Urban Matchmaker

Ayla and I had brainstormed once about her idea of a publishing a book about Design and Dating.  It would show how they could be a metaphor for each other.  We had some hilarious ones about one night stands, first dates, and making the first move.  It was also linked to a train of thought I had had after an exhibition at Toronto Design Exchange which had on a panel that read something like-  “Sustainability is like teenage sex, everyone talks about like they are doing it, but noone is and the ones who are- aren’t doing it very well”. I haven’t dated much, and am really under-qualified to weigh into the metaphors too much, but I do really understand more than ever that great design outcomes is ALL about great realtionships (and colloboration).

I said to Ayla in email in Dec 09 (edited)-

I’m writing a job application for a job in Community Development (about community benefits and social trade offs with developers).   I’m figuring the only success of the policy and scheme is to catalyze and create networks and win-win relationships (between businesses, community groups, devlopers and Council)

In talking to Sonia, I realise urban design/ strategic thinking/capacity building/ parking day all share a commonalty.  It is just about tapping into, and making connections in a creative, complex web of people and things.

So a good design consultant it is just a dating service.
The only thing it really does is connect people, stories and things
It inspires a romatic future in partners (vision/design strategy) and then hopes for sparks to fly  (action/implementation plan)

I’m now thinking as funny new job description: urban matchmaker (bringing together community and designers).

That design & dating book as manifesto prehaps.
There’s something in this incomplete train of thought”

It’s not a new idea.  In fact better and smarter people are already using this idea. Amy sent me this link to DesigNYC, a volunteer organization that matches designers with nonprofits and offering guidelines for successful results.  There are many more great examples about the design community getting together to help on projects.  I particularly know of Design Trust for Public Space and Centre for Urban Pedagogy which do “matchmaking”  in a way, except they also pay designers which makes it a more powerful idea to me.

Winterhouse Instiute (in New York )  is someone Paul F has recently introduced me to similarly working in this area –

Winterhouse Institute focuses on non-profit, self-initiated projects that support design education, as well as social and political initiatives. In January 2009, the Institute began a two-year project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation with a $1.5 million grant, to develop collective action and collaboration for social impact across the design industry.


One thought on “Urban Matchmaker

  1. […] dating service came up as an idea at the Monthly Design Review meeting.  It is concept I had  posted about before and design/dating is a metaphor that Ayla continues to explore on her blog. […]

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