This library looks so intimate and welcoming. It’s a quality most designers and executives overlook, but it’s the determinant factor that makes a library most popular and productive. I think what makes it most beautiful is the exposed wood on the stairs, beams, and bookshelves. Materials seem like details when you’re redesigning a building, but it can be the most important piece of the whole project.
This garden is beautiful. As I fight the urge to spend hundreds of dollars on plants to fill my mother’s garden, I see gardens like these and know that one day I’ll have my own little space to fill.
However, balcony gardens are almost more romantic in concept, than they are reality (if you live in the Northeast). I see this and wonder how many containers need to be emptied over the Winter, moved inside for protection from the cold, or covered to protect from frost and snow exposure. Additionally, do you think this person would leave their entire garden behind when selling this place?
Using multi-color LEDs, an Arduino UNO, and a safety regulated helmet, a team of researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s Exertion Games Lab designed an interactive helmet that will make environments aware of bikers.
The LumaHelm also contains an accelerometer, which allows the wearer to control the lights via head movements. Presently, this lets users activate flashing “turn indicator” light patterns by purposefully tipping their head left or right, or activate a solid rear “brake light” by tipping their head back.
Artist Bruce Munro (previously) just opened a new exhibition at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania including a number of impressive translucent silos constructed from bottles. The exhibition will be up through September 11. Images above via Corriette Schoenaerts and Linden Gledhill.
Last semester in a Rapid Prototyping class at Cornell, Francois Guimbretiere said that the most effective use of the 3D printer was to create things that would else wise be challenging to find or build. Granted, we were talking about prototyping robots and custom cases, but this is a relevant concept to think about in the usage of 3D printers and CNC millers. Many people are led to believe that these devices will replace our need for shopping for mundane items entirely, but I think it’s more about the little pieces of innovative technology that will be made possible by these tools. In the case of a CNC milled house, it can be structural design that would not be possible by other methods of construction.
I would be interested in seeing this used as an alternative to concrete in the structural support of land manipulation. If you think about the way landscape architects use concrete, stone walls, and gabion baskets to retain and manipulate topography, there is a great potential for using degradable materials with CNC millers or 3D printers that integrate into the earth over time. The result of which would be a naturalized intervention on the landscape.
Boston is starting their own alternative parking initiative in the city, thanks to the precedents of San Francisco and New York City. Boston.PARKLETS is a program within the city planning department to take back the streets for pedestrians.
They are part of the growing movement to reclaim urban space for pedestrians and bicyclists and promote public transit. Mayor Thomas M. Menino has proclaimed “the car is no longer king,’’ citing the environmental, aesthetic, and health benefits.
It remains to be seen how willingly Bostonians, known for fiercely coveting and protecting their parking spots, receive the parklets.
Vineet Gupta, planning director for the Boston Transportation Department, said the city will work with merchants and neighbors to find appropriate spots, with the first parklets probably appearing next spring. They would scarcely put a dent in the city’s 8,000 metered spaces and untold thousands of unmetered and resident-permit spots, but they would enliven areas with heavy foot traffic otherwise lacking in public amenities, he said.
The city will pay to design and install the first parklets, estimated to cost $12,000 each, while asking businesses, nonprofits, and civic associations to sponsor maintenance of plantings and furniture.
via: The Boston Globe
“Copenhagen, a city of 1.2 million people [the bicycle-friendliest place on the planet], saves $357 million a year on health costs because something like 80 percent of its population commutes by bicycle, even in winter. That’s $300 per person per year.
At Fab Cafe, you can order coffee, snacks, and time on a laser cutter.
I think this would be a brilliant move in a city that has a growing population of small design firms. Imagine how easy it would be for you to make impressive models for those special projects? I would spend time every week in a place like this.
Networked Society ‘Thinking Cities’ - Ericsson
This is a fantastic video about utilizing technologies for the future networked landscape. It’s great to know that companies like Ericsson are putting an effort into innovating specifically for this. Most people are wrapped up into the iPhone app as their main way of bringing about networked societies, but I think expanding into infrastructure and physical objects can have more profound influences.
