contend with a new reality, one that has left many of us in isolation, sensitizing us to the successes and failures of our environments. The consequences, and the potential, of this heightened sensitivity are especially significant for architecture, going forward.
We believe in the power of design as a tool to generate equity in our culture through the quality of the spaces we create, and the wellbeing and sense of agency that they can amplify and foster.