In-Hand-with-Nature Why is good design important? Good-quality places must not be seen as a luxury but a necessity. Good design has the power to change and improve people’s quality of life. Well-designed streets, public gardens, homes, workplaces, schools and any other public buildings will have a positive impact on our lives and our communities. Good design can deliver sustainability, growth, stronger communities and innovation;  but not only.  Good design is capable of physically changing the way people feel, think, and perform for the better. What is well designed 21st century building?  Primarily, a building does not work in isolation. Holistic thinking is required to ensure that a building is part of an integrated process that fits into bigger strategies and a coherent planning visions.  From a physical point of view, a building forms part of a grid through which it is fed electricity and water. Hence a building forms part of an eco-system and ultimately effects the network it’s connected to.  A green building will ultimately not only empower present users but also improve the sustainability of the whole infrastructure.  Anupama Kundoo, and architect from India, gave an inspirational lecture at Iaac earlier this year. She shared how her buildings were many times constructed out of locally sourced materials. The building materials she opts for have a low carbon impact, are reclaimed and recycled. Furthermore, her demand for locally produced materials  help locals retain their jobs thus reducing mass unemployment. I believe such approaches are critical. A building must satisfy its users. The ultimate clients of buildings, are its users, hence it would be only logical to focus on people’s real needs. Only by focusing on better outcomes for pleasing the core users can buildings and their uses ultimately satisfy commercial or social goals. Therefore the uses of buildings, organised and effective transit linking are essential benchmarks for a successful buildings. Aspects of use are likely to change over the building’s lifetime, and probably even the technologies it contains. Hence a good building must be flexible and able to accommodate change, by being able to adapt, and  be altered as necessary. The housing boom that hit most developed countries in the past fifty years, was all about chasing the highest profits and, far too often, delivering poor quality buildings. I believe that this era must come to an end.  As mentioned earlier, developers who choose to produce low quality buildings would be punishing themselves as they also form part of the same network which is feeding from the poor buildings they build. Nonetheless, the truth is that developers are interested in making the quick buck and run away once their units are sold. Most of the time, they do not realize that the poor buildings they design are affecting their own pockets and the quality of the built environment they live in.  I believe in two mechanisms to stop such a short sighted approach.  First, making it obligatory for developers to retain some of the units they build and create models in which developers  rent out some of the apartments for a number of years. Second option would be to tie developers with also maintaining the building for a stipulated number of years. This approach would promote long-term quality through attracting long-term investment.