Responsible design is about providing for real needs, not perceived wants.

January 19th, 2006 by Peter Schmelzer


Responsible design is about providing for real needs, not perceived wants.

I found this one on Treehugger.com as part of a blurb on an anti-malaria watch.

It’s bluntness is great. And, it hits at the heart of an issue with which I’ve been wrestling.

Many of the homes that are built today are built based on hypothetical needs of a hypothetical home owner; translated: perceived wants, not real needs. A great example is the formal dining room, which rarely gets used but is often built anyway. Hottubs are another “feature” that are often underutilized (I think I heard that the average hottub is used 7 times in its lifetime).

This may be due to housing being handled as a commodity to be purchased and sold, rather than really lived in. Example: how often have you thought of the resale value of your sofa? Comfort and fit are more important in our sofa selections than the list of features it may have (built-in drink holders, stainless steel legs, double stitched seams, …)

So, do we really need 4 full bathrooms, or is the real need bathing and toilet facilities to get a family of five through their morning routine between 7:00am and 7:20 am (insert your schedule here)?

Responsible design is about providing for real needs, not perceived wants.

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