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Posts in category 'Urban development'

22 November 2010

Invading Cyprus with user-centred design

Schedia
A group of young designers are making their mark on Nicosia’s urban scene by creatively redesigning “misused public spaces”.

“Our goal is to give solutions on how these spaces could be used,” said designer Marina Hadjilouca, one of the founders and designers of Schedia, organisers of this weekend’s Urban Invaders event.

Schedia was set up in December 2009 and focuses on user-centred designs, exploring how methods used within this area of design can improve urban regeneration, such as the transformation of the old town of Nicosia, as well as public and private places like libraries. This type of design is centred on the user, researching its characteristics and providing solutions that meet their needs, wishes and expectations. The process covers each stage of design, starting from the research involving the public to the outline of the idea and the development of the space.

Read article

20 November 2010

Two Experientia presentations in Busan, South Korea

Design Week 2010 Busan
Last week, Experientia was in Busan, South Korea, at the invitation of the Busan Design Center.

As part of its first Design Week, the Center organised two international conferences: one – the Busan International Design Congress – had “Digital Energy” as its main theme and was strongly inspired by the user experience discourse; the other one dealt more specifically with marine design (Busan hosts the world’s fifth largest port and is in the process of turning its seaside into an important lifestyle asset).

Discussions were moderated – in both cases – by Ken Nah, professor in Design Management at Hongik University‘s International Design School for Advanced Studies (IDAS), and Director-General of Seoul World Design Capital 2010.

Mark Vanderbeeken, a senior partner of Experientia and editor of its Putting People First blog, was a speaker at both conferences: a keynote speaker at the first one, and a special speaker at the other.

Both of Mark’s presentations sought to connect with the Korean context and aspirations, so you might find some of its content very Korea-specific. But they are also, we think, meaningful for a wider international audience. When viewing the presentations on SlideShare we encourage the readers to select the Speaker Notes tab next to Comments, so you can read the text that was used to accompany the slides.

Digital design for behavioral change – Engaging people in reducing energy consumption

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the human race in our era. We cannot continue in our reliance on depleting and non-renewable fossil fuels to power our world. We all know we need to change our behaviours – yet very little seems to happen. Why? Research shows that people are confused about what actions will really have the most impact on reducing energy, and do not have all the necessary information, right tools, and appropriate feedback on the impact of their actions. To be effective, campaigns and technologies to encourage behavioural change must make an impact on our physical environment, and our personal, social and cultural beliefs and norms. But do they? Smart meters, one of the tools hailed as the digital answer to energy reduction, have come under a barrage of criticism for being badly designed, counter-intuitive, and failing to offer enough encouragement, feedback and motivation for real change.

Experientia is currently part of an international team, building a low-to-no carbon emissions block in Helsinki. We are working with the people of Helsinki to design people-centred smart metres, to envisage sustainable services, and to build a realistic, effective framework for behavioural change. Sustainability requires a different lifestyle, but we believe that it is not a lifestyle that requires sacrifices for people – instead it can actually increase human satisfaction, sense of community and neighbourly collaboration and trust. We believe that changing behaviours to achieve a more sustainable future, also implies changing our world to a more enjoyable quality of life.

User experience in yachting design

The yachting market is, on the whole, still product oriented, rather than customer oriented. The focus of the way the industry presents itself centres on the product, rather than on the experience. As the yachting industry has seen its double-digit growth of the past decades diminish in the wake of the economic crisis, it now needs to look inwards, to renew and refresh its own design approach and methodology, and outward, to explore new markets, and to concentrate on how to enter them successfully. This requires a people-centred approach, which considers yachts not as mere physical products, but as facilitators of an experience.

User-experience design is built upon an understanding of and dialogue with the potential consumer, in order to create a more “user-centred” product and thereby drastically enhance the ‘total’ experience of the brand. Yachts are luxury products; their major selling point goes beyond their form or function, but also covers the use of the boat, its rarity and what it expresses about the owner. This fits well with the idea of an experience-driven product: experience is invisible, permeating and memorable. It does not contrast with the production volume. Its very uniqueness and individuality means that it can be offered to many, without reducing the perception of rarity.

