robertogreco + danhill   65

No one’s coming. It’s up to us. – Dan Hon – Medium
"Getting from here to there

This is all very well and good. But what can we do? And more precisely, what “we”? There’s increasing acceptance of the reality that the world we live in is intersectional and we all play different and simultaneous roles in our lives. The society of “we” includes technologists who have a chance of affecting the products and services, it includes customers and users, it includes residents and citizens.

I’ve made this case above, but I feel it’s important enough to make again: at a high level, I believe that we need to:

1. Clearly decide what kind of society we want; and then

2. Design and deliver the technologies that forever get us closer to achieving that desired society.

This work is hard and, arguably, will never be completed. It necessarily involves compromise. Attitudes, beliefs and what’s considered just changes over time.

That said, the above are two high level goals, but what can people do right now? What can we do tactically?

What we can do now

I have two questions that I think can be helpful in guiding our present actions, in whatever capacity we might find ourselves.

For all of us: What would it look like, and how might our societies be different, if technology were better aligned to society’s interests?

At the most general level, we are all members of a society, embedded in existing governing structures. It certainly feels like in the recent past, those governing structures are coming under increasing strain, and part of the blame is being laid at the feet of technology.

One of the most important things we can do collectively is to produce clarity and prioritization where we can. Only by being clearer and more intentional about the kind of society we want and accepting what that means, can our societies and their institutions provide guidance and leadership to technology.

These are questions that cannot and should not be left to technologists alone. Advances in technology mean that encryption is a societal issue. Content moderation and censorship are a societal issue. Ultimately, it should be for governments (of the people, by the people) to set expectations and standards at the societal level, not organizations accountable only to a board of directors and shareholders.

But to do this, our governing institutions will need to evolve and improve. It is easier, and faster, for platforms now to react to changing social mores. For example, platforms are responding in reaction to society’s reaction to “AI-generated fake porn” faster than governing and enforcing institutions.

Prioritizations may necessarily involve compromise, too: the world is not so simple, and we are not so lucky, that it can be easily and always divided into A or B, or good or not-good.

Some of my perspective in this area is reflective of the schism American politics is currently experiencing. In a very real way, America, my adoptive country of residence, is having to grapple with revisiting the idea of what America is for. The same is happening in my country of birth with the decision to leave the European Union.

These are fundamental issues. Technologists, as members of society, have a point of view on them. But in the way that post-enlightenment governing institutions were set up to protect against asymmetric distribution of power, technology leaders must recognize that their platforms are now an undeniable, powerful influence on society.

As a society, we must do the work to have a point of view. What does responsible technology look like?

For technologists: How can we be humane and advance the goals of our society?

As technologists, we can be excited about re-inventing approaches from first principles. We must resist that impulse here, because there are things that we can do now, that we can learn now, from other professions, industries and areas to apply to our own. For example:

* We are better and stronger when we are together than when we are apart. If you’re a technologist, consider this question: what are the pros and cons of unionizing? As the product of a linked network, consider the question: what is gained and who gains from preventing humans from linking up in this way?

* Just as we create design patterns that are best practices, there are also those that represent undesired patterns from our society’s point of view known as dark patterns. We should familiarise ourselves with them and each work to understand why and when they’re used and why their usage is contrary to the ideals of our society.

* We can do a better job of advocating for and doing research to better understand the problems we seek to solve, the context in which those problems exist and the impact of those problems. Only through disciplines like research can we discover in the design phase — instead of in production, when our work can affect millions — negative externalities or unintended consequences that we genuinely and unintentionally may have missed.

* We must compassionately accept the reality that our work has real effects, good and bad. We can wish that bad outcomes don’t happen, but bad outcomes will always happen because life is unpredictable. The question is what we do when bad things happen, and whether and how we take responsibility for those results. For example, Twitter’s leadership must make clear what behaviour it considers acceptable, and do the work to be clear and consistent without dodging the issue.

* In America especially, technologists must face the issue of free speech head-on without avoiding its necessary implications. I suggest that one of the problems culturally American technology companies (i.e., companies that seek to emulate American culture) face can be explained in software terms. To use agile user story terminology, the problem may be due to focusing on a specific requirement (“free speech”) rather than the full user story (“As a user, I need freedom of speech, so that I can pursue life, liberty and happiness”). Free speech is a means to an end, not an end, and accepting that free speech is a means involves the hard work of considering and taking a clear, understandable position as to what ends.

* We have been warned. Academics — in particular, sociologists, philosophers, historians, psychologists and anthropologists — have been warning of issues such as large-scale societal effects for years. Those warnings have, bluntly, been ignored. In the worst cases, those same academics have been accused of not helping to solve the problem. Moving on from the past, is there not something that we technologists can learn? My intuition is that post the 2016 American election, middle-class technologists are now afraid. We’re all in this together. Academics are reaching out, have been reaching out. We have nothing to lose but our own shame.

* Repeat to ourselves: some problems don’t have fully technological solutions. Some problems can’t just be solved by changing infrastructure. Who else might help with a problem? What other approaches might be needed as well?

There’s no one coming. It’s up to us.

My final point is this: no one will tell us or give us permission to do these things. There is no higher organizing power working to put systemic changes in place. There is no top-down way of nudging the arc of technology toward one better aligned with humanity.

It starts with all of us.

Afterword

I’ve been working on the bigger themes behind this talk since …, and an invitation to 2017’s Foo Camp was a good opportunity to try to clarify and improve my thinking so that it could fit into a five minute lightning talk. It also helped that Foo Camp has the kind of (small, hand-picked — again, for good and ill) influential audience who would be a good litmus test for the quality of my argument, and would be instrumental in taking on and spreading the ideas.

In the end, though, I nearly didn’t do this talk at all.

Around 6:15pm on Saturday night, just over an hour before the lightning talks were due to start, after the unconference’s sessions had finished and just before dinner, I burst into tears talking to a friend.

While I won’t break the societal convention of confidentiality that helps an event like Foo Camp be productive, I’ll share this: the world felt too broken.

Specifically, the world felt broken like this: I had the benefit of growing up as a middle-class educated individual (albeit, not white) who believed he could trust that institutions were a) capable and b) would do the right thing. I now live in a country where a) the capability of those institutions has consistently eroded over time, and b) those institutions are now being systematically dismantled, to add insult to injury.

In other words, I was left with the feeling that there’s nothing left but ourselves.

Do you want the poisonous lead removed from your water supply? Your best bet is to try to do it yourself.

Do you want a better school for your children? Your best bet is to start it.

Do you want a policing policy that genuinely rehabilitates rather than punishes? Your best bet is to…

And it’s just. Too. Much.

Over the course of the next few days, I managed to turn my outlook around.

The answer, of course, is that it is too much for one person.

But it isn’t too much for all of us."
danhon  technology  2018  2017  johnperrybarlow  ethics  society  calltoaction  politics  policy  purpose  economics  inequality  internet  web  online  computers  computing  future  design  debchachra  ingridburrington  fredscharmen  maciejceglowski  timcarmody  rachelcoldicutt  stacy-marieishmael  sarahjeong  alexismadrigal  ericmeyer  timmaughan  mimionuoha  jayowens  jayspringett  stacktivism  georginavoss  damienwilliams  rickwebb  sarawachter-boettcher  jamebridle  adamgreenfield  foocamp  timoreilly  kaitlyntiffany  fredturner  tomcarden  blainecook  warrenellis  danhill  cydharrell  jenpahljka  robinray  noraryan  mattwebb  mattjones  danachisnell  heathercamp  farrahbostic  negativeexternalities  collectivism  zeyneptufekci  maciejcegłowski 
february 2018 by robertogreco
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
CURIOUS RITUALS | Gestural Interaction in the Digital Everyday
[Direct link to the PDF: https://curiousrituals.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/curiousritualsbook.pdf ]

[See also: http://nearfuturelaboratory.com/projects/curious-rituals/
https://vimeo.com/92328805 ]

"URIOUS RITUALS is a research project conducted at Art Center College of Design (Pasadena) in July-August 2012 by Nicolas Nova (The Near Future Laboratory / HEAD-Genève), Katherine Miyake, Nancy Kwon and Walton Chiu from the media design program.

This research project is about gestures, postures and digital rituals that typically emerged with the use of digital technologies (computers, mobile phones, sensors, robots, etc.): gestures such as recalibrating your smartphone doing an horizontal 8 sign with your hand, the swiping of wallet with RFID cards in public transports, etc. These practices can be seen as the results of a co-construction between technical/physical constraints, contextual variables, designers intents and people’s understanding. We can see them as an intriguing focus of interest to envision the future of material culture.

