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How architecture can create dignity for all | John Cary

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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.

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37 Comments on How architecture can create dignity for all | John Cary

  1. (A)s Entertainment // 2nd March 2018 at 4:00 pm // Reply

    First like first comment

  2. TED like always great

  3. elbuhtry ahmed // 2nd March 2018 at 4:02 pm // Reply

    you are best for me to learn english

  4. Jay Double Gee // 2nd March 2018 at 4:03 pm // Reply

    Why do people write “first”?? And will this thing ever come to an end??

  5. Joseph Gamache // 2nd March 2018 at 4:46 pm // Reply

    “I believe this is because architecture remains a white, male, elitist profession.” – 3:03

    I wholeheartedly disagree. Demographics of architects are not to blame here. Elitism is far more likely to be culpable, but demographics are not to blame.

    You even go through the problems with the education methods and certification process, yet you still make this unneccessary and unfounded assertion that demographics are to blame.

    • I do disagree with white, to some extend. There are a big number of architects who are asian, but even still, there are way more white guys in the area then other races, if you count women then, well, it goes even further down. The biggest names of architecture were always male, mostly white, and that’s where he is pointing to I belive. Even in most colleges we just study names like Niemeyer, Gehry, Frank W, Corbusier, Tadao, Barragan, Piano, Aalto and so on, as for the woman, well, there is Zaha…… Lina Bo Bardi…. Denise Brown rarely… at least today there are WAY more women in the area, but architetura itself was build in the foundations of a male profession

    • LuX___h4zza // 2nd March 2018 at 6:14 pm // Reply

      notamemer who’s fault is it that there are more white males in architecture?? Architects become successful due to their good building design and nothing else, no one even knows nor cares about the color of the architect … and as for the male -female difference, it can be explained easily by the fact that men are more into mathematical subjects whilst women are more into arty subjects, this is seen from a young age so it clearly has nothing to do with “systematic oppression “

    • Joseph Gamache // 2nd March 2018 at 6:16 pm // Reply

      notamemer which is to say, it has a similar history to almost all professions, and a similar demographic split to most ‘hard sciences’ type professions…

    • Virtue signaling to get on the platform. I value his sacrifice, otherwise it would be another stupid Ted talk on what is is to be a woman or some garbage.

    • Joseph Gamache it actually is….females and other races Bring their own the background and ideas when designing buildings and rooms…his example of female bathrooms proves this…men will design bathrooms without thinking how it will impact females who use them but even if the male architect gets some input from female coworkers or just females in general he’d be able do you design bathrooms with females in mind or even better get female architects to design female bathrooms…more diversity means more View points and ideas which can help everyone including the architect and whoever uses that architects building or room for its intended purpose

  6. James Saul Stuart // 2nd March 2018 at 4:46 pm // Reply

    You’ve shown a tiny but good glance at the problem. It is not a gender issue. The real issue is related to the fact that “the professions as a whole have not been impacted by technology” i.e. since architecture etc. can and does exist as a basic “mathematical program” and ought to be available for all to use (their input having been checked by the program) .The input of all who build or would like to will become the greatest leap forward. Architects will, when this does finally come about, cease to be the roadblocks of usable form that they are today.
    It is most rare that a person capable of achieving a degree in architecture is also capable of creativity.

    • James Saul Stuart sounds interesting, maybe I haven’t quite understood your point… could you shed light on this? For example, what technologies could be added to architecture to empower more people in this way? I am similarly interested in involving communities more in the architectural process, and would like to hear your opinion on this

  7. KALEIDO jess // 2nd March 2018 at 4:47 pm // Reply

    Ok, when he said white male elitist lol you can’t just blame males for architecture too. Architecture doesn’t need to be political. It doesn’t have to be about gender.

    • KALEIDO jess // 2nd March 2018 at 7:09 pm // Reply

      MelonLikeAFellon And not to mention, to assume that genders and races somehow need to be guided into making certain decisions, just to diversify that’s a form of racism in itself, so it’s actually funny to see that by trying not to be racist SJWs are focusing far too much on race, thus making them racist. Counter intuitive lol. Funny world.