That being said, I do love the little things like Boston’s app for reporting public issues like potholes or disturbances in the landscape. Allowing for that connection, trust, and feeling of ownership are important elements of this urban ideal we’re all reaching for: the social, sustainable, and walkable city.
This is an amazing advance. A smart phone app that will use people’s everyday movements and activities to track how people use cities (via Hacking the city for a greener future - CNN.com).
I’m excited to see the accelerometer review stats for those of us who walk long distances or use public trasnit often. It’ll give a good look into habits, which allows for reflection and motivation to be more green.
Found this fascinating article on how our current methods of imagining and innovating the future have practically diminished into “googling”. It’s a wise point, and very worth a read:
Most people who work in corporations or academia have witnessed something like the following: A number of engineers are sitting together in a room, bouncing ideas off each other. Out of the discussion emerges a new concept that seems promising. Then some laptop-wielding person in the corner, having performed a quick Google search, announces that this “new” idea is, in fact, an old one—or at least vaguely similar—and has already been tried. Either it failed, or it succeeded. If it failed, then no manager who wants to keep his or her job will approve spending money trying to revive it. If it succeeded, then it’s patented and entry to the market is presumed to be unattainable, since the first people who thought of it will have “first-mover advantage” and will have created “barriers to entry.” The number of seemingly promising ideas that have been crushed in this way must number in the millions.
What if that person in the corner hadn’t been able to do a Google search? It might have required weeks of library research to uncover evidence that the idea wasn’t entirely new—and after a long and toilsome slog through many books, tracking down many references, some relevant, some not. When the precedent was finally unearthed, it might not have seemed like such a direct precedent after all. There might be reasons why it would be worth taking a second crack at the idea, perhaps hybridizing it with innovations from other fields. Hence the virtues of Galapagan isolation.
Back in December, while applying to graduate school, I also applied to present at the Social Cities of Tomorrow Conference in Amsterdam. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be one of the ten presenters at the Conference on February 17th. You can click through the poster to learn more about the events, keynote speakers, and other showcases.
So in February I’ll be missing classes for a week in order to participate in the workshops and present my work on using Social Capital in order to bring about Urban Revitalization. The projects I will be showing are from studios at Cornell, in which I used public data [from web applications and the city] to generate mappings of social interaction in both negative and positive conditions. You can see the two projects in my portfolio under Utica and Rochester for now.
If you’ll be there, I can’t wait to meet you! If not, I’ll be sure to find a way to share my presentation and lessons of the conference with you later.
“Mirage focuses on the concept of peripersonal space, the space that your body encompasses at its most extended point in every direction, which describes the body’s potential boundary.”
Katie Grinnan recorded a time-lapse of yoga positions and transformed them into a collective image out of sand, enamel, and plastic. It’s a very creative endeavor, but also challenges a different image of temporal existence. How would this change the way we design outdoor furnishings in public spaces if we studied the potential movements of individuals? What sort of boundary can we create with our historic movements?
To read more about this sculpture, click through for the story and more images.
“From midday on December 31st until midday on January 1st, revelers in the Big Apple will be able to use free Skype WiFi within the areas covered by its partner Towerstream’s network. This means you’ll be able to surf the Web and have a quick Skype video or voice call in neighbourhoods that include: Times Square, West Village, East Village, South Village, Greenwich Village, NoHo, SoHo, Lowe East Side, Clinton, Chelsea, Union Square, Midtown, Midtown South, Murray Hill, Stuyvesant Park and Turtle Bay.”
This is a fantastic move by Skype [more importantly Microsoft who owns the company], as thousands of people flock to New York City, from all around the world, just to celebrate their entrance to the New Year. This will give users the opportunity to generate more content over the night [via the web], connect to family and friends back home with Skype calls [consider how popular the service is abroad for communication], and maybe even increase interactivity in the night’s events. I hope they’ll report back to us all with the data.
User Generated Cities Forum, February 2011
In researching more about Renew Newcastle, I found this clip from a conference in Australia. It’s incredible to hear how the planning framework in “empty” cities, those like Newcastle in Australia or Detroit in the US, is the most important key to changing vacant conditions. The guests recommend having different viewpoints and kinds of people in those times of decision making. [Maybe tech startups need to make their way into these meetings?]