Many of the yachting industry’s customers now come from emerging markets, and from a younger demographic base. These new customers often bring with them totally new paradigms, needs and desires. Creating yachts for these markets requires not just product design, graphic design, computer science and engineering skills, but also ethnography, cognitive psychology and sociology, as well as an understanding of interaction design, interface design and service design. Tools and techniques that offer insights into these consumers and how they differ from traditional yacht markets will be vital if the yacht industry is going to go beyond the self-referential designs created for the Western luxury market, and new design disciplines will allow the industry to create experiences that endure across individual, social and cultural contexts. To do so, it will have to address considerations such as the democratization of luxury, the desire for bespoke goods, two-way engagement with consumers, differentiation through service, responsible and sustainable luxury and the integration of web and other developing technologies.

Experientia wishes to express its sincere gratitude to the President and the staff of the Busan Design Center, who have been exceptional, generous and warm hosts and have succeeded in launching a meticulously well organised Design Week, to Prof. Ken Nah for the great hospitality and commitment shown during Mark’s two-day visit to Seoul, and to the staff and students of Inje University where Mark presented some of Experientia’s project and methodology.

Check also Core77 where Mark posted a broader reflection on Korean design.

Finally, the Korean audience might be interested in this short two minute Experientia presentation video with Korean language subtitles.

16 November 2010

How data use and data visualisations can improve our lives

Data life
Data use and smart human-centric data visualisations are becoming the “next big thing” in UX design. A number of posts this week delve into the matter:

Data for a better planet
Now that more people have location-aware smartphones and the Web has made data easy to share, personal data is poised to become an important tool to understand how we live, and how we all might live better.

Citytracking presents data on cities for map, visualisations
Citytracking, created by design and technology studio Stamen, presents digital data about cities that journalists and the public can easily grasp and use, and provides a series of tools to map and visualize data that lets people distribute their own conclusions.

Mobile data will be crucial to economies
In a short video interview on IdeasProject, Ushahidi co-founder Erik Hersman says once the data processing capabilities on mobile devices improve that it will be a huge growth area with huge social implications to economies all over the world.

15 October 2010

Project explores human factor in ‘smarter cities’

Smart neighbourhood
Boston University is participating in a $2 million National Science Foundation-funded Smart Neighborhood project that seeks to make a Boston neighborhood more energy efficient. But rather than just install solar panels or electricity monitors, researchers are focusing on ways to get people on board and participate in what they hope will be a “living laboratory.”

One of the ideas behind the project is that there is no lack of technology to measure energy consumption, project participants said at a recent public outreach event. Two-way smart meters, for example, can be hooked up to provide a real-time display of electricity use. But more data doesn’t necessarily lead to changes in energy-related behavior, such as cutting wasted energy or shifting to off-peak hours to reduce bills.

The BU project does intend to monitor electricity in an effort to lower its carbon footprint. But it’s coupled that with community relations, financing, and even measuring the the impact from trees on the local carbon footprint.

Read article

2 September 2010

How mobile devices could lead to more city living

Dead Man Talking
People pushing sustainability don’t tend to be the same types who love our digital-crazed iWorld. And that’s a problem because it means they don’t push one of the great advantages of dense, energy-efficient cities: urban life integrates far better with mobile devices than does its car-logged suburban cousin. Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic’s lead technology writer, explains.

Read article

8 July 2010

Towards a read/write urbanism

311 signs
Adam Greenfield, Nokia’s head of design direction for service and user-interface design, is the author of this week’s Urban Omnibus feature.

In the piece, he uses software design as a base to talk about the ways citizens call out trouble spots in the urban landscape and how we might redesign the performance of that landscape itself.

Read article

7 July 2010

Habitar – Bending the urban frame

Habitar
Today I received the catalogue of the Habitar exhibition, organised by LABoral Art and Industrial Creation Centre, an exhibition centre for art, science, technology and advanced visual industries in Asturias, Spain, and curated by José Luis de Vicente with Fabien Girardin as conceptual advisor.

“Utopian and radical architects in the 1960s predicted that cities in the future would not only be made of brick and mortar, but also defined by bits and flows of information. The urban dweller would become a nomad who inhabits a space in constant flux, mutating in real time. Their vision has taken on new meaning in an age when information networks rule over many of the city’s functions, and define our experiences as much as the physical infrastructures, while mobile technologies transform our sense of time and of space.