    • KALEIDO jess // 2nd March 2018 at 7:15 pm // Reply

      Sardaukar2611 Yeah, I can somewhat agree with that. Each country has its own culture, and bringing them together can be interesting sometimes. As long as it happens naturally.

    • Sardaukar2611 but do people of different ethnicities think differently because of their skin color being different?

    • Stefan Charon // 2nd March 2018 at 8:06 pm // Reply

      Ya, but how else could he have gotten a TED talk?

    • I used to love Ted Talks. People speaking with passion about a niche subject I hadn’t been aware of before. Now, its just “Hey White men, change”. Its very depressing. The only thing that can fight inequality, is equality. Not quotas, nor giving preferred hiring practices to PoC or women. Aside from that, I actually did enjoy his talk, but he is a dreamer. Good design costs, good materials cost. The lights are bright and the room enclosed for hygiene.

  8. Rendra Kusuma // 2nd March 2018 at 4:51 pm // Reply

    didn’t like the political part but nice topic

  9. As soon as he said white male elitist I made this comment and know I’m leaving the video

  10. Simon Kempe // 2nd March 2018 at 5:10 pm // Reply

    Honestly, this is simply meaningless.
    There is no money in homeless projects because the public doesn’t care. What they want to see is hostile design.
    Women’s bathroom lines are longer because the builder won’t ever double the size of them because women don’t care enough to demand it.
    Your hospital bedroom sucked because people don’t care about good hospitals until they are inside one. So most of the time, they just want them as low-cost as possible.

    These companies that make buildings have absolutely no incentive to design them properly. When it finally does come up, they prefer taxes going down.

  11. Amazing *TED* video like always!

  12. Stranger Happened // 2nd March 2018 at 5:41 pm // Reply

    *The stress on the identity politics is absurd and gross.* Many male architects are in general just as inattentive to any spaces they design no matter if they are for men or for women. The drawbacks of their architecture have nothing to do with them being males but has everything to do with their lack of care for detail and for people who would use their creations. And, of course, female architects can be just as clueless about the end-user comfort as their male counterparts. So what this guy’s point was again? To get cheap SJW points that have actually nothing to do with architecture?

  13. If you want to motivate people, in this case white male architects, to change their approach of work, it is not a clever idea to blame them for existing shortcomings.
    I don’t think black female architects could easily push through these design approaches when the orderer demands ‘Make it cheap to build and to maintain, make it functional and make it non-distracting’.

  14. Why did he have to bring the “white male” race card in there?

  15. ‘Damn whites don’t know nothing about architecture. Let’s get everything designed by black women.” -Whole Ted talk in one sentence. Stupid identity politics.

  16. My God, another one pissing on his own gender & race. As if that is going to help architecture. Architecture is not a #metoo popularity contest. It’s about taste & aesthetics. Coincidentally, in my part of Europe, more women than men study architecture so he even has his facts wrong too.

  17. srujana parachuri, a female syndey architect, has similar ideas and a dream to help people. I dont know much about architecture , but i know people who care. we meed more of them.

  18. *Yeah, I know dropping a Diversity Bomb is a requirement for every TED talk, but this time it really made me cringe. You don’t need to play the White Male card to explain the blind spots of architectural design. A white male architect is not a woman nor a person of color, and he’ll ignore some design considerations that might be obvious to those groups, but neither is he a doctor or nurse, who could’ve also had some valuable input on that delivery room. Neither is he an engineer, a steel erector, a janitor, a mover, a window cleaner, a disabled person (and if he is, which kind?), a child, a service animal, or literally anything else. Nor can he be all of these things. He is one person with a finite life. We’d all be better at our jobs if we all had infinite knowledge of what everyone else wanted.*

  19. Enio Oliveira // 2nd March 2018 at 11:36 pm // Reply

    It seems you’ve spent all your college years in a “safe space”. That stereotypical social justice vocabulary you use is ridiculous.

  20. I loved this Ted talk, but seriously is there a way to fix the long bathroom lines for women?

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