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Citizen Designers
Alex Steffen, 28 Feb 04

Bruce in his latest Viridian note connects us with this fine Metropolis editorial, calling for a new breed of "citizen designer" - architects, designers, engineers who band together to use their combined clout to redraw the world along more sustainable lines. Read it.

"Every chance I get I mention the GDP (the Gross Designed Product) and its implications for our environmental health and well-being. The idea of the GDP is a simple one: architects as well as designers specializing in interiors, products, graphics, and landscape are responsible for putting huge volumes of materials in motion. They specify everything from concrete to metal to wood to synthetics to paper -- myriad products, thousands with mysterious provenance, suspected of causing harm to living creatures.

"About 50,000 architects are responsible for creating USD800 billion worth of construction projects each year in the United States. This is real purchasing power. And it's only a portion of the GDP. Each trade association has its own measurements of the work its members perform and by implication the value of the products they specify. Together, these organizations -- AIA, ASID, IIDA, IDSA, AIGA, and others -- can force the production of environmentally safe, energy-efficient products. They're also in the position to provide research, analysis, and solid information about the properties and behaviors of materials. And they can bring together their own experts with other design professionals as well as those in the natural and social sciences, thus providing their combined members with the kind of information that the citizen designer of the twenty-first century needs."

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