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Weeks 127-128 - Helsinki Design Lab
Here, what looks like a building project is actually a 'trojan horse' or 'hook' for a whole series of other systemic changes, around the forestry industry, smart cities, food culture, design methods, ownership models, carbon accounting, innovation environments and so on. So this was 'From Matter to Meta' and back again.
danhill  quote 
january 2017 by mayonissen
The Incomplete City — But what was the question? — Medium
Dan Hill on a fascinating week-long workshop at the Bartlett, with students creating a wall-sized 3D plan of a city.
danhill  urbanism  cities  bartlett  education 
july 2016 by philgyford
The Incomplete City — Medium
Joseph’s talk set up students with their first task: working in groups of three (randomly selected, to break up the natural social groups that had formed over the semester so far) to imagine what we call ‘an atlas of urban elements’ – in short, using my phrasing of ‘smaller than a building, bigger than a phone’, the elements that comprise an everyday infrastructural layer in the city: solar cells, vehicles, chicken coops, bus-stops, biodigesters, steps, allotments, swimming pools, street signs, traffic lights, pylons, footbridges, ticket machines, urinals, graffiti, trees, kiosks, bikes and so on.
[...]
Buildings were supplied to students as simply rectangular shapes, cut out of trace, upon which they could write the function of the building, such as ‘library’ or ‘church’ and so on. This meant the students didn’t worry over the form of buildings, but about their function as part of a greater play—a neighbourhood—and thus about the connections and spaces in-between buildings, about their presence and relationship with other things, about their role as part of a greater ensemble, rather than the solipsistic mode that most architecture is practiced within. In essence, we asked them to focus on urban design, rather than architecture as typically practiced.
urbanism  urbanplanning  education  teaching  danhill  architecture 
july 2016 by mayonissen
cityofsound: Journal: 'In Studio: Recipes for Systemic Change' book, and Helsinki Design Lab
"In particular, much strategic work for government clients in particular suffers from a major flaw—the lack of a ‘hinge’ connecting the work to a clear pathway to projects, or further work. If the workshop is free, as it often is in new, challenging, transformational areas where there is no clear understanding of value from previous efforts, it's particularly difficult, Here, the client is barely a client at all in one of the more meaningful senses i.e. they haven’t paid for it, they don’t have ‘skin in the game’.

Equally, studios can usefully bring together multiple stakeholders. Yet with complex interdependent problems requiring holistic thinking and action—e.g. climate change, health, urbanisation, education—this can lead to no one body taking responsibility, and so potential solutions fall through the cracks between organisations or within one organisation's architecture (fig.2 below) i.e. education is no longer the sole responsibility of the Department of Educaiton; it's more complex, hybrid, layered, networked than that (add your descriptor of choice).

Finally, workshops or studios lend themselves to a particular kind of focus, based on conversation and collaboration—yet they rarely provide the depth of analysis to tightly define an issue such that it can be developed into action. This often requires subsequent work, by which time the potential client has left the building and achieved escape velocity, easily side-stepping momentum generated in the workshop. The workshop model, which is often the foot-in-the-door for consultancies in this field, is intrinsically flawed.

The Helsinki Design Lab studio model is designed to side-step or otherwise deal with many of these problems. This is partly due to the nature and position of Sitra itself, particularly if strategic connections can be generated across relevant government bodies. Sitra has, to some extent, the capacity to can reach into and manipulate the 'dark matter' of organisation, governance, culture, industry (fig.3). [PS. "Dark matter" is a phrase I've been using in recent presentations and conversations (drawn from Wouter Vanstiphout in a great interview with Rory Hyde) and one I'll return to. It's not as bad as it sounds, just like real dark matter. Though it can be.]"



"The Helsinki Design Lab approach, which we're developing rapidly now, is an attempt to flesh out many strands of strategic design that we're pursuing. This first aspect, the studio, is about sketching vision. The idea of studio itself is at least three-fold, simultaneously conjuring up the idea of a space, a team or organisation, and an act of being 'in studio'."



"I think, I hope, that it suggests one possible meaningful way forward for design itself, as well as suggesting new cultures for the public sector, for thinking about complex, interdependent problems, and for rapidly creating practical yet compelling visions built on a clear understanding of 'the architecture of the problem', as we call it. "



"More fundamentally though, we intend that this is the first in a series of projects which describe how design can be used beyond these details of production of space, realisation of product or service. Often, of course, design is used in this traditional if limited role of process improvement and problem solving—the realisation of 'the thing'—without addressing the core issue, the core strategy, the vision and organisations behind 'the thing' in the first place. We think design has a role to play before we even know what the questions are, never mind the solutions. That's what this book begins to address. Subsequent projects—some products/services/things, some events, some discussion—will develop this idea."
danhill  2011  lcproject  openstudioproject  culture  decisionmaking  process  studios  studioclassroom  strategicdesign  design  vision  organization  organizations  bryanboyer 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Dan Hill on the potential of Elon Musk and the Tesla Powerwall
"The scale of ambition, rather than the scale of the object, is the impressive feature of Tesla's thinking under Musk. While the fuss is over the design of an object — and if the Powerwall embodies a mainstream movement away from fossil fuels, then there will be no more alluring sight on earth —it's the system design, the more fluid layer of services that is overlaid onto our existing infrastructures, that is the truly transformational possibility, predicated on this increasingly intriguing skirmish between Moore's law and physical laws.

That form of design, rather than traditional architectural thinking, is the force driving our cities now, just as previous generations of technology did."

"It's the first time that anybody has coherently and confidently aimed the storage battery at a domestic market. I mean really. There have been domestic storage products for years, but Tesla's are the first to capture the imagination, to draw scalability and reliability from its electric car business, while halving the price overnight, with the entry-level unit coming in at $3,000.

And available to order now. You can put this thing on your wall, connect to solar cells on your roof, and change the way that you generate, consume and pay for energy almost instantly."
tesla  elonmusk  danhill  power  energy  platforms  future  society  infrastructure 
june 2015 by colm.mcmullan
cityofsound: Essay: On Tesla Powerwall, and the skirmish between Moore's law and physical laws
"This is the key question about Californian tech; can we ignore their ideology and lifestyle and just steal their machines?"
[...]
"Taken together, perhaps this the most interesting emerging theme in urbanism? Networked systems as a connective tissue laced in-between existing infrastructures? It leaves core grid energy as supporting the heavy hitters of mass transit and large industry, with smaller users catered for by independent distributed energy, just as mass transit is now surrounded by legions of ‘micro-transit’ startups, working in the gaps, and new digitally-enabled participation models work below the radar of centralised bureaucracies. The physical forms, and interaction and service models, are modelled on distributed organisation. This is a new urban infrastructure: light, cheap, networked, optimising existing fabric rather than building anew. Yet also, individualised, fragmented, market-based, potentially throwaway, and with the internet underpinning it, and the extractive industries that power it, as increasingly centralised entities. Which is which?"
[...]
"While the fuss is over the design of an object—and if the Powerwall embodies a mainstream movement away from fossil fuels, then there will be no more alluring sight on earth—it’s the system design, the more fluid layer of services that is overlaid onto our existing infrastructures, that is the truly transformational possibility, predicated on this increasingly intriguing skirmish between Moore’s law and the laws of physics."
danhill  urbanism  civictechnology  california  technology  ideology 
may 2015 by mayonissen

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