Date: 4/2/2018

Author: Jami Goldstein, Vice President Marketing, Communications & Events

Employer: Greater Columbus Arts Council

“Stewardship and being a conscientious public servant go hand in hand. I do not believe you can successfully have one without the other.”

“Architecture is inhabited sculpture.” Constantin Brancusi

I love this quote. It goes right to the heart of stewardship: Do not think of the actions of your life, or your creations, as stand-alone entities, in a vacuum, existing only in the now.  Each action we take creates ripples in the world, in the present and into the future. Each creation is an opportunity to make someone else’s life better, and to be a testament to caring about the future of our society and our planet.

Stewardship as defined by Webster’s Dictionary is: “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especiallythe careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.” Our founding fathers understood this when they wrote in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States that its purpose was to “…insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”.  The last part, “and our posterity,” is forgotten, or worse ignored, far too often these days. 

Sadly, I believe our culture has become married not to conscientious stewardship but to immediate gratification. Society, it seems, has come to a place where if our own immediate needs are met, and those of our family, or business, we don’t really care what the repercussions are for the future. My hope for the future is the young people coming of age today, who are becoming more vocal with their disagreement of this behavior.

I have spent most of my 25-year professional career in public service.  I am fortunate to work in the arts, a first love, and I am passionate about the impact I see, regularly and first-hand, that the arts have on the lives of people in our community.  To me stewardship and being a conscientious public servant go hand in hand.  I do not believe you can successfully have one without the other.  My sense of the weight of responsibility of good stewardship is strong, and being a public servant is an important part of my identity.

Why did I choose public service? Is there a sense of selflessness that is important to me?  I must believe, regardless of whether I’m processing a bill or connecting an artist with a paid opportunity, that my work has a larger purpose, and that the work of my organization has a positive impact on people and our community. I don’t believe I could look at myself in the mirror otherwise.

Date: 2/26/2018

Author: Shannon G. Hardin, Columbus City Council President

Employer: The City of Columbus

“Stewardship doesn't occur in a vacuum. Being an impactful steward comes with the incessant imperative to partner.”

I joke that my public service can be viewed as selfish. I have a big family that stretches across town. Most of my family is working class. They live in Southfield, King Lincoln, Driving Park, and other neighborhoods which for years existed without clear avenues for upward mobility. My nephew, Christian, will grow up black in Southfield. My work as a steward for this city is to ensure he grows up in a community that looks at him with love and admiration rather than fear. That stewardship means pushing Columbus to become a place where race and zip code don't determine the fate of our young folks. There is no single policy lever to address all of the environmental stressors which pile onto our young people's shoulders. Affordable housing, access to healthcare, good-paying jobs, meaningful education, & safe streets form the ladder rungs to the middle class. I want the best for my nephew and, I believe, if we flatten obstacles for folks like him (i.e. boys and young men of color), we lift all of Columbus.

Now the "we" I mentioned in that previous paragraph wasn't the royal we nor was it meant to refer only to Columbus City Council. The aforementioned "we" refers to the Columbus community. Stewardship doesn't occur in a vacuum. Being an impactful steward comes with the incessant imperative to partner. No matter what any strong mayor tells you, great cities are built through collective stewardship. Collective stewardship means recognizing that the success of your family is tied to the success of families across Columbus. Collective stewardship is rooted in shared priorities and a desire to see every neighborhood in Columbus thrive.

As a young elected leader, my eyes are set on Columbus. I'm not seeking to serve anywhere other than right here. I'm comfortable knowing that my stewardship and focus will stay laser-focused on the plight of folks struggling in Columbus. My commitment is and will continue to be the welfare of this city. My commitment is to my family and to families across our city. I don't have all the answers. But with good partners, I'm confident that all of us can lead Columbus into an even brighter future.

 

1/22/2018

Author: Jason McGee, Instructor, Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical School

The curriculum demands that they are taught a technical proficiency in architecture. I make a conscious effort to supplement this by asking the students to consider their social responsibility as designers.”

Teaching [is] Stewardship

Merriam-Webster defines stewardship as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care”.  As the instructor of the Architecture and Construction Management Program, I am entrusted to guide tomorrow’s architects and designers. My first responsibility is to the students, followed by the parents, school district, alumni, and the architectural community. 

