MG2 believes in the need for developers and designers to work together to create communities that thrive. Giving voice to those who live in our cities and cultivating social cohesion is key to enhancing the livability of a city.
In early 2017, our team started brainstorming ideas for our spring exhibit and Seattle Design Festival exhibit for the fall. We wanted the efforts to be connected by having both examine the question, “How do you want to live?” As architects and designers, we are interested in exploring how the built environment shapes our lives, and how our individual desires impact our collective future.
By posing this question, we were able to glean insight into our aspirations without the constraints of circumstances. We focused on the city as the foundation for our inquiry, as urban communities embody the post-industrial future, oriented around places of knowledge and the production of experts / the creative class.
Our goal with this initiative is to better understand the challenges and possibilities of urban living as a way to chart a path from the present to the future. With the research gathered through our in-house interactive exhibit and an online survey, we have developed three design solutions, which give power back to the community to shape their neighborhoods and environments.
The Ultimate Paradox
The marketplace has always shown a natural inclination to cater to the most fortunate among us, leaving behind key segments of the population that happen to make up a critical component of the workforce in a city. Even in trying to solve dire social issues like housing affordability, American cities resort to commercializing the solution, which drives up the cost of development. This often leaves the group in the middle with limited choices.
For example, we discovered an interesting paradox from our survey. Participants overwhelmingly wanted to own single-family residences, yet the majority of new development in cities cater to the rental market and multi-family residential. This is not attainable in an urban setting unless we redefine or reimagine what a single-family home can be. It may be time to reassess our vision for how we want to live in this period filled with economic opportunity fueling the growth of our cities.
Power of Community
MG2 believes in the need for developers and designers to work together to create communities that thrive. Giving voice to those who live in our cities and cultivating social cohesion is key to enhancing the livability of a city. The central issue when promoting urban living will always be solving for density without compromising on livability. As city officials confront the economic explanation for the development of our cities, much of the future is left to the foresight of the development community.
*Please see the below images for community design solutions based on our research and data collection.
The Right Place at the Right Time
Cultural shifts and technology have given us new avenues to solve the age-old challenge of encouraging a wider adoption of living solutions in an urban setting. It is time for us to demand more, become more ambitious and dare to dream of a better future. What are our priorities when considering how we want to live? By giving voice to the community, by representing their point of view to both the development community and government, we may achieve our goal of finding a balance for human satisfaction and a healthy society.