This new urban landscape is no longer predicated solely on architecture and urbanism. These disciplines now embrace emerging methodologies that bend the physical with new measures, representations and maps of urban dynamics such as traffic or mobile phone flows. Representations of usage patterns and mapping the life of the city amplify our collective awareness of the urban environment as a living organism. These soft and invisible architectures fashion sentient and reactive environments.

Habitar is a walk through new emerging scenarios in the city. It is a catalogue of ideas and images from artists, design and architecture studios, and hybrid research centres. Together they come up with a series of potential tools, solutions and languages to negotiate everyday life in the new urban situation.”

The exhibition shows projects by Timo Arnall, Julian Bleecker, Ángel Borrego – Office for Strategic Spaces, Nerea Calvillo, Citilab-Cornellà, Pedro Miguel Cruz, Dan Hill, IaaC – Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña, kawamura-ganjavian + Maki Portilla Kawamura + Tanadori Yamaguchi, Aaron Koblin, Philippe Rahm architectes, Marina Rocarols, Enrique Soriano, Pep Tornabell, Theodore Molloy, Semiconductor, SENSEable City Lab, and Mark Shepard.

The catalogue contains essays written by Benjamin Weil, José Louis de Vicente and Fabien Girardin, Molly Wright Steenson, Bryan Boyer, Usman Haque, Anne Galloway, Nicolas Nova, and José Pérez de Lama.

Download catalogue

1 July 2010

The cities we need

The Cities We Need
The Grattan Institute, an Australian independent public policy think-tank, has published a new report, entitled “The Cities We Need“, that aims to set an agenda for thinking about the future of Australia’s cities. It asks how cities meet the individual needs of their residents, both material and psychological, and identifies emerging challenges to meeting these needs.

Abstract

The most important characteristic of a city is whether it meets the needs of its residents, both material and psychological. Despite the fact that these needs are central to our lives, they are often at the periphery of conversations about the future of Australian cities. With these criteria in mind, it is clear that while our cities operate well, there is much room for improvement.

We do not propose a set of solutions or prescriptions. Instead we argue that we need to realise that cities are complex systems, and lay out ten questions about our urban future that we must get serious about. As we manage growth and change in Australian cities, how bold are we prepared to be to get the cities we really need?

13 June 2010

William J. Mitchell (MIT) passed away

William J. Mitchell
BoingBoing reports that Professor William J. Mitchell, pioneer of urban computing, has passed away.

Professor William J. Mitchell, director of MIT’s Design Laboratory and pioneering Smart Cities research group, died yesterday after a battle with cancer. Professor Mitchell was a brilliant and big thinker who wrote a series of seminal books, including Me++, City of Bits, and e-topia, about the intersection of humanity, networked intelligence, and the built environment. “Bill was a designer’s designer and visionary about the impact of new media on human experience,” says professor Ken Goldberg, director of UC Berkeley’s Center for New Media, to which Mitchell was an advisor. “He was incredibly prolific and will leave a lasting impact on generations of designers and thinkers.”

Read MIT News obituary

8 June 2010

Design Everything, a futures conference

FutureEverything
I finally had a chance to listen to the two excellent keynotes of Design Everything, the futures conference that took place last month in Manchester, UK.

Keynote: Ben Cerveny
Ben Cerveny‘s keynote explored how, as newly-emerging urban-scale technology infrastructures are implemented, citizens will begin to gain the ability to affect their environment in new ways, using city services the way they would use a digital application in an online environment. Through collaborative interaction with such tools, users of public spaces can configure them for specific temporary functions and even begin to ‘perform’ space together.”

Keynote: Keri Facer
In her keynote, Keri Facer explored the scenarios emerging from the Beyond Current Horizons programme and ask how, as a society, we can learn together as communities to respond to the profound environmental, demographic and technological opportunities challenges we face over the coming two decades.

8 June 2010

A sense of place, a world of Augmented Reality

Sicily
Architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer has published a two-part essay that explores how technology — especially the real-time, mediating imageries of augmented reality — influences how we perceive and inhabit place.

