cubicles photo Photo by ste3ve [CC]

"cos it's about the classic problem of focusing on one "cost" and ignoring the other implications." said Stilgherrian.

This is another example of compartmentalised or siloed thinking. Short term, local gain at the expense of long term, larger-than-local loss and larger scale negative impact.

A 20% savings in construction costs now could potentially lead to thousands of dollars of costs elsewhere wlsewhen – staff turnover, productivity losses, sick leave, reduced effectiveness etc. But these costs come later, and become problems for other departments to sort out; we don’t really need to give a damn about any of it right how. Big picture thinking is overrated when there are tight budgets and deadlines to stick to.

Of course, the way we work, the system itself, is designed to support this sort of behaviour. But we cannot change the system unless individuals decide to change. As we get increasingly busier, and shoulder more responsibilities, this can be endemic and intractable. “This is not my department, it does not come out of my budget, so go talk to someone who cares. I’m busy.”

Read the rest of the article: Open-plan offices making you sick

And as serendipity would have it, I found the following today:

"Despite rhetoric to the contrary the public sector continues to be driven by short term calculations of cost. The failure to compute the emotional, social and therefore economic benefits that accrue from good design has led to procurement processes which exclude the real experiences and needs of the people who will use the buildings, objects and experiences that are designed.

For example, we are happy to continue building cheap, sub-standard housing to warehouse a population in need, while failing to connect the huge personal and social costs that result. Those responsible for commissioning design in the public sector largely fail to appreciate its potential. Briefs are issued which ask the wrong questions and thereby fail to capitalise on the wealth of design talent within the UK." Hilary Cottam, Design Strategist, Director of the (UK) Design Council’s experimental RED team.