Environmental gerontologist Emi Kiyota thinks architects have to learn to not “over-design”,
“Spaces should be flexible and should include intentionally inconvenient places. When we strive to create a perfect place, we strip away the possibility of authentic community, in which people negotiate with one another to make their environment workable for all.”
In Ibasho, the community development platform Emi helped set up in disaster-stricken areas of Japan, Nepal, and the Philippines, flexible spaces make room for changing needs and negotiation between end users. Community members make design decisions, such as building their own storage space, or constructing cafes to cultivate the kind of relationships they want with customers.