Thursday, April 10, 2008

"What is your ethical footprint?"

I took this right from Cameron Sinclair's blog because it's one of the best phrases about responsible design since... well, since Cameron coined the term "Design like you give a damn."

"That's a question I pose quite often to young designers who are interested in socially responsible and humanitarian design. While 'being green' and sustainability are hot topics right now many in our industry seem to forget the ethical impact our structures have. It's a question designers at Architecture for Humanity struggle with all the time. Is my work creating balanced financial stability in the community? Are the materials I am using sourced in an ethical manner? Are we including the local skills and talent in the design and construction process?"
Read on [especially the part about Dubai.]

The question of course applies far beyond architecture. Truly responsible design, business and personal practices aren't so easy to quantify. You can't buy 'ethical offsets'.

1 comment:

Michael Doyle said...

I haven't been able to stop thinking about ethical offsets. Aside from the fact that it would be totally unethical, it's a killer business model for sapping guilty liberals with money!

One simple scenario:
Someone is so frustrated with their life that they punch a random old lady in the face. (It happens.) They then feel horrible about it and give you $200 to offset their action. You pay some teenager in India $2 to do kind things for other people for a whole day. There's more kindness in the world and you have $198 in your pocket.

Brilliant, no?