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Although the market looks very dire now, it offers a chance to break out of the free-market orthodoxy that hasn’t produced money for anyone and produced terrible architecture, for the most part. The real indictment of the current arrangement is that housing has failed even as a piece of free-market economics—its failure as architecture is all too obvious. Having been lectured and patronized by developers for the last decade, designers can now say, ‘And you guys didn’t even know how to make money.’

I hope we will now design houses that are:

    a) not seen as financial vehicles;
    b) environmentally sound; and
    c) beautiful.

We won’t make money from housing, but hopefully we will:

    a) not lose too much money, either, in a downturn;
    b) save the planet; and
    c) create a place of beauty worth any amount of money (just ask people who live in central Paris).”

—Alain de Botton, architectural critic and writer, London

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