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Testimony Submitted to Montgomery County Delegation for 2022 legislative session

Legislative priorities should include design informed sustainability policies and legislation during the 2022 Maryland General Assembly Session

On November 15, 2021 the Montgomery County Delegation Joint House and Senate Priorities Hearing took place virtually on Zoom. A recording of this hearing is available on the Montgomery County Delegation website. Written testimony was submitted by MarylandByDesign to bring attention to design informed sustainability policy and legislation as priorities for the upcoming Maryland General Assembly Session including additional legislation to establish a State Design Commission:

Design Informed Sustainability Policy and Establishing a State Design Commission Design is integral to sustainable practices for manufacturing and related industries impacting climate change
A priority for the Montgomery County Delegation during the upcoming 2022 legislative session should include the recognition of design as essential to sustainable practices in industry and manufacturing as well as the built environment in the State of Maryland. Most industrialized countries in the world have established a Design Council at either the local or country/national government level, some for as many as 50 years or more, to elevate and implement design as a best practice in many industries including manufacturing. Design has proven to make manufacturing and most industries more sustainable to address the urgency of climate change and reduced carbon emissions.

The initiative to establish a Design Commission, a government organization, in the State of Maryland began in 2014 with the founding of MarylandByDesign by a group of interdisciplinary design professionals including designers from the practices of industrial design, architectural design, graphic design, interior design, urban/landscape design and design research. This group of design professionals presented case studies of design projects completed in the State of Maryland and in other states to prove the importance of design as a best practice in manufacturing and related industries as well as the built environments. Design as a best practice makes it possible to achieve excellence and innovation in results related to sustainability, especially as it relates to mitigating climate change and protecting the natural environment. In addition, members of the MarylandByDesign team were instrumental in passing legislation to implement STEAM-Design Education by establishing the Maryland Education Development Collaborative (Maryland Senate Bill 908, enacted under Article II, ยง 17(c) of the Maryland Constitution, May 27, 2017). The Maryland Education Development Collaborative led to the work of the Kirwan Commission on Excellence in Education to “foster partnerships between public schools, private businesses, universities, government, and nonprofit entities to develop and support the implementation of modern public school designs, 21st Century curricula, positive school culture, and restorative discipline to promote socioeconomic and demographic diversity and 21st Century learning in public schools in the State.” This initiative would include the study of design as part of the STEAM approach in kindergarten through 12th grade public education.

The members of the MarylandByDesign Team believe the State of Maryland would greatly benefit from establishing a State Design Commission to address many of the current urgent climate change and carbon emissions issues now facing the State of Maryland. Design informed sustainability policies and legislation related to best practices in manufacturing, related industries and the built environment as well as providing robust resources for design education have proven to significantly improve outcomes for environmental quality in many parts of the world, and the same can be done in Maryland if a State Design Commission is established within Maryland’s State Government.