Micène Fontaine, July 23, 2020
Words carry a lot of weight, yet some are thrown around so lightly that their meaning gets further diluted with each use.
The words “disrupt” and “empower” come to mind. Each of these words holds bold promises, but “empower” is particularly tricky, in my opinion. It’s one of my pet-peeves (the list is long, but it’s in the top 100). Full disclosure, “empower” found its way into our vision statement as it has into many other vision statements. It’s also in the title of our upcoming Change by Design session: “Empowering Everyone Everywhere.” The irony is not lost on me, yet my gripe persists. I don’t believe anyone can empower anyone else (myself included in both cases).Continue Reading
Micène Fontaine, July 9, 2020
If you could alleviate one health challenge in your community, which would it be? How would you choose only one?
Tough question, isn’t it? Choice architecture, a term borrowed from behavioral economics, has nothing to do with architecture, but it might help us answer this question. Choice architecture is about influencing choice by “organizing the context in which people make decisions.” A basic example is having healthy snacks on display in the breakroom or in the kitchen at home to increase the likelihood of making healthier choices.Continue Reading
Micène Fontaine, July 7, 2020
Micène Fontaine, May 20, 2020
2020 will undoubtedly be one these years seared in the global collective consciousness. For one thing, it has put the livability of our environments (and of those we live with) to the ultimate test. Generally speaking, livability (or lovability as I wish it were called) is about “the quality of life in any human living environment.”1Continue Reading
Micène Fontaine, May 13, 2020
On my last visit to Havana, I went to the Fine Arts Museum to learn more about Cuban Art. In the lobby, I was greeted by an art installation that simply stated: It's now or never (Ahora or Nunca) in colored lights. I stared for a while. I took it as both an indictment for not doing enough (about an absurdly long list of things) and also as a gentle reminder to act and do what I can. What was I waiting for?Continue Reading
Micène Fontaine, May 11, 2020
On a trip to New York, I visited the 9/11 memorial at One World Trade Center. I thought a lot about the relationship between war, peace, and architecture. After all, 9/11 and mass shootings are the only first-hand experiences I have had with war. In Normandy, France, where I grew up, the scars left by the first two world wars are omnipresent and most notable in the urban landscape.
Micène Fontaine, May 5, 2020
1 in 9 Americans were affected by food insecurity in 2018. That's 37 million people, including 11 million children who (according to the USDA's definition of food insecurity) do not have consistent access to enough food for an active and healthy life. Globally, 1 in 4 people – 1.9 billion – are moderately or severely food insecure.
Micène Fontaine, January 21, 2020
What will we leave behind? How can we fix the future? Will we leave the world a better place than we found it? These questions have been haunting me for years.