Calling for a Triple Bottom Line Design Metric (SSIR)

Public Interest Design blogger John Cary summarizes SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design), the lesser known social impact focused cousin to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and the challenges to growth that this evaluation system has faced. He suggests, “Rather than remain a shoestring operation, SEED should leverage the USGBC’s vast network and resources. Both SEED and LEED would become stronger programs for it.” Read the full article on the Stanford Social Innovation Review at Calling for a Triple Bottom Line Design Metric (SSIR).

As a new advisory council focuses on the future of SEED, public interest designers are faced with a common question in this field – How can our work scale up? Does it inherently lose it’s ability to be responsive to the specific social needs of individual communities when molded to fit within the requirements of a certification program? I don’t think it does. Despite the vastness and the merited criticisms that can be leveled at LEED, the success or failure of the final product lies with the project team. Similarly, if SEED were to be applied to projects around the globe, the onus of success would remain with the designer in the field. It is the responsibility, and the joy, of public interest designers to immerse themselves within the groups that they work for, and this responsibility remains and would be amplified by an international platform from which best practices and lessons learned in triple bottom line design can be shared.


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