How to become a “public space” benefactor in 6 easy steps:

Pssst. Nouveau-riche and dying to go down in philanthropic history? Why not build a “public space” vanity project? It’s easy. Here’s how you do it:

1. Approach a star designer. They are usually found talking with curators at art gallery openings, next to the table with the wine and cheese.

2. Instruct star designer to produce a 3D rendering of an innovative “public space” in a decayed part of the city where you have previously bought lots of cheap land. Rendering must ooze with the color green. There should be lots of vegetation growing out of all sorts of “parametrically optimized” orifices.

3. Take 3D rendering to city hall and get your minion there to organize a “public competition” for a “public space” project that you will “privately fund”.

4. Meanwhile, in exchange for funding said minion’s re-election effort, make sure that s/he sees to it that any necessary approvals are fast-tracked and that public money is committed toward construction of project. While you’re at it, get minion to change the zoning of your land from “low-rise industrial” to “high-rise residential / commercial”.

5. The media does the rest for you: hyping the “winner” of the “competition” (surprise: it’s your star designer!) and garnering public support, volunteers, crowd-funding, etc. for your “progressive” and “forward-thinking” vision.

6. Finally, when “public space” is built, self-publish a lavish, limited edition hard-cover book of project. You are now set to go down in history as a great philanthropist. Oh, by the way, you can sell the land now.

About Rafael Gomez-Moriana

I am an architect, writer and educator. rafagomo.com chronicles my architectural making, writing, teaching and curating activity, while criticalista.com is an archive of my writings as well as a platform for venting personal rants and observations. I studied architecture at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and at the Berlage Institute (the Netherlands). I direct the University of Calgary’s architecture term-abroad program in Barcelona and teach at CIEE, and have previously taught in the Metropolis Masters Program in Architecture and Urban Culture as well as at Carleton University and the University of Manitoba.

One comment

  1. Mostafa

    In most countries in Middle East, the story goes like this:
    1- Go to minion and ask him to change the zoning of a vast peace of land (which you have previously bought at almost a free price) from “Natural Land (i.e. desert, steps, natural forest,etc) into High Rise Luxurious “Special Tourism Development Zone”.
    2-Ask an anonymous architect (preferably a CAD-operator) to design two types of “luxury” villas and apartments and copy-paste them 50 times in your land.
    3-Build your project with a “Development Loan” from a bank. Don’t worry, if you generously share the loan with the minion, you never ever have to return the loan.
    4-Sell your “luxury” villas and apartments to the Nouveau-riche who will surely buy it, just so that they could sell them with much higher prices a few months later.
    5-Share your profits with the minion and who ever else necessary. Do not worry about media, press, or public opinion. the ‘minion’ and ‘who ever else’ will take care of it.
    6-Since you are now a Philanthropist who has contributed to the development of your ‘homeland’, you can now move on to your next project.

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