Dream: Raise the bar for design and architecture

Dream: Raise the bar for design and architecture

We have what can be built upon: an innovative design and creativity culture. We have to have a higher aspiration. We settle for good enough, and for great places, good enough is never part of the conversation; it's always what's best.

Look at the mayor's big ideas for Downtown Columbus. That they're actually being implemented is a huge deal. He's been the galvanizing force, but the business community said, yes, we believe in this, too. I look at that bridge over Main Street. The mayor caught so much crap for that because it was so expensive. Guess what? You've got an icon.

When people imagine a place where they want to work and live, they project themselves into a place like that. We're doing that really well strategically. But on a tactical level, some of the development could be better. There's a lot of architecture that's just fulfilling one goal. If it's housing, all the building is doing is putting people in it and a facade on it and calling it a day. You're not acting like a great city when you do that. We should embrace our newness. We talk about ourselves as smart and open and progressive. If you put your money where your mouth is, the design of your physical environment will be a lot more engaging.

Anyone who's a CEO at any of our major corporations travels all over the world, and I feel like sometimes they come back and, even though they think something is great in Montreal or San Francisco, they think that's not us. If you want to get the people you are losing to those cities, we need to be more like that. We've got a lot of great things here that we don't need to be apologetic about that we can build on and make better. Our professionals have got to get out more, travel more, learn lessons, come back and apply them. When I travel, I consider it a laboratory. I'm always thinking, "Wow, that's interesting. How did they get that done?" -As told to Kristen Schmidt