22 April 2013

Design is Politics

Development, Part 3c

Design is Politics

Glen Mills’ excellent, short, 2006 Business Day article “Thinking out of the matchbox” (attached) briefly summarises the general situation in South African housing, which has not changed much since then.

There is still no public discussion of design, except at the “Top Billing” level of snobbery and eclecticism, or otherwise at the level of the most banal and hopeless utilitarianism.

Mills’ article brings in the vital question of design. His argument is true, and tragic. Design is the politics and the propaganda of the eye, and the enabler of freedom. It is the politics that is lived in, as opposed to being merely read or spoken.

Design is terribly impoverished in South Africa. This part of our politics has been neglected.

On 30 January 2012, Glen Mills published another article in Business Day, under the headline “Informal settlements could be our cities of the future”. It has been added to our discussion document.

In the next part, we look at the rural side of things.

Image: “Plug-In City