The aim of the project is to envision the future of gestures and rituals based on:

1. A documentation of current digital gestures
2. The making of design fiction films that speculate about their evolution

For more information, please contact nicolas (at) nearfuturelaboratory (dot) com

“Curious Rituals” was produced as part of a research residency in the Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California."
nicolasnova  danhill  julianbleecker  gestures  technology  curiousrituals  2015  nearfuturelaboratory  katherinemiyke  nancykwon  waltonchiu  postures  rituals  designfiction  ritual 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The truth about smart cities: ‘In the end, they will destroy democracy' | Cities | The Guardian
"The smart city is, to many urban thinkers, just a buzzphrase that has outlived its usefulness: ‘the wrong idea pitched in the wrong way to the wrong people’. So why did that happen – and what’s coming in its place?"



"In truth, competing visions of the smart city are proxies for competing visions of society, and in particular about who holds power in society. “In the end, the smart city will destroy democracy,” Hollis warns. “Like Google, they’ll have enough data not to have to ask you what you want.”

You sometimes see in the smart city’s prophets a kind of casual assumption that politics as we know it is over. One enthusiastic presenter at the Future Cities Summit went so far as to say, with a shrug: “Internet eats everything, and internet will eat government.” In another presentation, about a new kind of “autocatalytic paint” for street furniture that “eats” noxious pollutants such as nitrous oxide, an engineer in a video clip complained: “No one really owns pollution as a problem.” Except that national and local governments do already own pollution as a problem, and have the power to tax and regulate it. Replacing them with smart paint ain’t necessarily the smartest thing to do.

And while some tech-boosters celebrate the power of companies such as Über – the smartphone-based unlicensed-taxi service now banned in Spain and New Delhi, and being sued in several US states – to “disrupt” existing transport infrastructure, Hill asks reasonably: “That Californian ideology that underlies that user experience, should it really be copy-pasted all over the world? Let’s not throw away the idea of universal service that Transport for London adheres to.”

Perhaps the smartest of smart city projects needn’t depend exclusively – or even at all – on sensors and computers. At Future Cities, Julia Alexander of Siemens nominated as one of the “smartest” cities in the world the once-notorious Medellin in Colombia, site of innumerable gang murders a few decades ago. Its problem favelas were reintegrated into the city not with smartphones but with publicly funded sports facilities and a cable car connecting them to the city. “All of a sudden,” Alexander said, “you’ve got communities interacting” in a way they never had before. Last year, Medellin – now the oft-cited poster child for “social urbanism” – was named the most innovative city in the world by the Urban Land Institute.

One sceptical observer of many presentations at the Future Cities Summit, Jonathan Rez of the University of New South Wales, suggests that “a smarter way” to build cities “might be for architects and urban planners to have psychologists and ethnographers on the team.” That would certainly be one way to acquire a better understanding of what technologists call the “end user” – in this case, the citizen. After all, as one of the tribunes asks the crowd in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus: “What is the city but the people?”"
smartcities  cities  surveillance  technology  stevenpoole  democracy  2014  usmanhaque  danhill  adamgreenfield  songdo  medellín  leohollis  urbanurbanism  data  internetofthings  networkedobjects  californianideology  juliaalexander  communities  medellin  colombia  iot 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Dan Hill on the need for innovation in city services
"Banham often quoted Marcel Breuer's 1934 statement that "what the new architecture did was to civilise technology." We might now find that the new technology is about to civilise architecture, by entwining information, people and services. But will this drive come from architecture, or the likes of Google/Nest?

Though it once seemed unlikely that we would have a Steve Jobs of thermostats and smoke alarms, it turns out that's the culture Nest emerges from. And perhaps it suggests that we also need an Isozaki of insulation, a Foster of fenestration, a Prouvé of plumbing, a Rogers of rewiring, an Utzon of U-values... and more importantly again, a development or investment model that enables service retrofit within a market shaped to value that.

This might be a better use of government money around housing than simply generating more mortgages, for example. How about similarly high-profile schemes for transforming the insides of Britain's walls? Help To Fix, rather than Help To Buy? It's not as if there's no design invention or financial value in things like Nest — when was the last time a three year-old built environment company was acquired for $3.2bn? Yet sadly, and bewilderingly, you'll find little or no reference to any of these issues in the recent Farrell Review of architecture.

I like to think an optimist like Banham would have been intrigued by innovations such as Nest, yet upon a second glance, perhaps dismayed at our ongoing obsession with surfaces — either with that Learning Thermostat, or with the buildings that they are being installed in, or within architectural practice itself — masking a real task at hand, given climate change; ensuring that the inner space of services can truly sing. Nest pulls focus onto the service layer of housing, but still only digs into the walls a few centimetres. There is still little incentive to care about the vital "life support" systems it's connected to. My thoughts turn back to that imagined model of a hulking soggy mass embedded in the dank clay of the Thames valleys, marshes and plains that comprises London. How to rewire that?"
danhill  cities  infrastructure  2014  london 
june 2014 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Essay: 'Designing Finnishness', for 'Out Of The Blue: The Essence and Ambition of Finnish Design' (Gestalten)
"Knowing what to do when there is nothing to do
"The press conference is over, and in comes Jari Litmanen, from behind the door. And I looked at his face and I looked at his eyes, and I recognised something in those eyes. And I thought, this is a man with a great willpower. Because he was not shy, not timid, but he was modest. He is not a man who will raise his voice, or bang with his fist on the table and say, ‘We do it this way.’ No, he was more of a diplomat, not wanting to be a leader, but being a leader." [Former AFC Ajax team manager David Endt, on legendary Finnish footballer Jari Litmanen]

Finland has proven that it can take care of itself locally and globally. At home, its sheer existence is a tribute to fortitude, guile and determination, never mind the extent to which it has lately thrived. Globally, through Nokia, Kone, Rovio and others, through its diplomatic and political leadership, and through its design scene in general, it has punched well above its weight. Having been a reluctant leader, like Litmanen, will Finland once again step up to help define a new age, a post-industrial or re-industrial age? Unlike 1917, there are few obvious external drivers to force Finns to define Finnishness. So where will the desire for change come from?

Finland, and Finnishness, is not immune to the problems facing other European countries; the Eurocrisis, domestic xenophobia, industrial strife. Challenging these is difficult for an engineering culture not yet used to working with uncertainty, and in collaboration.

That requires this sense of openness to ambiguity, to non-planning, which is quite unlike the traditional mode of Finnishness. And yet there are also valuable cues in Finnishness, such as in the design—or undesign, as Leonard Koren would have it—of Finnish sauna culture.
"Making nature really means letting nature happen, since nature, the ultimate master of interactive complexity, is organized along principles too inscrutable for us to make from scratch. … Extraordinary baths … are created by natural geologic processes or by composers of sensory stimulation working in an intuitive, poetic, open-minded—undesign—manner." (Koren, ibid.)

Equally, the päiväkoti day-care system demonstrates a learning environment built with an agile structure that can follow where children wish to lead. The role of expertise—and every teacher in Finnish education is a highly-qualified expert—is not to control or enforce a national curriculum, but to react, shape, nurture and inspire. As such it could be a blueprint not only for education generally, but also for developing a culture comfortable with divergent learning, with exploration and experiment, with a broader social and emotional range, and with ambiguity.

Chess grandmaster Savielly Tartakower once said “Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do, strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.” Indeed, Finland's early development was driven by tactics—survival, consolidation and then growth in the face of a clear set of "things to do"; defeat the conditions, resist the neighbours, rebuild after war.

With that, came success, comfort and then perhaps the inevitable lack of drive. The country is relatively well off and stable, and perhaps a little complacent given the recent accolades.

Design in recent years has seen a shift towards the ephemeral and social—interaction design, service design, user experience design, strategic design and so on. Conversely, there has been a return to the physical, albeit altered and transformed by that new modernity, with that possibility of newly hybrid “things”: digital/physical hybrids possessing a familiar materiality yet allied with responsiveness, awareness, and character by virtue of having the internet embedded within. With its strong technical research sector, and expertise in both materials and software, Finland is well-placed. Connect the power of its nascent nanotech research sector—interestingly, derived from its expertise with wood—to a richer Finnish design culture capable of sketching social objects, social services and social spaces and its potential becomes tangible, just as with the 1930s modernism that fused the science and engineering of the day with design in order to produce Artek.

Finnish design could be stretched to encompass these new directions, the aforementioned reversals towards openness, ambiguity, sociality, flexibility and softness. Given that unique DNA of Finnishness — both designed and undesigned, both old and young—Finland is at an interesting juncture.

The next phase, then, is knowing what to do, despite the appearance of not having anything to do.

