Catalyzing the Conversation: The Good Life
By Dr. Mary McBride
Issue 9 Fall 2011
Design can provide access to a good life. It can also help shape appetite for a good life that is more inclusive and more fulfilling. In this issue, our contributors look at how designers are collaborating across disciplines to create intoxicating new ideas about a shared good life.
We found visionaries who were also pragmatists able to construct a better tomorrow out of the materials of everyday life. If you are looking for the good news about progress made toward designing a good life that is economically, socially and environmentally viable, we found it.
Bruce Mau alerts us to the need to design a sense of the possible and ground it in a fact-based optimism. But, optimism is hard won in a broken body, as the graffiti artist Tempt knows. Mick Ebeling’s EyeWriter demonstrates how design can help keep heart and will alive and enable a creative mind to work within the very real limitations of a severely disabled body.
Designing hope takes on another dimension as David De Rothschild floats hope over the high seas. Back on shore, Kiran Bir Sethi, reminds us that children are our future and that we must design educational experiences that develop a sense of agency and encourage a vital joy.
Creative capital and collective will are helping to rebalance the nation and people of Japan. Yusuke Ashizawa reports that Japan is hopeful and continues to inspire even as it struggles to redefine luxury and to creatively re-imagine a good life in a fragile ecosystem.
We all live in fragile ecosystems and the faculty and students of Middlebury College are part of a core of change agents designing and building for a future of extremes. Strategic design can enable people to re-design their lives as they wrap compassion close. Life on the streets is a reality for many of the world’s people and Veronika Scott is our guide on how to imagine a good life that is inclusive and caring.
This issue of Catalyst makes it quite clear that the future is being designed today. The people we feature are sending out a signal that a good life is well within our capacity to imagine and to design. Our glass is full of creative energies stirring up the status quo, occupying every position and every organization and country. We are all Catalysts. Please let us know what you are up to!