"I can't recommend John Cary's book, Design for Good, highly enough. His argument...is clear and revolutionary." —Melinda Gates
“That’s what we do really: we do miracles,” said Anne-Marie Nyiranshimiyimana, who learned masonry in helping to build the Butaro Hospital, a project designed for and with the people of Rwanda using local materials. This, and other projects designed with dignity, show the power of good design. Almost nothing influences the quality of our lives more than the design of our homes, our schools, our workplaces, and our public spaces. Yet, design is often taken for granted and people don’t realize that they deserve better, or that better is even possible.
In Design for Good, John Cary offers character-driven, real-world stories about projects around the globe that offer more—buildings that are designed and created with and for the people who will use them. The book reveals a new understanding of the ways that design shapes our lives and gives professionals and interested citizens the tools to seek out and demand designs that dignify.
For too long, design has been seen as a luxury, the province of the rich, not the poor. That can no longer be acceptable to those of us in the design fields, nor to those affected by design that doesn’t consider human aspects.
From the Mulan Primary School in Guangdong, China to Kalamazoo College’s Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, the examples in the book show what is possible when design is a collaborative, dignified, empathic process. Building on a powerful foreword by philanthropist Melinda Gates, Cary draws from his own experience as well as dozens of interviews to show not only that everyone deserves good design, but how it can be achieved. This isn’t just another book for and about designers. It’s a book about the lives we lead, inextricably shaped by the spaces and places we inhabit.
About the Author
John Cary is an architect, writer, speaker, and curator focused on design and philanthropy. Consulting principally for TED, he is also an advisor to Aspen Global Health & Development and an array of foundations and nonprofits globally.
"Architect and author John Cary presents 29 multinational case studies from 10 countries and seven U.S. states in which professionals allied with disenfranchised and poor people work to produce buildings and plans that serve and dignify their needs...[the book] sets an admirably high standard by conveying good news and good ideas without pretending there were no problems."
"Design for Good shows us that it is possible to build great spaces that function well for anyone and that a well-designed space really can help people to expect more for themselves."
"John Cary's Design for Good comes at a time when it is so important to re-instill the hope that design brings to people...This book is a must read for all."
"Design for Good draws a clear line between the spaces we inhabit and the social justice we seek. Through rich stories and breathtaking images, author John Cary makes a compelling and fresh argument that architects have an opportunity to not just build buildings, but build dignity. It's time we raise all people's expectations that they too deserve good design. The world will be a better, more just, and more equitable place for it."
— Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
"Design for Good is a visual testament to the fact that every human being has the right to live a healthy, dignified life. This beautiful book marries my own passions for design and global health leadership in a way that no other book has. More importantly, it demonstrates that designers can—and must—play a role in creating a more equitable world. The best part? It's a new generation of leaders from the Global South who are on the cutting edge of the next health revolution. If questions about the uncertain future of global health keep you up at night, this book is for you."
— Barbara Bush, Co-founder & CEO, Global Health Corps
"In John Cary's remarkable book, we hear directly from the creative minds—users, clients, and, yes, designers—that came together to create 20 stunning buildings across the globe. They were brought to life by a process that we, at IDEO, call human-centered design. It's not just a buzzword; it's a way of approaching work that matters. These solutions, this book, matter deeply to a field searching for its highest calling and to a world in need of our best efforts."
— Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO and author of "Change By Design"
"I can't recommend John Cary's book, Design for Good, highly enough. His argument—that everyone deserves good design—is clear and revolutionary."
— Melinda Gates