Buckminster Fuller, a guest at Sitra's first design-led event at Helsinki’s Suomenlinna island fortress in 1968, once said “the best way to predict the future is to design it.” Finland has done this once before; it may be that now is exactly the right time to do it again."
finland  2014  design  danhill  cityofsound  sitra  buckminsterfuller  education  strategy  culture  exploration  experimentation  ambiguity  emergentcurriculumeurope  undesign  leonardkoren  nature  complexity  simplicity  davidendt  jarilitmanen  unproduct  efficiency  inefficiency  clarity  purity  small  slow  sisu  solitude  silence  barnraising  helsinki 
may 2014 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: HyperCard RIP
"I think those of us playing with HyperCard at that point (and using the internet in the background, without really realising we were) where actually beginning to reach out for the web. That "branching path towards all kinds of unrelated and esoteric knowledge"? What else could it be? But how could we know then?

Here's how the 21-year old me put it in 1991, in my final year BSc Computer Science dissertation (full excerpt below):
"So the underlying metaphor is of a huge chunk of cross-referenced, multi-media information which can be viewed from a number of angles which could be pre-defined or created depending on the eventual sophistication of the software."

Akin to Vannevar Bush's 'trails' notion, which I hadn't encountered then (never mind Nelson, Berners-Lee and beyond), I was driving at something which I could only conceive would sit on CD-ROM (hey, they were big then, OK? Besides, few personal computers were usefully networked.)

In other words, some kind of informational object which people could pursue their own routes through, depending on their preference, with multiple entry points—instead of Phil's tea, I had Death Of A Salesman, or McCarthyism, or hemlines, or trumpets. CD-ROMs seemed to promise such limitless space that we didn't even think about scalability. And we weren't quite ready for the infinitely 'dispersed editorial' and mass amateurisation of everything we find online now. It was perfectly conceivable, to most of us, that knowledge would be produced and structured just as it had been thought to for years i.e. by a single well-informed author, or commissioned team of same. There were technical barriers too, despite its innovative architecture.

Essentially, HyperCard wasn't structured to enable us to make the conceptual leap to conceiving of this informational object to be networked and open, with increasingly low barriers to entry as per the web. But it certainly began to lead those of a certain persuasion in that direction. We owe it a lot."
danhill  cityofsound  hypercard  internet  web  2004 
april 2014 by robertogreco
"Self-Driving cars are the answer. But what is the question?"
"Self-driving cars are a sticking plaster over existing conditions. They actually reinforce the 'Californian Ideology' that underpins today's mobility problems: suburban sprawl, based around the possibility of lengthy car-based commutes, in turn predicated on a highly individualistic view of society. It is an entirely conservative move. Self-driving cars provide a way of changing the veneer of this system, as no-one is brave enough to suggest changing the system itself. They replace who, or what, is holding the steering wheel, but not the underlying culture that contributes to mass depression, obesity epidemics, climate change and economic crises."



"Software-enabled sharing is far more radical than simply software-enabled driving. We have seen how bike-sharing schemes are beginning to redraw our urban fabric. We can see the growth in the community garden movements. We can see how shared space systems creates a safer, more engaged way of moving around. Self-driving cars have none of these dynamics, simply using software to reinforce what are actually pre-internet ideologies.

Folding self-driving systems into car-sharing schemes, as part of a wider rethink about how we live together in cities, however? I could share that vision. So again, what is the real question that suggests self-driving cars are the solution?"
danhill  carsharing  bikesharing  googlecar  self-drivingcars  cars  transportation  2013  software  systemschange  cities  urban  urbanism  parking  sharing  sharingeconomy  publictransit 
november 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Announcing Sandbox, a collaboration between BERG and Fabrica
"It's an extensive pallette of materials to which we're adding both wireless and data, and with which we can really test what it's like to work with these new materials in real spaces. We also have around 60 people, of all kinds and doing real projects, and so we can begin to explore what it's like to really live, work and play amidst and betwixt connected and disconnected objects and spaces. This will change the way we communicate with each other, and our environment, and it's Fabrica's job to be on top of that."
2013  berg  fabrica  danhill  cityofsound  sandbox  wireless  internetofthings  smartcities  bergcloud  projectideas  iot 
october 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Fabrica 2013 Informal Annual Review: Fabricanti Handbook
"Notes on the Fabricanti Handbook project

When new researchers arrive at Fabrica, there's a lot to take in. They arrive from all over the world for a start. For many it's their first time in Italy. There are language questions, cultural questions. We are also based in the country, outside Treviso, so without the distractions of a big city but equally without its inherent support networks. They also have to quickly get their head around a unique organisation, with a particular mission, in a very special space.

There is a lot of tacit information which sometimes takes a while to uncover and understand before they feel like "Fabricanti", the word we use for Fabrica's researchers.

Interested in enabling Fabricanti to hit the ground running, we've made the first Fabricanti Handbook in Fabrica's history - it describes how to live here, how to work here, how to play here. We asked two of our Fabricanti to lead the project: Anna Kulachek from Ukraine and Samantha Ziino from Australia, both graphic designers. (This was also an experiment in self-directed projects by Fabricanti.) They conducted interviews with their fellow Fabricanti, and decided all the content themselves, from text to photography to illustration. It draws on stories from Fabricanti alumni, sharing their knowledge of local tricks and quirks, and most importantly, how to get your personal projects done. We were inspired by the Valve employee handbook, by Tom Sach's "10 Bullets!" videos, Ove Arup's key speech and more, but this is a bespoke tool for Fabricanti only.

It describes place, people, processes and projects - and all the basics in terms of living locally, from ordering pasta and visiting the Biennale to why a fur coat and a little dog makes you a Treviso resident - but does so in a way that is playful, enriching and inspirational. It is full of in-jokes and secrets - though, importantly, we felt it should not have everything in it. Not everything should be so easy to find. Knowing the web is full of iconic shots of the architecture bereft of people—as architectural photographs tend to be—Anna and Sam commissioned Fabrica's photographers to take shots of the building as it is, with people in it. Knowing the institution could get a bit hierarchical, they contrasted the official view with a Fabricanti view, using different sizes of paper (there might be an idea of an official daily schedule, but the day is really only "before lunch" and "after lunch"; there is the official floor-plan, and then the way it actually works, and so on).

It should feel like a beautiful gift for your first day at Fabrica, an invaluable guide throughout the year, and a souvenir of your time there when you leave. The cover is a delicate all white on purpose, such that the scuffs, bruises and scribbles tell their own story at the end of the year. (There is a "FabricApp" developing alongside the book, starting with a Google Map version of the maps in the book, and developing into real-time installations around the Fabrica campus, as part of Fabrica's Sandbox project with BERG.) Different paper stock defines the different sections.

So this book is by Fabricanti for Fabricanti. But it also describes Fabrica. In making the book, we had to commit to print a few key ideas, notions, patterns about Fabrica, which hadn't happened much. So as Fabrica enters a new phase of its history, the Fabricanti Handbook is an excuse to form a few ideas about what it is. It is a functional document— how do you not just survive Fabrica, but thrive?—but also an inspirational one, a sketch of what Fabrica is now.

As Fabrica is an evolving project (and as bus routes change and bars open and close) it will be redesigned each year, by new Fabricanti; but with this version 1.0, Anna, Sam and their friends have made a huge contribution to Fabrica's present and future.

Insights

• Make something tangible as an excuse to force us to write something down
• Use a new project to try out different non-hierarchical organisation
• Use a Handbook project to bring organisations together
• Focus on the researchers' environment
• A side-effect of making a great Handbook is that you get great promotional material"
fabrica  print  books  2013  danhill  treviso  italy  projectideas  tangibility  commitment  valve  tomsachs  handbooks  howto  annakulachek  samanthaziino  storytelling  openstudioproject  cityofsound 
october 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Fabrica 2013 Informal Annual Review: from departments to studios
The studio model I had in mind was drawn from long experience—the multidisciplinary teams I had created, or tried to create, at the BBC and Arup—and recent experience, in Helsinki, with the Strategic Design Unit model pursued with my ertswhile colleages, Bryan Boyer, Justin Cook and Marco Steinberg, and documented well here. And of course, the studio as the forum for design practice generally.