I believe the notion of ownership goes hand-in-hand with that of stewardship. I am not the owner of my program as a piece of property. However, I have full ownership of the results, good or bad, while the program is entrusted to my care. This is a task both undeniably daunting and unimaginably rewarding.

The students entering the program are already interested in creating the spaces they inhabit. The curriculum demands that they are taught a technical proficiency in architecture. I make a conscious effort to supplement this by asking the students to consider their social responsibility as designers. The best example of this is reflected in the students’ senior projects; like a thesis, they research and design a final project of their choosing. 

A project I am particularly proud to share that exhibits social responsibility was designed by Kendra Soler. She wanted her senior project to be on the site of Eastland mall, a location near her home that she witnessed degrade over time. Her first instinct was: “I’ll bring back the mall” but she quickly realized that the area didn’t need a mall at all. It needed resources to empower the disenfranchised members of the community. She posited that domestic violence and single-mother households were one of the most devastating problems facing the community.  Her final proposal was a women’s shelter that became a neighborhood-wide intervention to begin the healing process.

While the final project was powerful and successful, the most rewarding days occurred during the design process. On several occasions I overheard Kendra and her classmates passionately discussing design and the issues they were addressing in their projects. It’s gratifying to hear these conversations happen spontaneously and without my participation.

Due to the generous support from the community, I feel a reciprocal obligation to the profession to curate creative, socially aware, young professionals. We will soon entrust my students to carefully and responsibly guide the profession of architecture. From where I stand, the future looks bright.

You can view more of our work on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  If you would like to get involved with us, please reach out to me: jmcgee@efcts.us.

 

1/11/2018

Author: Josh Lapp, Urban Planner - Designing Local

We are called upon to help people and communities understand, preserve, and celebrate their history and culture.”

Stewardship is responsibility to culture

To me all meaning is derived from context. My context is that I am an Urban Planner and fortunate to have found a career that allows me to put my passions to work. We are called upon to help people and communities understand, preserve, and celebrate their history and culture.

Stewardship begins with responsibility. What do we as design professional have a responsibility to do? I believe that we have a responsibility to abandon homogeny and instead strive to harness the uniqueness and creativity that already lies within.

That means we must safeguard our local history and our historic buildings; we must use artists and artisans to inject creativity into our built environment; we must celebrate what makes our communities special and unique – our stories, our people, our diverse perspectives, and our resources; and we must embrace our past mistakes and use them to create a brighter future. These are all practices that we uphold in our work at Designing Local.

Our profession has a unique responsibility. What we create impacts our communities and all the people within them. In our work we try to remember that we’re not only responsible to our clients, but we are stewards of the past and creators of our future.

1/1/2018

Author: Sara Khorshidifard, Assistant Professor - Bowling Green State University

Design for the common good remains in support of vital needs and human desires. The spirit demands inclusive forms of practice and process that embrace shared values and genuine ways of connecting the people with their places.”

Stewardship emanates from an architecture aiming at designing the future. The architecture is projecting optimistic change while acting small. In an anticipation of making the world a better place, the steward architect can detect the needs and guides solutions through materializing spaces.  Architecture can work to address some of the biggest challenges the world is facing today.

Architecture holds transformative effects nurturing harmony in the lives of people, and between people and the earth, natural landscapes, and cultures. The design could be considered beyond forms, but weighed by the impacts to be anticipated from the proposed design solution. Design for the common good remains in support of vital needs and human desires. The spirit demands inclusive forms of practice and process that embrace shared values and genuine ways of connecting the people with their places. In a world rapidly using up resources, the steward architect would prioritize, continuously remaining on the verge and duty to first and foremost address timely needs of its most vulnerable populations.

­Architecture, at its very best, that can equally please desire, and culture is an important dimension. Consciously designed, architecture itself is a cultural construct, manifesting and expressing human values. Cultures shaping unique spaces are reflected in the way spaces are shaped and affected by human involvements. Integrating culture in architecture, as Charles Jencks has suggested, is twofold, both a primary and final role of architecture. It is a combination of the expression of culturally-significant meanings and the exposition of feelings and ideas. An architect creates from a diverse range of influence and work with existing elements in a non-selfish manner.