Peter Hendee Brown, author of How Real Estate Developers Think: Design, Profits, and Community, was interviewed by Caroline Massie of Architect Magazine. Read an excerpt below, or click here for the full Q&A.
ARCHITECT: How did your background in architecture influence your career in real estate?
PHB: I started out in architecture and then went into city government, where I helped the city of Philadelphia design and build. Then I went to grad school a couple times, and then entered real estate development. Now I do public and private urban redevelopment consulting for private property owners for the city of Minneapolis. I help developers, architects, and clients understand each other. I wrote this book because I have a viewpoint on how to do good buildings from the interests of multiple parties.
What got you interested in working on the built environment in the first place?
As a kid, I was a model builder and a painter. A friend pointed out a summer program for high school students who thought they might want to be architects. We did it at Cornell University for a summer and I was hooked. I thought, "This is great: I can be creative, draw stuff, build models, and call it a career."
What are the stereotypes and public perceptions of developers? How does this book seek to change those views?
I'm trying to debunk three common myths: Developers are only in it for the money; developers don’t understand or care what good design is; and they don’t care much about community because they’re only in it for the money.