I had also drawn a lot from Alex Coles' useful book The Transdisciplinary Studio—not necessarily in any direct sense (I haven't implemented any details of the various studio practices described therein: Jorge Pardo Sculpture, Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design, Studio Olafur Eliasson & Åbäke) but more in terms of concept, of not simply mixing disciplines, but going beyond them. Given the sense that Fabrica could be a new kind of factory, helping invent and construct the future ("Fabrica" is drawn from faber, to make, and also suggests the Italian word for factory, fabbrica), I was particularly interested in the hybrid products that much emerge from the synthesis of disciplines into something new. As Piaget has it, going beyond the displines.
"Transdisciplinary: between the disciplines, across the different disciplines, and beyond each individual discipline." [Jean Piaget, referenced in Coles]

Fabrica was essentially organised into discipline-based departments—film, music, product design, graphic design and so on. Although some areas, like Design, or Interactive, had the beginnings of a multidisciplinary mix, the structure was something I wanted to address. (I suggested this in something I wrote called "The New Vision", which was an internal discussion document/book—more soon—to gauge peoples' opinions.)

Fabrica, in terms of the structure of its "engine" was not a million miles from many other studios and schools. elsewhere.

Given the rest of our world—institutional or otherwise—is largely organised into such disciplinary structures, which organisations turn into silos (disciplines need not be silos; it's organisations that do that) then what would be the point of Fabrica doing that too?

Following my colleague Marco Steinberg's thought that "we have 18th century institutions facing 21st century problems", can we create a 21st century organisation? Something that faces the 21st century, in all its hybridity and complexity, on its own terms? Something that might address 21st century issues with a more appropriate, flexible and complex creative toolkit?

If we look at a city council organisational structure, you see that it is largely in a 19th century mode, and so ill-equipped to deal with a complex, interdependent challenge like climate change? All of the following departments—and more—are implicated in solving the problem. In my experience, even getting a meeting to discuss a citizen-centred project like Brickstarter can be an issue with this form of organisation.

If you look at the departments and divisions of Oxford University, say, can we really say it has moved far from the organisation of the medieval university?

So why, for instance, should Fabrica have a music department? There are a million places to go and study or practice music. Probably many better. Juillard, for instance. Yet there are few places that sit a musician or sound designer next to a coder, next to a filmmaker, next to an industrial designer. (The same applies to other departments, obviously.)

Given our size, agility, mission and the fact that we are not interested in formal academic certification (that is another "trap" that reinforces silos) this environment is something that Fabrica can uniquely forge. This is the possibilty behind the idea of Fabrica.

Ten months in we have moved to a new studio-based model of organisation, addressing thematic areas via a transdisciplinary mode.

• Each studio has a mix of disciplines; for example, code, graphic design, film making, writing, industrial design, sound, art, and so on.
• Each studio has a range of projects addressing the theme, from big to small, slow to quick, client-led to self-directed.
• Each is led by a studio lead, or leads.
• Each has a dedicated studio space at Fabrica.
• These are the studios we have now (overlapping to indicate the possibility of fluid movement between them, and shared projects.) …

[Read on.]
[Rest saved here too: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:7b2f1be990dc ]
transdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  studioclassroom  danhill  fabrica  cityofsound  2013  organization  disciplines  crossdisciplinary  openstudioproject  tcsnmy  schooldesign  education  projectbasedlearning  innovation  creativity  thematiclearning  fluidity  projectorientedorganizations  pbl 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Dan Hill Opinion on MOOCs and design education
"(Ah these names. "Coursera." "Udacity." They sound like recently-privatised former state assets. I next expect a slew of social media oriented services, with monickers like Smugly and Learnr, Swotly and Examinr, Cramly and Testr.)"



"And yet despite attempts to fold in collaboration and sharing, it will tend to a solitary pursuit of those exercises. At least currently. The whole point of MOOCs - one of their core values - is that they are *not* social and collaborative. Their dematerialised and dislocated state means they fit into your schedule, but in doing so, it cannot - by definition - bring you together with people at the same time and in the same space.

Design and architecture education however is, I believe, more than ever about collaboration, on working through holistic projects together, face to face, in transdisciplinary teams, learning through doing on real projects with real clients. While digital tools can support this, affording some new patterns of activity, the pull back to the physical, embodied and genuinely social is profound, particularly as systems and outcomes become more complex, more entwined, more hybridised. Schools and research centres like Strelka, CIID, Sandberg Instituut or the work we're doing at Fabrica, are exploring exactly this, as post-institutional learning environments.

It's difficult to see how MOOCs will really shift that aspect of design education.

The great graphic designer and typographer Erik Spiekermann once said: "You can teach yourself everything there is to be learned by observing, asking, taking things apart and putting them back together again. Teachers can help with that process as long as they stay credible. The only way to achieve that is to keep on learning themselves.""



"For me, the ideal design education space - showing my prejudices, here - looks more like the wonderfully messy SCI-Arc in Los Angeles or Royal College of Art in London. The RCA, especially in Tony Dunne's Design Interactions space, can sometimes feel like some kind of gloriously generative cyberpunk favela.

How will MOOCs fit alongside this? Or put it another way, what do you think the student bar at Coursera is like?

The huge opportunity behind non-certified, transdisciplinary learning is that it can be tuned to the 21st century's needs, rather than the last century's. Collaborative project-based learning ought to be intrinsically holistic in nature, with tangible outcomes. This is how design is practiced, and this is how design ought to be practiced in the context of learning. Putting lectures online is really just putting 20th century education on the internet, and there must be more to 21st century education than that."
mooc  moocs  danhill  2013  design  designeducation  openstudioproject  lcproject  schooldesign  sciarc  rca  teaching  learning  collaboration  education  howwetech  howwelearn  learningspaces  messiness 
october 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Fabrica 2013 Informal Annual Review: Exhibitions
"So Sam's team devised some modular furniture elements, a modular graphic system, and a modular web service, each of which related to the other but could be taken apart by incoming teams subsequently. Then, working with local students, a series of furniture elements emerged—benches, shelves, chairs, crates and so on—with customised graphic identities alongside.

This of course ticks several boxes for me, such as modular, adaptive components, collaborative design processes, open platforms and so on. But better was to see the buzz of activity when I visited on the closing Saturday and Sunday, with highly imaginative adaptations created in collaboration."



"What's Sam's studio does very well is use exhibitions to drive the rhythm of the studio. By giving themselves these immovable deadline of showing in public, they get stuff done. It's hard work, but productive, and the researchers really appreciate that. As do I.

We're increasingly using exhibitions to get Fabrica out and about, and watch out for more on that front, big and small. For instance, we're currently working hard on a very big, very top secret, quite design fiction-esque exhibition, for next February. More when I have it, but that is also using an exhibition to develop particular new skills and new perspectives inside Fabrica, through partnering with great design firms, and homing in on new thematic areas.

Another post along shortly.

Insights
Use exhibitions to turn Fabrica inside-out.
Use exhibitions to drive the rhythm of the studio.
Use exhibitions to acquire new skills, new perspectives."
exhibitions  2013  danhill  cityofsound  fabrica  sambaron  modular  modularity  adaptability  collaboration  design  openplatforms  open  studioclassroom  studios  tcsnmy  presentationsoflearning  rhythm  howwework  deadlines  productivity  openstudioproject  lcproject  learning  howwelearn  public  workinginpublic  projectorientedorganizations 
october 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: Notes on "Ambient Commons", by Malcolm McCullough
"As explained in Lisa Reichelt’s Twitter-friendly coinage of “ambient intimacy,” social media use countless trivial messages to build a detailed portrait, even an imagined presence, of a friend. At least to some degree, this restores a lost kind of awareness found in traditional life. The upstairs shutters are opened, the bicycle is gone from its usual spot at the usual time, deliveries are being made, and the neighbors are gossiping. To their enthusiasts, social media re-create some of this environmental sense, albeit across the necessary distances and at the accelerated paces of the metropolis."



"The world has been filling with many new kinds of ambient interfaces. Nothing may be designed on the assumption that it will be noticed. Many more things must be designed and used with the ambient in mind. Under these circumstances, you might want to rethink attention."



"Embodiment makes the difference. Walking provides more embodiment, more opportunity for effortless fascination, and better engagement than looking or sitting. Depending on the balance of fascinating and annoying stimuli, a walk around town may well do some good. That balance is now in play, under the rise of the ambient."



""Does having more ambient information make you notice the world more, or less? Can mediation help you tune in to where you are? Or does it just lower the resolution of life?"

"(T)he Internet shakes the university to its core; presumably, the two are now breeding a new heir."

(((The first statement is true. The second? Not without a little help, at least not with purpose and foresight. And no, it's not massive open online courses (MOOCs). MOOCs are the mp3 of education - they radically disrupt the distribution of information, but that's only one slice of the wider pie. mp3s have not radically changed music; largely only distribution. Likewise, MOOCs are the low-hanging fruit of learning: the easiest bit to translate and transmit, and the lowest value component. It is learning at its simplest, its most mundane. This is still useful as it frees up education - say, the university - to spend its time and resources doing something higher value instead - focusing on moments of intense, engaged collaboration, together in physical space. The rest can be displaced: with a hand; it is no great loss. No more than compact discs, and their absurdly-named "jewel boxes". Anyway.)))"

