Thursday February 8, 2018


How architecture can create dignity for all

If architect and writer John Cary has his way, women will never need to stand in pointlessly long bathroom lines again. Lines like these are representative of a more serious issue, Cary says: the lack of diversity in design that leads to thoughtless, compassionless spaces. Design has a unique ability to dignify and make people feel valued, respected, honored and seen -- but the flip side is also true. Cary calls for architects and designers to expand their ranks and commit to serving the public good, not just the privileged few. "Well-designed spaces are not just a matter of taste or a questions of aesthetics," he says. "They literally shape our ideas about who we are in the world and what we deserve." And we all deserve better.

An architect by training, John Cary has devoted his career to expanding the practice of design for the public good.

When architect-turned-writer John Cary co-authored an oped, with partner Courtney E. Martin, on the design failures of the breast pump, it sparked an MIT Media Lab hackathon and the launch of multiple companies. It's a perfect example of his knack for linking good design and public good. He is the author of two books, most recently Design for Good: A New Era of Architecture for Everyone, and his writing on design, philanthropy and fatherhood is widely published.

Cary works as a philanthropic advisor to an array of foundations and nonprofits around the world, and he frequently curates and hosts events for the Aspen Institute, TED and other entities. Deeply committed to diversifying the public stage, Cary is also a founding partner in FRESH Speakers, a next-generation speakers bureau that represents young women and people of color. is distributed twice weekly; Tuesday and Thursday

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ISSN 0824-45
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