Frieze reviews "Design Like You Give a Damn"

Frieze magazine just reviewed Architecture for Humanity's new book Design Like You Give a Damn. After noting AFH's mission of "promoting architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises," writer Irene Cheng asks:
This description of the group’s aims begs the question: are architecture and design really capable of ‘solving’ global, social and humanitarian crises? Or are such issues too complex to be fixed with simply another lighter, cheaper, emergency tent?
Cheng has just set up a nifty straw-man argument: by changing AFH's mission of "promoting... design solutions" to "'solv[ing]' social problems" (she adds quote marks to make it seem like the kind of legit citation it's not), she suggests that AFH co-founder Cameron Sinclair's ego is monstrous and that he believes that humanitarian architecture is a cure-alll for social problems. Linguistically, isn't "solving" qualitatively different from "promoting solutions"? One suggests a big fix--voila!--while the other admits multiple answers. A look at the book's outline--which covers housing and water, sanitation, energy, and community action--suggests that the 70-some featured projects don't claim to be a silver bullet.

(Thanks, Max.)

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