"The role of architecture seems central to future inquiries into attention. The cognitive role of architecture is to serve as banks for the rivers of data and communications, to create sites, objects, and physical resource interfaces for those electronic flows to be about. At the same time, architecture provides habitual and specialized contexts by which to make sense of activities. And, where possible, architecture furnishes rich, persistent, attention-restoring detail in which to take occasional refuge from the rivers of data."
(((Very good. Again, you won't see architects getting this pointed out at architecture school much currently - with a few honourable exceptions - but there's a good role for architecture in future (alongside many other things of course.))))
danhill  ambient  ambientintimacy  architecture  design  information  technology  2013  cityofsound  lisareichelt  malcolmmccullough  experience  embodiment  urban  urbanism  softcity  visibility  communication  sensing  attention  cognition  softcities  ubicomp  internetofthings  iot 
july 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Donovan Hill / Peddle Thorpe, plus some notes on libraries in general
"The model also indicates what a sharply intelligent piece of work Donovan Hill’s intervention is, managing to keep the essence of the Gibson library’s mass, low terraced form, orientation and a good deal of the exterior finish, thus retaining its civic grandeur and connection to its family of buildings, but also radically reworking most of it, creating a new diversity of spaces - intimate, approachable and exciting."
via:tealtan  libraries  2008  danhill  cityofsound  queensland  library2.0 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Brickstarter – Brickstarter the book
"Brickstarter the book contains 80 dense pages filled with the research presented here, refined and reformatted, as well as entirely new essays and illustrations. This book is a primer for people working on problems at the intersection of crowdfunding/sourcing, social media, urban planning and decision-making. So in other words, it’s about contemporary cities and how we might create new platforms to enable more effective debate about the future of our shared spaces."
brickstarter  bryanboyer  books  2013  crowdsourcing  crowdfunding  urban  urbanism  cities  josephgrima  danhill  prototyping  lcproject  openstudioproject 
june 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: Watch Dogs and world creation
"Watch Dogs feels hugely appealing, as it was with a short clip of another game based in Paris 2084 posted to The Verge the other day, simply because it suggests the possibility of wandering around in a semi-fictional city as escapist pastime. No plot, no narrative, just exploring something which is a parallel urban universe (temporarily, dramatically, architecturally.)

Partly this is appealing as urban walking is an occupation of mine in real cities, from Geneva to Los Angeles to many more not written up. And partly as the other narrative forms I enjoy the most often create a world—and often an urban world—as a core character. For example, and purely at random. Bullitt and Collateral and Will Eisner and Bleak House and Chavez Ravine and  Warren Ellis's excellent recent novel Gun Machine, which Watch Dogs appears to share some similarities with, by the way. World building more broadly, outside of cities, also seems a characteristic of compelling narrative formats, from West Wing to Borgen via Lost and Eastenders to Swallows and Amazons."
architecture  cities  games  gaming  2013  danhill  videogames  watchdogs  exploration  flaneur  urban  urbanism  worldbuilding 
may 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: Video game flâneur
"Rockstar and others have virtually (pun intended) built the digital infrastructure to generate generic large city forms. All they have to do is drape a particular cultural fabric over it, and the architecture, clothes, music, adverts etc. all just fall into place, as defined by a talented new form of 'curator' perhaps. (Hey Rockstar, if you're listening, I'll have that job!).

[Thought about this before, after reading about Gangs of New York and similar potential in films; read also about the way Rockstar design this stuff; about some future potential of Rockstar's city-based games; and Manhattan as muse for video games.]

If it is The Warriors, then just inhabiting a version of NYC in the early 80s would be a blast. One of my favourite near-mythical urban eras, as witnessed in the incredibly flawed but compelling film Downtown 81. I'd struggle to do address any of the usual Rockstar narrative ploys though, instead trying to track down John Zorn, Arto Lindsay & DNA, Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel, The Kitchen, James White & The Blacks, Talking Heads, Thurston Moore, Basquiat etc. Materialising in the almost deserted early-80s Lower East Side, I'd probably get my head kicked in anyway (which is standard Rockstar plot device of course)."
gta  danhill  videogames  gaming  archives  exploration  immersion  nyc  cities  flaneur  games  grandtheftauto 
may 2013 by robertogreco
The Setup / Dan Hill
"I have an office at Fabrica, which is the first office I've had in two decades of professional work (I've previously always been in open-plan/studio environments.) I'm currently remodeling it a bit to make it more workshop-like."

"I often end up working in all kinds of spaces - in fact cafes and trains are probably the most productive spaces, so it's odd to focus on designing particular spaces, but I'd love to get home and office and studio working together better than the do. The cloud is beginning to be a reality, from a workflow point of view, and that enables a fluidity which is very appealing."
openstudioproject  lcproject  wherewework  howwework  danhill  2012  thesetup  usesthis  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Venture Ethnography 1: a bi(bli)ography « Justin Pickard
"Project Cascadia is the test-case for a cluster of ideas I’ve been playing with for the best part of five years. A chance to break out my signature obsessions …

Hauntings, world expos, gonzo journalism, science fiction, systems, geopolitics, utopianism, virtuality, globalisation, the sublime, resilience, collapsonomics, aesthetics, architecture, environmentalism, infrastructure, design, futures studies, sovereignty, atemporality, risk, the nation-state, the uncanny, Americana, technoscience, cyberpunk, multispecies ethnography, fiction, capitalism, the human senses, counterfactual history, media and cyborgs (and media cyborgs)

… and nail them to the mast of a weird and interstitial sort of boat; a soupy, hybrid writing practice that would combine the best of ethnography, journalism and science fiction.

In lieu of a biography, then, I’m offering a bibliography. Five years of my brain, in books, articles, essays, and blog posts…"
urbanism  jgballard  richardbarbrook  marcaugé  warrenellis  jenniferegan  bradleygarrett  donnaharaway  naomiklein  brunolatour  ursulaleguin  ianmacdonald  suketumehta  chinamieville  jimrossignol  michaeltaussig  huntersthompson  adamgreenfield  brucesterling  thomaspynchon  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  cityofsound  danhill  davidgraeber  matthewgandy  williamgibson  corydoctorow  douglascoupland  michaelchabon  jamaiscascio  laurenbeukes  journalism  mediacyborgs  cyborgs  geopolitics  aesthetics  utopianism  risk  atemporality  sovereignty  sciencefiction  cyberpunk  technoscience  ethnography  capitalism  globalization  collapsonomics  resilience  writing  projectcascadia  bibliographies  2011  justinpickard  bibliography  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: Fabrica
"a type of school, or studio, or commercial practice, or research centre. Fabrica, hovering between all these things yet resisting the urge to fall into becoming any one of them, is perhaps genuinely without parallel. This makes it a little tricky to explain, but this ability to avoid pigeonholes is also to its credit."

"hybrid organisation—part communications research centre…but also part arts and design school, part think-thank, part studio. My kind of place."

"While I might occasionally characterise Fabrica as the pugnacious upstart, or startup, whose agility might challenge the established institutions, it’s clear we also have a lot to learn from the likes of the exemplary creative centres like the RCA, and from Paul in particular. His experience across the Design Museum, Cooper Hewitt and the RCA will be invaluable, and he’s beginning to draw together a great advisory board. Watch that space. I’m also exploring various newer models for learning environments, from Strelka and CIID to MIT Media Lab and School of Everything, alongside the centres of excellence like the RCA and others. My father and mother, more of an influence on me than perhaps even they realise, were both educators and learning environments and cultures may well be in my DNA, to some degree."

"…the other idea that I’m incredibly interested in pursuing at Fabrica is that of the trandisciplinary studio."

"With this stew of perspectives at hand, we might find project teams that contain graphic designers, industrial designers, neuroscientists, coders, filmmakers, for instance. Or product design, data viz, sociology, photography, economics, architecture and interaction design, for instance. These small project teams are then extremely well-equipped to tackle the kind of complex, interdependent challenges we face today, and tomorrow. We know that new knowledge and new practice—new ideas and new solutions—emerges through the collision of disciplines, at the edges of things, when we’re out of our comfort zone. Joi Ito, at the MIT Media Lab, calls this approach “anti-disciplinary”."

