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A Worthy Cause: Rob Walker’s Hypothetical Development Organization

If he’s not writing books, or his weekly column Consumed for New York Times, or running Significant Objects, Rob Walker is always dreaming up amazing philanthropic and art related projects. The The Hypothetical Development Organization is no different. Consisting of a diverse group of photographers, architects, journalists, publishers, and designers, Walker and his team wants us to re-imagine a city. They have chosen New Orleans as the first HDO project, scouring the city and identifying downtrodden, deserted architectural gems.

The Hypothetical Development Organization then plans to create realistic renderings of what these structures could hypothetically look like, forging a new kind of urban storytelling. For example, The Museum of the Self, The Loitering Centre, and various imaginary businesses and organizations. The renderings will be made into large signs, to be viewed by the public at large. Each rendering represents an imagined future, unconstrained by limits.

Walker has devised a clever and creative way to use narrative to shine some light on these neglected buildings. These buildings were once sad reminders of the past, but Walker and his team have transformed them instead into symbols of a hypothetical future, full of potential. The HDO project easily gets us to imagine what a neglected city or neighborhood could be-instead of buildings in decay- Why not a museum or a public space?

The Hypothetical Development Organization needs your help getting projects like these off the ground. You can support this very worthy project, and check out an informative video at Your donations will go into costs of fabricating signage and the publicity materials needed to support the project. What is awesome is that have just recently closed in on their $3900 goal for New Orleans, but your continued donations will support more Hypothetical Developments for future cities. Rob doesn’t stop at one project, he’ll keep it going, so please go and check it out!

See what Huffington Post and Good Magazine are saying about HDO. More info at

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