Take the the discussion of capital, though necessary for change is non-existent in vacant cities. Marcus Westbury brings up the argument that change in a city shouldn’t depend on capital, even if it is what makes up the meaning of a city. His argument sounds more like social capital- using the community to make a different at low cost.
This is the same argument I made for both projects in Utica and Rochester. Even in cities that don’t have the money or political initiative to make a difference, the community is able to take action. Today there are foundations, like the Dodge Foundation, that are giving out millions of dollars towards education, environmental, and community initiatives. If there is a group, like Renew Newcastle, which plans and mediates events or programs for the community, they have a great opportunity for philanthropic funding.
Call me idealistic, but I see that we’re living in an age of great opportunity for rebuilding the image of the city using the power of the communities. Why should you count on major corporations to finance the security and livelihood of your city?
Marcus Westbury is a broadcaster, writer, media maker and festival director from Newcastle, Australia. As well as the creator of Renew Newcastle, Marcus wrote a very interesting article on City As Software for Volume Magazine. It’s a fantastic argument for how cities regulate actions . Click through to the article to read more:
The built environment and geography of a city is its hardware. It defines much of what a city can and cannot be. The hardware of the city – its topography, the scale of its spaces, its architecture, its patterned dense grid or its narrow laneways or its chaotic sprawl – places a hard limit on what is and isn’t possible. While the hardware of cities can and does change and evolve slowly over time, in the short term it remains relatively fixed – major changes are invariably expensive, can be paralysingly slow and often contentious…
We made the city work for people for whom it had not worked in a long time. People without capital for whom low barriers to entry and not certainty of outcome were the defining issues. Those who were operating digital cottage industries and Etsy stores, artists and fashion designers, bedroom record labels and Flickr photographers. In effect we made the physical space behave as their virtual spaces did – easy to get into and out of, allowing of experimentation and failure and most importantly full of tools and structures and plugins designed to make it simple and cheap for them to do what they are passionate about.
“Pictures Under Glass is an interaction paradigm of permanent numbness. It’s a Novocaine drip to the wrist. It denies our hands what they do best. And yet, it’s the star player in every Vision Of The Future.”
In this “Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design”, Bret Victor explains his argument of why these “visions of the future”, glass tablets and touchable technologies, are dumbing down our capabilities to interact with technology. Why shouldn’t we be able to gain more responses from the technology?
The Pictures Under Glass argument is incredible, and I completely agree with it. All the images for the future city include these Minority Report like images where the technology is so ubiquioutus, it’s not necessarily a tool for our living. It’s more like an obtrusive ad campaign of the more we need. Granted, having interactive maps for public transit systems would be interesting, and a great tool for wayfinding, but the image we create for it is only visually communicative.
Today our technology vibrates, makes noises, and lights up with different visuals. When do you think we’ll get something that changes texture, temperature, smell, or a new type of sensory device we haven’t discovered?
Novum, a German design magazine, commissioned the creative agency, Paperlux, to create an embossed cover with 1,000 flexible colored triangles. This design is not only appealing in its aesthetics, for those of us who love triangles and bright colors, but also for those who like the potential to transform a two dimensional medium into something more three dimensional. It’s a small idea, but I think this could give way for some interesting printing methods in which the content on pages isn’t limited to the visual image.
All images are sourced from Paperlux, and you can see more of their projects online.
At the 2011 PICNIC Festival in Amsterdam, DUS Architecture, Waag Society, and Arne Hendriks collaborated to present the future of “hypercrafting the modern landscape”. Using 3D modeling software, mud, wood, and 3D printing technology, the designers and craftsmen were able to construct these prototypes of a new kind of architecture.
The movement from mass production of products to self-production can give way to a multitude of ways for landscape to showcase a unique identity. Whether it be site specific furnitures that are printed in biodegradable material, meaning seasonal production, or fixtures printed for permanent fixtures out of recyclable materials, the urban landscapes can be temporal in a new way. This also means low-cost prototype opportunities for architects.
I hope more 3D printing occurs at larger scales, with opportunities for influencing landscape. Maybe we’ll be able to print our own chairs for a plaza that melt away after a rain, or we can print quick umbrellas in public squares or plazas out of recycled plastic when it rains.