Design Capital: The Hidden Value of Design in Infrastructure

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.

CopenHill, by Rasmus Hjortshoj.
CopenHill, by BIG Bjarke Ingels Group.

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

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