Jonathon Geels is a landscape architect currently based in South Bend, Indiana, and founder of the 100 Ideas Project. He enjoys solving problems by connecting people to new ideas through design, innovation, and advocacy. He is passionate about improving public health, the built environment, social equality, as well as resource management and hopes to engage other professionals with the same enthusiasm. Find him also on Twitter and Instagram.
Design processes, especially in the built environment, tend to progress on very similar trajectories: a client with an idea engages a designer to turn that abstract idea into a concrete product (sometimes literally concrete). Many problems with this approach come to mind, but the one I would like to focus on is the notion of genius and where good ideas come from.
In recent decades, as churches have fallen into disrepair, their previously significant impact on community development has waned. While they certainly still serve as both social and spiritual centers, they do not dominate the landscape as they once did. The grid of city streets has reduced their hierarchical impact, and often, the Central Business District supports many buildings of much greater scale. Even the megachurches, with their thousands of members and sprawling complexes and campuses, are often sited away from urban centers, isolated on large swaths of land in suburbia.