Philip Hiss understood “design” to encompass a set of integrated ideas beyond the shape of things. For Hiss, good design was integrated into, and informed by, a larger set of values and practices that arrayed across the landscape of education, policy, civic leadership and the rigorous analysis of ideas—or as he put it “…no dogma without test…”. This practice, to which he was so committed, is what is now commonly referred to as “design thinking.”
Hiss’ commitment to education and his deep belief in the transformative possibilities of good design resulted in numerous generative gifts to our community. These contributions were not easily attained. Dynamic tension among community stakeholders involving growth, change, priorities, resource allocation and –ultimately—values, is a natural part of the demographic process. While these community conversations are often challenging, they are essential. We ask ourselves “Who are we? How do we want to live? What are our responsibilities to our community, to our children—and to theirs?”
In November 2021 we inaugurated the Philip Hanson Hiss award, given to Hiss posthumously, to honor and celebrate his contributions to our community, to express our gratitude and to inspire others to follow his example. But it’s not enough to look back. Philip Hiss would want us to look forward and never cease to recognize those who delve into the possibilities that good design inspires.