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I'm interested in this topic, but loath to commit to watching a TED talk without some idea of what it's about. It would be helpful to me if you shared a two sentence summary of why you like this. It's my general rule to  begin reading text, but just skip bare links to videos unless they're two minutes long or less. Thanks

Here is a summary: 

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.

Thanks! I too prefer to skim or read at my own pace than listen to someone talk.

The TED site has a transcript: (well implemented: click on a sentence to skip to that point in the video).

Some highlights:

Well, what if the real question is, "What is wrong with the men that designed these bathrooms?" ... But the opposite can also be true. Thoughtful design can make people feel respected and seen... it's about having the spaces you inhabit reflect back your value.

Over the past two years I had the opportunity to interview over 100 people from all walks of life... 

I listened to Gregory, a resident of this cottage community designed specifically for the 50 most chronically homeless people in Dallas... A broad coalition of social service agencies, funders and designers, created this place. Each 400 square foot cottage is designed beautifully as a permanent home. Gregory now has a key to a door to his own house. He describes the sense of security that it brings him. Something he had lived without for three decades... He describes it simply as heaven.

On the other side of the world, I listened to Antoinette, the director of this training and community center for women in rural Rwanda. Hundreds of women come to this place daily -- to learn new skills, be in community, and continue rebuilding their lives following the country's civil war. These women literally pressed the 500,000 bricks that make up the 17 classroom pavilions like this one. Antoinette told me, "Everyone is so proud of it."

And then back here in the US I listened to Monika, the director of a free clinic primarily serving the uninsured in Arkansas. Monika loves telling me that the doctors, who volunteer at her free clinic routinely tell her that they've never worked in such a beautiful, light-filled place. Monika believes that even people experiencing poverty deserve quality health care. And what's more, she believes they deserve to receive that care in a dignified setting.

People like these are invaluable ambassadors for design and yet they are roundly absent from architectural discourse. Similarly, the people who can most benefit from good design often have the least access to it. Your cousin, a homeless veteran; your grandma or grandpa who live in a house with a kitchen that's no longer accessible to them; your wheelchair-bound sister in a suburban area planned without sidewalks....

(ellipses mine)


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