money-heart-770427   The goal of economic wealth is to meet human needs in such a way that life becomes in some respect richer and better in the process. It is not simply to produce as many stuff as you want. Stuff is a means. Yet the present aspect of the people on economy has always been focusing on means.   We tend to define the health of a community, a city, or a country according to how much economic capital (like cash flow and property value) and how much cultural capital (like birth of museums or festivals it holds) it has. But by taking only economic and cultural capital into account, we are missing a huge part of the whole thing here. We all know things can run smoothly, and sometimes very effectively accelerated with only individual to individual, a household to a household, a neighborhood to another neighborhood, but what about the connections?  Networks and mutual support systems among the residents of a community. Architecture couldn’t even live a day without these connections. It would be dead, deserted, and malfunctioned. Even a self-sufficient building couldn’t survive. This has happened to countless of Summer camp. We architectural students try to put our know-how into the hand of children in rural area. There has never been good connections between people from the city and those kids. The only connection would be a good will. Without studying of how lives there go on each day, studying of history, studying of surroundings materials or geological balance, mimicking ourselves as them, we could never make a connection. So no, without the linkage between whatever the city, the country or the people  is offering to the architecture, a part of the building will always be counted as social capital loss. Of course as long as the money is the easiest way to define prosperity, the fastest way to get that financial gain back is to get the money. We can’t deny that this happens every second we are designing a building (as a developer or an architect) When it’s time for us to choose between two material for interior partition, one last very long and very toxic while the other looks green but ugly. When we couldn’t decide between two equivalent things, we use the cost to hand down the decision. The less we invest, the faster we got the profit back. So until there is another way to define wealth rather than money. (Well there is actually, with the carbon credit or LEED beneficial advantages, but they are not directly accounted for what we gain.) And it would be a huge leap of faith to imagin somehow there is a way to turn those benefits into money. Anyways, that is far from architects responsibility. The best we could to to turn things around is to perform our profession like we are going to live in the building we are designing and it will be ours, our children’s’, our city’s and we have to take responsibility of everything the building costs, causes or crumbles into.   Both forms of capital, however, obscure the social role that architecture plays and the way in which buildings do not just represent financial or cultural value, but also social value.     Picture credit :

(Life shouldn’t be printed on dollar bills.  ~Clifford Odets)