1st Edition

Design Capital The Hidden Value of Design in Infrastructure

By Sherry McKay, AnnaLisa Meyboom Copyright 2022
    284 Pages 52 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 52 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Well-designed infrastructure brings social value that far exceeds its initial construction expenditure, but competition for scarce government funds and a general public perception of infrastructure as mere efficiency, has often left design ill-considered. This book provides designers with the tools needed to argue for the value of design: the ‘design capital’ as the authors term it. In naming and defining design capital, design can once again become part of the discussion and realization of every infrastructure project.

    Design Capital offers strategies and tools for justifying public spending on design considerations in infrastructure projects. Design has the ability to make infrastructure resonate with cultural or social value, as seen in the case studies, which bestows infrastructure with the potential to accrue design capital. Support for this proposition is drawn from various methodologies of economic valuation and Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital, explanation of design methodology and education and a series of historical and contemporary case studies. The book also addresses some of the more controversial outcomes associated with contemporary infrastructure: gentrification, globalization and consumer tourism.

    With this book, designers can make a stronger case for the value of design in public infrastructure.

    1. Introduction, 2. Design and Other Forms of Capital, 3. Infrastructure in Context: Globalization and Gentrification, 4. Infrastructure in Context: Placemaking, 5. The Economics of Design Capital, 6. Creating Design Capital, 7. Creating Design Capital: Learning from Architecture, 8. Case Studies: Small Scale, 9. Case Studies: Medium Scale, 10. Case Studies: Large Scale


    Sherry McKay has a PhD in architectural history from the University of British Columbia and is Professor Emerita in the School of Architecture and Landscape at the University of British Columbia and the inaugural Chair of the architecture program in SALA (2006–09). She served as book review editor for Building Research & Information, UK and co-editor of the West Coast Modern House Series. Recently published is "West Coast Land Claims," a chapter in Canadian Modern Architecture, 1967 to the Present.

    AnnaLisa Meyboom is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA). Her research interrogates future applications of technology in the design of our built environment. She holds a degree in engineering from University of Waterloo and a Masters of Architecture from the University of British Columbia. She designs and writes about future infrastructures and the use of advanced digital tools in the design and fabrication of architectural form.