Architects have an enormous power – few architects build cities which affect lives of millions of people daily. And with all great power comes great responsibility. I am sure architects do everything they can to serve the interests of the people who live in their cities, but there is one small thing they can do to be even better – dress up for Halloween.
Halloween originates from older cultures which knew the power of role-playing. Dressing up as someone else allows us to understand the perspective of that someone else, and experience the world as they do, at least a little bit. This is a form of participatory knowledge. Older cultures knew that it was important to see the world through a different perspective, to interact with it as someone else, in order to understand it better.
No matter how good we are, we will always be limited by our own perspective. There is only so much that can be understood by reading, researching, modeling, meetings, etc. We only become better at being ourselves. But the key to a truly great design is the ability to be someone else, to empathize, to adopt their perspective. If architects mask themselves as the people who use their projects, they will acquire new knowledge about their own work, how to make it even better.
If you are an architect, Halloween was the missing link in your design training. Now is the moment to try it.
Same applies to urbanists and real estate investors, and anyone working with large projects.