Something to believe in
People don’t buy square footage. Or floorplans or elevations or parks or schools or real estate values. (And they certainly don’t think of homes as “units.” Can we strike that from our vocabulary?) Those things are the rational factors we cite to justify an emotional decision we’ve already made.
We buy a home because of what it helps us become. A safer neighborhood (perceived or real) helps a mom or dad feel like a better parent. A LEED-certified building near transit helps the environmentally conscious feel redeemed for reducing their carbon footprint. A community designed around urban farming helps a foodie feel affirmed about her localvore lifestyle, and gives her another means of telling that story to others.
As our friends at Strada are fond of saying, “This is not a toaster.” I don’t want to hear how much extra storage space I’ll get. I want to be part of something that I can believe in. (And that goes beyond the product, by the way. YOU have to embody that something too.)
The auto industry is really good at creating badges of identity—and their raw materials are steel and rubber.
Why can’t we, working with wood and glass and stone and landscaping, do even better?
NB: A framed print of Hugh’s cartoon above hangs in my home office. You can get one here if you’re so inclined.