A possible worldview for designers and makers


We have to turn to the designer’s role within a holistic worldview.  For designers generally and for architects in particular the professional focus is on the manipulation of the human environment to provide the various artifacts, from tools to shelter, from food to pharmaceuticals that support the material quality of our lives. Because of this, the consideration of the relationships between the individual, society, technology and the natural order must be central.  Unraveling the complex interrelationships within the sphere of the designed and manufactured accompaniments to life and the social mores and purposes they serve is difficult without adopting an already predetermined belief based explanation system that is locked into the currently prevalent political, sociological and economic mindset.  Here I shall try to break out of these conventions.

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Some thoughts on what we need to make and how we should make things

Though quite different questions, the “what” and the “how” of making must be considered at the same time.  What we need to make is a short form of “what we need to make in order to sustain the way we wish to live”.  This should be a considered, holistic and long-term view rather than merely the expedient and improvised management of desires, fads and addictions.

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Design, Architecture and Urbanism

Design, like art, is an essential part of all our lives. It may be thought of as the extension of our day to day decision making into the longer term. We create artefacts and environments to meet our habitual desires and serve our habitual purposes. The imagining of new possibilities for these artefacts and environments, based on the experience of what has been made before and a vision of what might be possible in the future, is the core of the design process.

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A further look at the Eco/techno divide

The idea that there are two opposed world views that may be characterised as ‘techno’ and ‘Eco’ is intuitive. The two belief systems are both viewpoints and standpoints that persuade their devotees which way to interpret a situation, argument or body of observation that may be otherwise either difficult to interpret or prove, or is on a knife edge in the balance of its implications. Such strongly held core beliefs sometimes allow a sliver of doubt to inform and justify a strong opinion.

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Life goals: the diagram explained

Life goals diagram
Life Goals idiagram

So what does this rather inelegant diagram mean? Well, at its heart is the notion that the central preoccupation of most people is to secure and strike an acceptable balance between wellbeing and livelihood. Even the waitress or bank teller who sees the pay cheque at the end of the week as the only reward for a service sullenly dispensed, is exercising some kind of aspiration towards this balance of goals. Continue reading Life goals: the diagram explained

What makes it all worth it?

I’m at a crossroads of sorts. The opportunity exists to grasp my own destiny, granted not for long, but it brings up a lot of questions that I have fudged in the past. Realistically from my present perspective I’ve got about 20 active years at most before memory loss and incontinence set in. I’m a bit like those people who suddenly realise that they don’t have long to live because of some life threatening illness. Well, maybe not quite as bad as that, but sobering anyway. To get to the point, however, what should I do to bring meaning to my life and stop the inexorable drift into safe inactivity?

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