"And living in Treviso, a medieval walled Middle European city, our new home gives me another urban form to explore, after living in the Modern-era Social Democratic Nordic City of Helsinki, the Post-Colonial proto-Austral-Asian Sprawl of Sydney, the contemporary globalised city-state of London, and the revolutionary industrial, and then post-industrial, cities of the north of England."
1994  australia  uk  finland  venice  helsinki  london  sydney  domus  josephgrima  danielhirschmann  bethanykoby  technologywillsaveus  tadaoando  alessandrobenetton  rca  schoolofeverything  strelkainstitute  joiito  medialab  mitmedialab  ciid  paulthompson  nontechnology  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  marcosteinberg  jocelynebourgon  culturalconsumption  culturalproduction  code  darkmatter  fabricafeatures  livewindows  colors  andycameron  richardbarbrook  californianideology  discourse  sitra  italy  treviso  helsinkidesignlab  benetton  culture  culturaldiversity  socialdiversity  diversity  decisionmaking  sharedvalue  economics  obesity  healthcare  demographics  climatechange  research  art  design  studios  lcproject  learning  education  2012  antidisciplinary  transdisciplinary  cityofsound  danhill  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Why Cooper Union can’t be trusted | Felix Salmon
"I can’t help but think this building exists for the same reason as the war in Iraq or Netflix streaming. Somebody with clout got enamoured with the idea, and pointing out its flaws became career-limiting. Like most boondoggles, the idea was grand, inspiring, and financially unrealistic.

It’s just a guess, but that’s a pattern I’ve seen over and over."

[From a comment pointed out by Casey (http://reading.am/CaseyG/comments/6495 ) who adds… ]

"Reminds me of Dan Hill: "Even a Pritzker prize-winning architect such as Richard Rogers cannot, for example, challenge the basic premises of the Barangaroo urban development in Sydney. The combination of masterplan, financial model, political context, local history and local cultures created a tight frame within which the architectural design work must occur. Many of the architects and other designers within the project team knew that the way the question was being framed was fundamentally flawed, but from their relatively lowly position…"
danhill  blingpursuits  onetrackminds  organizations  institutions  trust  buildings  tcsnmy  beenthere  transparency  caseygollan  cooperunion  cooper  2012  felixsalmon  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Dark Matter
"Wouter’s notion of dark matter suggests organisations, culture, & the structural relationships that bind them together as a form of material, almost. Usefully, it gives a name to something otherwise amorphous, nebulous yet fundamental. 

Dark matter is a choice phrase. The concept is drawn from theoretical physics, wherein dark matter is believed to constitute approximately 83% of the matter in the universe, yet is virtually imperceptible. It neither emits nor scatters light, or other electromagnetic radiation. It is believed to be fundamentally important in the cosmos—we simply cannot be without it—& yet there is essentially no direct evidence of its existence, & little understanding of its nature. …

The only way that dark matter can be perceived is by implication, through its effect on other things…

…this seemed to me not only apply to the city, but also to institutions and governments, the public sector generally but also companies and firms, politics and commerce."

[See also:
http://www.strelka.com/press_en/dark-matter-and-trojan-horses-dan-hill/?lang=en
http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2012/08/dark-matter-trojan-horses-strategic-design-vocabulary.html
http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2012/08/essay-maginot-line.html
http://brickstarter.org/dark-matter/
https://vimeo.com/39565431 ]
physics  commerce  politics  companies  organizations  culture  cities  2012  darkmatter  danhill  strelkapress  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Print-on-demand work-in-progress
"The fact that things could be emailed, which is a prerequisite, also meant they were too easy to ignore. By making something easy to disseminate via email, you were also placing it in a fast-flowing stream of other objects… 

We wanted to exploit the fertile middle ground of “work in progress” with something that was a little more engaging, that would pull focus onto the discussions at hand, yet not so over-produced that the thing couldn’t iterate or evolve. Something that could be thrown around in a workshop—literally!—accessed in linear or non-linear fashion, carry visual and textual information, carried on the person, or remain guiltily within sight on someone’s desk. Something physical and digital' which might have an allure over simply digital, at least at the form of artifacts.

In other words, a small book. So a simple InDesign template later, and a not-quite-so-simple PDF upload a little later, a bunch of A5 books emerged via Lulu’s print-on-demand (POD) service."

[See also: http://www.helsinkidesignlab.org/blog/helsinki-street-eats-and-hacking-lulu ]
workinprogress  communication  email  oma  documentation  process  craigmod  printondemand  low2no  amazon  layout  jamesgoggiin  magcloud  dearlulu  helsinkidesignlab  sitra  newspaperclub  blurb  lulu  projectideas  glvo  books  indesign  pdf  printing  2012  selfpublishing  self-publishing  cityofsound  danhill  unbook  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
Brickstarter
"Brickstarter is a 21st century social service. It enables everyday people, using everyday technology and culture, to articulate and progress sustainable ideas about their community. Brickstarter is a platform to turn possibilities into proposals into projects."

"The core of Brickstarter is a web service that provides a shared platform for citizens to suggest and build possibilities into proposals into projects. Brickstarter is a:

* Forum for citizens to articulate possibilities, and start aggregating attention
* Public story-telling platform, capturing the ebb and flow of debate around proposals
* Community fundraising tool for shared initiatives
* ‘Real-time dashboard‘ displaying the collective desires of a community that can be mapped against institutional strategies and legislative frameworks, enabling bureaucracy to work more effectively"
funding  fundraising  urbanism  urban  cities  yimby  nimby  crowdsourcing  crowdfunding  technology  sharing  platform  culture  sitra  danhill  brickstarter  community  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Low2No smart services workbook - Low2No
"This work often involves positioning these otherwise technology-led areas in a more human-centred, and behaviour-oriented, framework — getting well beyond the hype about "smart cities" — whilst also trying to connect it to business drivers (the lack of the latter has hampered pretty much any serious progress in smart cities.)

A particular approach has been a focus on active rather than passive citizens. Too often such technologies can suggest an automation of processes without thinking through the behavoiural implications."

"Note: these print-on-demand books are designed to be updated. This is actually version 2, as you will note. So it is explicitly "work in progress", and that should serve as a caveat. (This was the first time we'd tried this approach, which we took further with the Helsinki Street Eats book: here, and discussed here.)"
customerjourney  finland  helsinki  helsinkistreeteats  smartservices  howto  activecitizens  human-centered  urbanism  urban  smartcities  personalinformatics  low2no  deliverables  methods  methodology  unbook  2010  2012  danhill  sitra  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Low2No Blog - Low2No
"The Low2No project is designed to help transition our cities to a low carbon future. We aim to balance economy, ecology and society through strategic investments and interventions in the built environment."
urban  society  ecology  economics  cities  low2no  justinwcook  bryanboyer  danhill  sitra  responsivespaces  green  design  architecture  urbanism  sustainability  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Portable cathedrals - Design - Domus
"So the N9 is not so much a product as a pointer. It will soon be impossible, or perhaps pointless anyway, to buy. Meego is a dead man walking and the hardware will live on in a new cloned and cared-for body, as the Lumia…

The Citröen DS was ultimately destined to befall the fate of mummification as a 'design icon' rather than a major commercial success. Numerous beautifully-maintained examples are still just about running, maintained by obsessives who spend their Sunday mornings patching up fuel sumps, buffing white leather interiors and browsing eBay for increasingly rare spare parts.

Perhaps as with the DS 19, the N9 will also end up maintained by an army of enthusiasts, a lost classic filed away in some museum of digital artefacts, an open-source movement supporting and extending Meego as a kind of avant-garde alt.OS, augmented by 3D-printed replacement physical parts or modded components, as with Leicas and Polaroids."
software  industrialdesign  objects  objectsofdesire  cars  phones  mobile  rolandbarthes  2011  danhill  meego  citröends  portablecathedrals  n9  design  nokia  from delicious
january 2012 by robertogreco
Mr Cameron, it's time to get the designers in | Art and design | guardian.co.uk
"If a country has the best education system in the world, it could be forgiven for resting on its laurels. Yet Finland, which routinely tops the Pisa education rankings, refuses to do so. The country has other major issues on the agenda, such as how to become carbon neutral and how to look after the most rapidly ageing population in Europe. And when the nation wants to address these questions, it turns to Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund. Most governments have a cluster of thinktanks and policy groups at their disposal to tackle their country's challenges. But what's different about Sitra is that it uses designers.

Sitra's strategic design unit is made up of an international team with backgrounds in architecture and urban planning, web and interactive design, and they are used to thinking at varying scales – from the pixel to the city. "Strategic design" is still a nascent discipline but, put simply, it means applying a design method to a system, rather than an object."
danhill  sitra  design  finland  strategicdesign  policy  servicedesign  systemschange  systemicimagining  well-being  2011  bryanboyer  government  forwardlooking  forwardthinking  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Essay: Happy Feelings at the Awakening of Finnish Spring*, Summer, Autumn / Helsinki, Spirit Level Cities, and Opaque Cities
"But what I try to get at in this longer version is the idea of the tacit city, or opaque city. There is a strong element of this to Helsinki. It's possible to visit, and miss the point entirely. It doesn't offer itself up easily at all. The peculiarly distinct language exacerbates this, of course, but there are other ways in which the city remains opaque—cultural, social, environmental. But I argue that that makes the city more interesting as a result, just as it is at a different scale with London. You have to work harder at it, but it's more rewarding.

