Michael Cannell has an interesting article in today’s NYT about economic depression bringing about a resurgence in good design and architecture:

In the lean years ahead, “there will be less design, but much better design,” Ms. Antonelli predicted.

There is a reason she and others are optimistic: however dark the economic picture, it will most likely cause designers to shift their attention from consumer products to the more pressing needs of infrastructure, housing, city planning, transit and energy. Designers are good at coming up with new ways of looking at complex problems, and if President-elect Barack Obama delivers anything like a W.P.A, we could be “standing on the brink of one of the most productive periods of design ever,” said Reed Kroloff, director of Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Michael Beirut shows us what this will look like from the designer’s perspective in a post at Design Observer:

The modern design studio can’t help but subscribe to the cult of asap. But while working at full speed is great for profit margins, it’s not so good for quality control. A design solution almost always benefits from a second, third or fourth look. Take advantage of the slower pace of a recession by remembering what it was like in design school to spend a full semester on a single project. What seemed then like torture may now feel like a luxury, and your work will benefit. And don’t forget that recessions are a great time for the kind of research and development that manifests itself in self-initiated projects, work that takes a longer view than the next deadline.

UPDATE: Design Observer posts Murray Moss’ take on the issue. Being a dealer in the high-end design that Cannell decries, Moss seems pretty pissed off (and defensive) about the NYT article. A quick read of the comments by DO readers gives a good idea of the polarization this idea is generating.