Make your way around just about any major city (and smaller ones, too) in the US, and you’d be hard pressed not to see some form of new construction going on. Unless it’s related to an educational, governmental, or healthcare facility, there’s a good chance it’s being driven by a developer. Without generalizing too much, it’s fairly safe to say that developers don’t necessarily have the best reputation, and yet, they are the ones responsible for the vast majority of the buildings we all use.
Architects have long played backup to developers in shepherding the future of our cities…developers focused on the bottom line and profit margins. Much of this is due to the ever-increasing litigious nature of society, not to mention how finance is almost vilified in our training; architects should sacrifice profit for the good of the concept.
Fortunately, there is a growing number of us interested in expanding our roles to the “dark side”, taking ownership and enabling development that is far more aware, focused its users rather than just the bottom line. For us, profit, good design, and community responsibility are not mutually exclusive.
For more, check out Brandon Donnelly‘s recent article for Architizer (I highly recommend his blog, in general):