Although Helsinki has been a constant delight in our few months here, it's not immediately obvious to the visitor with preconceptions about what a city is, or some other prejudice to resolve."
helsinki  finland  cityofsound  danhill  cities  urban  urbanism  2011 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Week 27: Scattered, and rolling. | Urbanscale
"the course also included some reading…we decided that compiling and designing a newspaper with all the reading for the course would be a better route to success. We had a 20-page newspaper printed by…Newspaper Club…The very fact of having a physical artefact, laying around on the desks in the studio, is a constant reminder that there is related reading to be done, and it invites browsing in a way a list of links or open tabs does not. It also has the advantage of being print — there’s much greater control (albeit with commensurately more effort) over presentation, of curating a selection, of removing distractions, no links, of considering what sits next to what. Texts from blogs can sit next to more historical texts, forcing the ideas to bounce and spark off each other. Not to mention, it ends up being a rather nice object to keep around, to glance at or refer to later.

Find below a list of the content in the newspaper we handed out as a form of shortened reading list."
urban  urbanism  urbanscale  adamgreenfield  toread  readinglist  tomarmitage  jackschulze  timoarnall  greglindsay  janejacobs  italocalvino  copenhagen  denmark  big  bjarkeingels  georgeaye  mayonissen  rongabriel  muni  williamhwhyte  danhill  2011  networkedurbanism  networkedcities  urbancomputing  immaterials  urbanexperience  systems  layers  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Snowfall, Helsinki
"There is a very distinct urban process going on here: clearing snow from Helsinki's roofs before it falls unpredictably or loads roofs with too much weight. According to Helsinki Times, these men are often Estonians, & known as 'snowdroppers', & carefully crawl over the roofs of Helsinki's elegant city-centre buildings, creating miniature controlled avalanches onto the cordoned-off street below.<br />
<br />
Outside of the centre this is sometimes done with amateurs, which sounds unbelievably dangerous. I like the Helsingen Sanomat's pithy note of caution:<br />
<br />
"It is dangerous enough when the snow comes down unexpectedly on people's heads - please do not add to the danger by coming down with it."<br />
<br />
As a kind of impromptu urban performance, it's strangely compelling to watch. It's a great sound too—the clatter-and-scrape of hammers and shovels loosening the ice & snow, and the gentle whump as the snowfall hits the street below some seconds later. But again, it wasn't a day for hanging around."
helsinki  finland  snowdropping  snowdroppers  urban  cityofsound  danhill  snow  winter  cities  customs  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
The taxonomy of the invisible - Bobulate
"Peter del Tredici, a senior research scientist at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and lecturer in landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, argues the wildlife that surrounds us every day often has an “image problem:” it goes unnoticed, unattended, and unvalued. “There is no denying the fact that many — if not most — of the plants … suffer from image problems associated with the label ‘weeds,’ or, to use a more recent term, ‘invasive species.’ From the plant’s perspective, ‘invasiveness’ is just another word for successful reproduction — the ultimate goal of all organisms, including humans…. The term is a value judgment that humans apply to plants we do not like, not a biological characteristic.”"
iphone  applications  location  lizdanzico  weeds  plants  invasivespecies  nature  naturedeficitdisorder  urban  urbanism  childhood  chores  memories  nostalgia  noticing  danhill  cityofsound  trees  treesny  nyc  life  systems  biology  glvo  srg  edg  humans  perspective  language  words  taxonomy  wildlife  cities  value  organisms  shrequest1  ios  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Method designing
"like many designers, I have to immerse myself in cultural context of my work in order to get results. I’ve come to think of this as ‘method designing’, after method acting; way of ‘getting into character’ that consciously & subconsciously informs design process. ...approach might come from fact that, as a designer, I’ve actually spent a lot of time writing, curating & doing strategic work. All...require ability to process vast amounts of data (often media) fairly rapidly & synthesise into some new form—as does designing, or at least the kind done by designers like me. I find it difficult to have a discussion around form & function w/out trying to get at ineffable, intangible aspects of project’s context, for which I’m yet to discover a good word. Raymond Williams’ ‘structure of feeling’ partly does it, & mise-en-scène does to a limited extent, but ‘context’ isn’t quite enough, & doesn’t get at the lived experience & cultural aspects as well as the socio-economic & form-based."
mise-en-scène  structureoffeeling  danhill  cityofsound  design  methoddesigning  methodacting  immersion  cities  helsinki  literature  understanding  howwework  howwelearn  experience  culture  process  tcsnmy  classideas  writing  curating  media  strategy  data  synthesis  context  toshare  topost 
july 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Friday 21st May, Turin to Milan [Nice trip summary from Dan Hill. Just a clip here.]
"Italy is a complex place. Even the construction of the country itself is complex. Joseph had earlier related the recent ban on journalists reporting on court cases in progress, a law that many allege is created by Berlusconi to protect Berlusconi. This may be the least of it, however, as the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy seems likely to be marked not just with a half-hearted whimper instead of a joyous bang, but with serious doubts being expressed as to its long term viability. There is a chance that the north may split from the south. Currently slim, but growing. And then, what of Italy?
danhill  cityofsound  milan  turin  2010  trains  rail  transportation  design  domus  cities 
july 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sunday May 16th, Helsinki and London
"The return to London had actually been via Helsinki, due to two projects there. Helsinki Vantaa is a wonderful airport, all soft sunlight, wooden floors, warm stone and steel, with free wifi and a civilized unhurried air, a near-perfect first impression of Europe...
greatrecession  london  uk  danhill  finland  helsinki  airports  cityofsound 
july 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: 14 Cities
"In the previous entry I wrote about an unsuccessful submission for the Venice Architecture Biennale Australian pavilion. As I noted, it grew out of an earlier internal ideas competition at Arup Sydney, in which I produced a set of 14 super-short stories, each pertaining to describe a particular Australian city of the future. In reality, each is a facet of almost any contemporary Australian city, extrapolated to bring into sharp relief, as per Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities (albeit with a lot less craft). Regular readers will recognise many of my prejudices and predilections surfacing here, which is perhaps why I found it so enjoyable to put together."
danhill  cityofsound  fiction  stories  shortstories  italocalvino  australia  future 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Dan Hill - New Soft City | IxDA
"The way the street feels may soon be defined by the invisible and inaudible. Cities are being laced with sensors, which in turn generate urban informatics experiences, imbuing physical space with real-time behavioural data. The urban fabric itself can become reflexive and responsive to some extent, and there are numerous implications for the design and experience of cities as a result.
danhill  ubicomp  urban  governance  urbanism  design  data  culture  technology  architecture  australia  socialnetworking  media  mobile  cities 
march 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Emergent Urbanism, or ‘bottom-up planning’
"Cities are constantly in tension, and inherently unbalanced systems. That is how they enable change. For successful cities to emerge unscathed from the wheels of creative destruction, an informed, engaged and enabled urbanism needs to inhabit both professional circles and everyday people. While we might be drawn to emergent systems as the other ones are filed in the too-hard basket, it’s in the interlocking totality of this top-down/bottom-up system, suffuse with a positive sense of what a city is, that the answer lies. We have to do nothing less than redesign our culture in order to successfully redesign our cities."
cityofsound  cities  danhill  emergent  bottom-up  planning  urban  urbanism  infrastructure  reclamation  non-plan  urbanplanning  lowcost  bureaucracy  scale  possibility  australia  newcastle  sydney  stevenjohnson  development  renewal 
february 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: For the life between buildings - some notes on the iPad
"If it’s technically possible to develop a Processing environment, a sawn-off Photoshop or Illustrator, Sketchup, Omnigraffle for iPad, then I see no reason why Apple wouldn’t move those apps to the front of the shop, & thus the iPad becomes productive...in a traditional sense.
design  technology  urban  urbanism  apple  cityofsound  interface  ipad  computing  danhill  interaction  architecture  cities  environment  interactiondesign  postarchitectural  digitalmedia  trends  culture  context  ui  ux 
february 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sensing the immaterial-material city
"I've created a public group at Flickr called Sensing the City, so if you have similar photos, do add them there. I'd be interested to see what turns up.

