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Democratic Architecture: Practical Solutions to Today's Housing Crisis

Democratic Architecture: Practical Solutions to Today's Housing Crisis
By: Donald MacDonald (1996)

"Finally comes a book that grapples with the complex realities of the housing crisis in the United States. Architect Donald MacDonald provides an astute critique of the various approaches to postwar housing, and then puts forth a number of his own innovative, prototypical solutions to the problem. MacDonald's proposal for democratic architecture are based on four principles: that every human being has a right to an affordable home; that people should be able to manipulate their residential environments, for expanding and dividing spaces to changing facades easily and inexpensively; that in deciding where and how to construct housing every effort be made to prevent damage to the environment; and last, that residential design must express the multiplicity of society, not some ideal or political ideology. Many of his proposals are practical designs for low- and lower-middle-income housing, with an emphasis on increasing opportunities for home ownership. They include a variety of detached homes, multiunit buildings, and some alternative types of housing for people whose lifestyles diverge from the mainstream. Here you will find tested, workable schemes - not pipe dreams - that go a long way in addressing the housing crisis. Written in an engaging, straightforward style, Democratic Architecture is required reading for urban planners, policymakers, and social scientists - as well as architecture and design professionals."



"Donald MacDonald is the most imaginative and inventive housing architect in this part of the world, and perhaps in the whole world."

- Allan Temko, Pulitzer Prize Winner, San Francisco Chronicle (2012)

"It's about time that a respected member of the architectural community faced up to social responsibilities. Democratic Architecture will hopefully recreate a public interest in housing for real people."

- James Stewart Polshek, FAIA (2012)

"Democratic Architecture offers viable and affordable solutions to our country's housing problem. It raises questions not just about housing policy, but about larger political and ethical issues such as, How should we live? And What does a country owe its citizens?"

- Thomas Fisher, Dean, University of Minnesota, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (2012)