For several years we have suffered global catastrophes that have cost thousands of lives and untold years of future hardship. Most recent is Typhoon Haiyan, which destroyed parts of the Philippines at a cost of over 5000 lives. It is easy, and necessary, to give money to help people after a tragedy like this, but it is also easy for donor fatigue to develop. There are already reports that most Americans are unaware of the tragedy. More importantly, even after the initial rush of aid, what happens to the people and physical ruins of their lives is something we do not often pay attention to.
So, for Giving Tuesday, I want to highlight the work of MIIM Designs, an architectural and design firm that uses “design communities + create culture” as its tagline. They are fundraising to help rebuild. Their goal is “speaking to local citizens and construction professionals, they are working to begin understanding the on-the-ground situation, assess the area's needs, and deliver impactful design to help the people.” In other words, they are putting into direct practice what I, and what I believe other people, want understand, which is how their money is being used.
The work they are fundraising for is person-centered, trying to meet local needs, and build for the future. It’s daring and bold, and should be the norm. I work on Muslim arts, and dabble a little with architecture. I think it’s great that we can point to marvels like the Taj Mahal, or the 96th Street mosque, But we have to think of architecture as something more than monumental. It speaks to the needs and identities of people. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, one of the premiere architecture awards, says its goal is:
The selection process emphasizes architecture that not only provides for people's physical, social and economic needs, but that also stimulates and responds to their cultural expectations. Particular attention is given to building schemes that use local resources and appropriate technology in innovative ways, and to projects likely to inspire similar efforts elsewhere.
From what I understand of MIIM Design’s vision, this is the response they are fundraising for. I would love to see people donate to this cause.
It’s Giving Tuesday, help out.