There is a phrase – Living the Life of Riley – maybe you’ve heard of it? If not that’s okay, I’ll tell you what it means. Despite unknown origins, the phrase has come to mean living the good life; as in:
“Borson? Well that guy is living the Life of Riley”
For the most part I do have it pretty good and nobody wants to come on this site and hear how bad I have it and poor me … that includes yours truly. The discussion for today is are things better today than they were 10 years ago? Is there reason to be optimistic? Without spending any measurable time thinking about it, my knee-jerk reaction is a resounding yes. Things are better than they were 10 years ago, better but harder. I am a glass half-full kind of person and I like to think that positive changes are happening, lives are being improved, people care about others and lend a helping hand whenever possible.
Maybe that’s just me. I can find reasons to be positive but wishing and thinking doesn’t make it happen.
I make less money today than I did a year ago – but I still have a job
My house is falling apart and I can’t fix it – but I don’t live in a shelter or under a bridge
I don’t eat steak for dinner every night – but my family isn’t going hungry
There are always reasons to be thankful and perspective can sometimes help you see what you might be looking past.
I also just watched Cameron Sinclair from Architecture for Humanity speak at the 71st Annual Texas Society of Architects Convention and felt inspired and humbled. If you are looking for a reason to be optimistic for the next ten years, take a look at how this group is making a difference when it matters most. From the Architecture from Humanity website, here is how they spent the first 10 years of the new millennium:
Organization Founded in New York, New York
‘Architecture for Humanity’ Transitional Housing design competition held
Two part-time volunteers
First Transitional Housing prototype built.
Outreach – Mobile Health Clinics to Combat HIV/AIDS competition held
First full-time member of staff and three part-time volunteers
Mobile Health Clinic Workshop held in Somkhele, South Africa
First local chapter, Architecture for Humanity NY, formed. Dozen more formed in the following year.
Responded to Bam Earthquake and Hurricane Emily
Cincinnati Freedom Summer Charrette held
Siyathemba – Youth Sports Facility and HIV/AIDS Outreach Center competition held
Main Office moves to Bozeman, Montana
Responded to South Asia Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina
Design Like You Give A Damn published, top-selling design book
Organization awarded the INDEX Design for Life Award for Siyathemba
Three full-time members of staff, four part-time volunteers and three design fellows
Main Office moves to Sausalito, California
Organization awarded the TED Prize and the Wired Rave Award for Architecture
Begins partnership with UN Habitat
Main Office moves to San Francisco, California
Open Architecture Network (www.openarchitecturenetwork.org) launched, 10,000 members in its first year
AMD 2007 Open Architecture Challenge held
Organization awarded the AIANY Foundation Award
Biloxi Model Homes win multiple regional AIA Awards
One hundredth project completed
Architecture for Humanity awarded prestigious National Design Patron Award from Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
Six full-time members of staff, eight part-time volunteers and seventeen design fellows
Two hundred and fiftieth building begun
Celebrates 10 years of ‘Designing like we give a damn’ with Anniversary party at Autodesk Design Center.
Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom competition. Over 1060 teams from 31 countries enter and Teton Valley School in Idaho wins.
Architecture for Humanity speaks at conferences in Canada, Thailand, Singapore, Qatar, London, Hong Kong and the United States. Kate speaks at Clinton Global Initiative and Cameron speaks at CLSA and Greenbuild. They win the Royal Society of Arts Bicentenary Medal in London and are invited to the White House for National Design Awards.
Begin projects in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Kenya, South Africa. Grand Opening of Skateistan in Kabul. Open Design Studios in Hyderabad, India and Cape Town, South Africa. Homeless World Cup in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Finish the Biloxi homes project.
This Wednesday night in Dallas from 6:30 to 8:30, the Dallas/ Fort Worth Chapter of Architecture for Humanity will be having it’s monthly meeting and I am going to be there. Interested in seeing what’s going on? Maybe say hello and meet some interesting people? Here’s the agenda – it’s at the Old Monk on Henderson (about 100 yards from my office).
Finally, I tracked down a video that was shown during the general session presentation down in San Antonio. Cameron told an amazing story about how he has never met the woman who made this video, that they just sent her a bunch of information and video reels and this is what they received back.
Sorry if you can’t see the video embed above but if you go to my site, it is available for viewing (re: mobile devices that don’t support flash)
Today’s topic was brought to you as part of a series of “blog off” participants where several people are given a topic/ title and they all write on that topic. It is a fun exercise given the loose parameters that are established. If you would like to read the other entries in today’s topic, head on over to www.letsblogoff.com