Developing In Public Interest Design, Not for the Fainthearted

Being engaged in public interest design poses many difficult challenges which require unconventional avenues of thought than what is typically seen in standard architectural business models. But as awareness and realization for the need of public interest design increases, many companies in the architecture industry have begun to expand the ways they think out side of the box to address the at-hand affordable housing issues seen in their communities.

For one architect making a difference in public interest design, Kevin Cavanaugh of Architecture Building Culture, was finally able to make his public interest design projects come to life by assuming the role of a developer. This model made most sense to pursue for ABC because it allows them to have a hand in every step of the process and also take on projects that many typical developers would not have any interest in. As Cavanaugh put it:

“Wearing many hats and all… which in combination make these sometimes unaccepted new ideas sometimes possible”.

Additionally Cavanaugh stated:

“By serving as our own developer, we can decide which risks we want to take. By owning the buildings after they are complete, we can bring the discipline of reasonable operating costs to the design process. And by serving as the property manager, we can generate feedback for our future development/design projects.”

I think this model for immersing a practice into the public interest design sector is one of many complexities and should not be taken lightly. However, if well thought through from inception,  it provides opportunity for a high level of control, oversight, and financial comfort in the eyes of the investors which is one of the biggest issues. But when it proves to be successful it allows for a continuation of the program, more affordable housing to be built, and the needs of a community to always be in a state of improvement which is an ultimate goal of contributing to this idea.

Assuming the role as a developer in the PID sector is only one of many avenues that can be taken as business owner to get involved. For more information on how you can best get involved, view examples, and connect with others that share the idea to design for a better world, visit:Impact Design Hub

Featured Image:Healing Hill


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