Design for Good | A New Era of Architecture for Everyone

Washington, DC (August 31, 2017)—Well-designed spaces are not just a matter of taste or a question of aesthetics; they literally shape our ideas about who we are and what we deserve. Design impacts our health, our education, our community, our sense of self-worth, and more, yet all-too-often design is viewed as a luxury. To address critical problems of access and inequity at home and around the world, good design must transcend the endless coverage of multi-million dollar homes and Silicon Valley office spaces to become a key means of uplifting those who need it most.

In his inspiring new book Design for Good (Publication Date: October 3, 2017), award-winning designer and entrepreneur John Cary offers character-driven, real-world stories about the power of designs that dignify. Beautifully designed in full color with stunning photos that capture the spirit of the places—and people—they represent, Design for Good is a triumphant look at the power of dignifying design.

Design for Good: A New Era of Architecture for Everyone
  • Cary, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

“A visual testament to the fact that every human being has the right to live a healthy, dignified life…If questions about the uncertain future of global health keep you up at night, this book is for you.”

—Barbara Bush, Co-founder & CEO, Global Health Corps

“These solutions, this book, matter deeply to a field searching for its highest calling and to a world in need of our best efforts.”

—Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO; author, Change by Design

“Through rich stories and breathtaking images, author John Cary makes a compelling and fresh argument that architects have an opportunity to not just build buildings, but build dignity.”

—Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation


From Atlanta to Angdong, Dallas to Dhaka, Design for Good features 20 projects from around the world that show not only how dignified design can elevate and empower communities, but also show how it can be achieved. Drawing from in-depth interviews with designers and non-designers alike, Cary’s book uniquely showcases the power of human-centered design. Every project in the book is presented through voices of clients and users as well as designers, serving to represent not only the designer’s intention, but the actual experience of and impact on the user.

Featured projects include the Maternity Waiting Village in rural Malawi, which provides women from rural homes with immediate access to expert medical care, and the Star Apartments on Skid Row in Los Angeles, which serve homeless populations and remove the stigma of social services by offering voluntary, on-site mental health services, addiction treatment, and more. Exploring examples from Guangdong, China to Kalamazoo, Michigan, Cary draws five key lessons for achieving designs that dignify: embrace a beginner’s mindset; seek partners, not clients; build community support; employ workers and source materials locally; and measure impact.

An uplifting call-to-action, Design for Good challenges designers and interested citizens to seek out and demand designs that dignify. As philanthropist Melinda Gates observes in the book’s foreword, “Great design is not a finite resource; it is a choice we can all make by listening more, empathizing more, and demanding more for humanity. [These stories] call on us all to insist that even in the face of scarcity and suffering, there must always be room for dignity.”

John Cary is an architect, writer, speaker, and curator focused on design and philanthropy. He is also an advisor to Aspen Global Health & Development, TED, and an array of foundations and nonprofits globally.

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