While it's a very different sensibility and approach to the aforementioned explorations of radio frequencies - it's often a very material city, rather than immaterial; just hidden - in the context of discussions around instrumenting the fabric of our cities via urban informatics it's interesting to consider how much of this already occurs on our streets. And despite being marked by traffic cones and fluorescent work jackets it's become an invisible activity, somewhat ironically, for passers-by. These people are sensors."
danhill  design  urbanism  materiality  visualisation  cities  urban  visualization  ubicomp  space  flickr  rfid  mobile  nearfield  wireless  networkedcities 
october 2009 by robertogreco
The City Is A Battlesuit For Surviving The Future - Future metro - io9
"If you'll excuse the spoiler, the zenith of Hawksmoor's adventures with cities come when he finds the purpose behind the modifications - he was not altered by aliens but by future humans in order to defend the early 21st century against a time-travelling 73rd century Cleveland gone berserk. Hawksmoor defeats the giant, monstrous sentient city by wrapping himself in Tokyo to form a massive concrete battlesuit.

Cities are the best battlesuits we have.

It seem to me that as we better learn how to design, use and live in cities - we all have a future."
design  mattjones  technology  urbanplanning  architecture  urbanism  scifi  postarchitectural  psychology  cities  archigram  comics  urban  future  danhill  adamgreenfield  janejacobs  warrenellis  christopherwren  psychogeography  kevinslavin  detroit  nyc  dubai  mumbai  masdrcity  fiction  film  spacesuits  battlesuits 
september 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Cars b/w Are Friends Electric
"The opportunity to genuinely explore the sound of the city without this blanket of private cars is compelling, whether through sculpting sound through active intervention or simply through enjoying a level aural playing field for the everyday sounds that already conjure the city.
danhill  cars  bikes  cities  noise  sound  safety  change  adaptation  streets  design  cityofsound  urban  urbanism 
may 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Benjamin H. Bratton (Postopolis! LA)
"now we have...no choice but to focus attention on the conception of the Pre-. We are now...Pre-other things & some of the things we do now will scale into epochal institutions... Stamen will make maps for Olympic committees but their real interest is in how informationally-enabled modes of a cognitive urbanism can make space more permanently adventurous not just more transparent. They are card carrying Situationists...Their project is a new city. Their mandate is of the Pre, not so much the Post...Because design was a symbol of the bubble it is also a symbol of the bubble’s collapse. ... many ways of doing things, of designing things, of consuming things, of consuming design are ... zombie ideas. ... the opportunity is potentially at hand to redesign many of the fundamental social, cultural, economic institutions that govern our lives, and not just design the content that would fill these forms ... design model to which we should pay more attention is not productive, but subtractive."
benjaminbratton  danhill  cityofsound  sustainability  postopolis  cities  urban  politics  architecture  design  urbanism  stamendesign  situationist  postarchitectural  crisis  2009  theory  oma  remkoolhaas  collapse  economics  gamechanging  ucsd  losangeles 
april 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Postopolis! LA, day two / Los Angeles
"By the time we’re back in Downtown, the traffic is building up and Broadway is a chaotic, honking mess of slow-moving steel. By this time, though, the city has won me over. Its constant contradictions - the very contradiction of it being here in the first place - have little negative effect now, only continually beguiling. Despite everything, this city continues to grow. As the Carey McWilliams poem from 1946 says:
losangeles  cities  us  urbanism  cars  density  reynerbanham  danhill  cityofsound  bencerveny 
april 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2007)
"Partly thanks to the breadth of Taleb’s erudition, the more interesting passages here concern our psychological makeup, with advantages and disadvantages endowed by the process of evolution as much as anything. You’ll find much here to aid understanding of how people think - and how people act on instinct, for that matter. Beyond that, our almost subconscious attraction to finding confirmation of one’s notions through active construction of data to support that notion is particularly interesting, and worrying."
blackswans  nassimtaleb  economics  history  danhill  cityofsound  psychology  books  reviews 
january 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: The Adaptive City
"Sadly, the history of technology and the city is not actually one of smooth implementation, shared standards, and open access. It progresses awkwardly, in fits and starts, rather than smoothly and equitably. Yet the history of urban development itself is also awkward. Nonetheless, here is the hint of a promise that a city could heal itself, as if the adaptive membrane of earlier cities is present at the scale of later cities.
urban  adaptive  urbancomputing  danhill  cityofsound  cities  urbanism  informatics  urbanplanning  history  everyware  ubicomp 
september 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: A simulated Baltimore
"A constant theme here has been how the cultural aspects of a city inform the sense of what a city is, and can be. Hence my interest in films about cities, songs about cities, writing about cities, games about cities, music scenes in cities, and so on. These all seem to be useful - or at least evocative - in terms of understanding a city, and are usually lacking in any analytical models of cities, and certainly from most urban planning and governance processes. Something we're trying to change. But it's fascinating to hear Simon describing his particular art as "constructing an American city.""
cities  davidsimon  baltimore  thewire  television  tv  identity  culture  music  cityofsound  danhill  crime  drugs  urban  urbanism  government  film  media  architecture 
september 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Lyons House, Sydney
"indicated value of client who knew what he wanted in terms of function...good fortune in meeting sympathetic architect at top of his craft...house faces inwards, with pool a form of courtyard - one side left open with view through trees to blue of bay beyond...more interested in...way building would perform....functional element to architecture. "As a machine"...As well as the Japanese influence, it’s also easy to correlate this space with promise of modernism...great open spaces w/out visible means of support...Peter Blake commented that Boyd’s houses were often “almost invisible from outside...isolationist suburban plot has done more harm than good. However...even with its back turned on audience like Miles Davis, this house still gives more back to this street than any of the houses surrounding it....examples of those everyday craftsmen of earlier age, when ability to design, build & repair physical material seemed widespread, useful & valued"
danhill  cityofsound  modernism  architects  architecture  design  homes  australia  sydney  melbourne  robinboyd 
august 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Monocle: design notes
"reflect on some of the design and strategy choices I made with Monocle.com and share them here...early sketches, outlines of strategic thinking & some insights into decision-making, tool choices and design practice."
danhill  monocle  audio  branding  design  magazines  web  online  webdesign  journalism  media  publications  process  graphics  webdev  video  culture 
april 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: The street as platform
"sketch of average high street...based on here and now; none of the technology is R&D...We can’t see how the street is immersed in a twitching, pulsing cloud of data...two caricatured possible futures that can be deployed to flush out a few more issues.
danhill  ubicomp  ubiquitous  interactiondesign  streets  cities  sensors  darta  datacloud  socialmedia  socialnetworking  urbanism  urban  places  place  space  interaction  sociology  mobile  phones  design  research  future  experience 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Noisy Decent Graphics: Do all the best creative organisations end with an M?
"necessary staff would exist to support not direct...structured around partners, each runs autonomous team...no managers, strategists, account people...not a formal organisation at all - barely even a movement, just partly-shared sensibilities"
photography  photojournalism  journalism  design  architecture  magnum  pentagram  archigram  management  administration  leadership  creativity  danhill  process  organizations  lcproject  structure  schooldesign  gamechanging  collaborative  collaboration  hierarchy  psychology  strategy  team 
february 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: The Personal Well-Tempered Environment
"real-time dashboard for buildings/neighbourhoods/city focused on conveying energy flow in/out of spaces, centred around behaviour of individuals/groups within buildings...real-time & longitudinal info needed to change behaviour"
architecture  behavior  cityofsound  danhill  datavisualization  sustainability  socialnetworking  environment  green  information  design  computing  cities  energy  homes  buildings  analysis  lastfm  flickr  buglabs  electricity  postoccupancy  wattson  water  usage  ubicomp  spimes  everyware  ubiquitous  gamechanging  visualization  monitoring  efficiency  community  consumption  conservation  games  statistics  surveillance  dashboard  interaction  last.fm 
january 2008 by robertogreco
cityofsound: GTA IV
"It would be lovely to move around, and listen to, this New York, though - as I've noted before, the sense of having an imagined New York 'in a box' like this is more than enough for me."
videogames  cities  urban  games  play  design  architecture  virtual  gta  danhill  exploration  immersion  grandtheftauto 
march 2007 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Why Lost is genuinely new media
"I've been as impressed with the way that the creators of Lost have enabled interaction around the show as with the show itself. Perhaps 'enabled' could be replaced with 'coordinated' or even 'manipulated', but strategically, the call-and-response relatio
media  tv  lost  creative  culture  future  interactive  internet  television  marketing  wikipedia  art  visualization  web  connectivity  stevenjohnson  social  interaction  newmedia  transmedia  arg  cityofsound  storytelling  gamedesign  games  immersive  danhill 
march 2006 by robertogreco

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