William McDonough at the Wall Street Journal’s ECOnomics

Here’s an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal article about William McDonough‘s appearance and remarks at the Wall Street Journal’s ECOnomics conference–

On thinking big in design

You need a much bigger plan when you approach a green building. I got a call a while ago to design a new motorcycle factory in India. I put the building’s structure on the outside, and used it to accommodate solar collectors and greenhouses. All of a sudden, we’re designing a million square feet of buildings that have as many jobs on the roof, growing food, as they do inside.

It’s all cost-effective, since I need the structure anyway. And when all the people go to work, we make clean air for them in the building with walls of plants. That also saves huge amounts of money.

On priorities for urban planning

The real fundamental question that we have today as designers is about the kids. What jobs do they have? What hope do they have?

In the 1980s, Jaime Lerner, the mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, was making green initiatives. As Curitiba made every decision, he asked, “How do I love my children?”

When he built libraries, instead of building a mausoleum downtown for books, he put them in all the little communities, so every kid could get there.

Citizens complained because the people in the favelas, the shantytowns, outside the city limits were sending their children in to use the libraries inside Curitiba, and he had to stop that. He said, “Why would I stop that? Are you kidding? If we don’t love those children, too, those children will grow up and hate the city. And they will come in and destroy the city.”

A version of this article appeared March 26, 2013, on page R4 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: For Urban Planners, Green Makes Things a Lot More Complicated.

Read the article here.