“We’re in the first stage of a transformation of our sense of place,” he writes, “as momentous as that which occurred a couple of centuries ago, when products from smoke-stacked factories forged modern society.” Today, he argues, the “convergence of mobile phone, camera, wireless Internet and satellite communication — the key ingredients of the digital handheld — accelerates the reconstitution of place from real, occupied space to a collage of here and there, past and present.”

Mitchell Schwarzer is Professor of Visual Studies at California College of the Arts and a historian of architecture, landscape and urbanism.

Read article: Part 1 | Part 2

24 April 2010

Toward a read/write urbanism

Frameworks
What might we gain, asks Adam Greenfield, if we begin to conceive of cities, for some limited purposes anyway, as software under active development?

What if we imagined that the citizen-responsiveness system we’ve designed lives in a dense mesh of active, communicating public objects? Then the framework we’ve already deployed becomes something very different. To use another metaphor from the world of information technology, it begins to look a whole lot like an operating system for cities.

Provided that, we can treat the things we encounter in urban environments as system resources, rather than a mute collection of disarticulated buildings, vehicles, sewers and sidewalks. One prospect that seems fairly straightforward is letting these resources report on their own status. Information about failures would propagate not merely to other objects on the network but reach you and me as well, in terms we can relate to, via the provisions we’ve made for issue-tracking.

And because our own human senses are still so much better at spotting emergent situations than their machinic counterparts, and will probably be for quite some time yet to come, there’s no reason to leave this all up to automation.

Read article

6 April 2010

€60m low carbon building project in Helsinki

Low2No launch
Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund and development partners, SRV and VVO today announce a €60m investment for a low carbon housing and commercial building complex in Helsinki.

Work on the development will begin immediately, with completion scheduled for the end of 2012. Through the project, Sitra aims to generate research and evidence that will inform the policy, innovation and practices that will drive future low – and no – carbon development in the built environment.

The announcement follows Sitra’s Low2No competition that challenged five teams shortlisted from an initial 75 to design a building complex for Jätkäsaari, a reclaimed goods harbour to the west of central Helsinki.

The competition was won in September 2009 by an international team led by global design, engineering and planning firm, Arup, providing engineering and sustainability services. The team also includes Berlin-based Sauerbruch Hutton as lead architects and consumer behaviour-change strategists Experientia from Italy.

The building complex covers 22,000 square metres and will provide new residences, office and retail space. Emissions will be reduced through building design and performance, mobility systems and food production. The competition-winning design for the development centred on four objectives:

  • Building energy efficiency – better performing buildings will be designed, with an appropriate mix of end-uses and through the intelligent planning of the spaces between them. Energy demand management tools and techniques such as smart meters and behavioural change prompts will encourage residents to contribute reduce energy consumption.
     
  • Use of sustainable materials and methods – sustainably-sourced timber and materials which have a lower impact on the environment (in terms of toxicity and embodied carbon) will be used.
     
  • Encouraging the community to meet sustainability goals – by increasing their awareness and understanding of the impact of their energy and transport usage, food and consumer goods consumption.
     
  • Develop replicable and scalable solutions that can be adopted more broadly in transforming the built environment to low – and eventually – no carbon emissions. These objectives will be met by coupling solutions with an increased shift towards renewable energy production and new sustainable funding mechanisms.

“Finland has committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. With this project Sitra encourages cities and the real estate and building industry to tackle these ambitious goals in their projects. Sustainability is more than just energy efficiency. We seek new solutions for improving energy efficiency, new content for defining and understanding sustainability in building, as well as social innovations,” says Jukka Noponen, Executive Director of Sitra’s Energy Programme.

”Low2No City Block in Jätkäsaari is an important step towards sustainable development. The new marine districts, reclaimed harbour areas offer possibilities for a wide introduction of new solutions, says Deputy Mayor Hannu Penttilä who is responsible for urban planning at the City of Helsinki.

”SRV aims at differentiating as a forerunner in sustainable construction. Low2No is an excellent example of our long-term commitment and efforts. The project team contains top experts both internationally and from Finland. This is well in line with our SRV Approach, which allows us to always seek the best partners for each project, comments Timo Nieminen, Senior Executive Vice President and Deputy CEO of SRV Group.

“VVO Group has been persistent in pursuing the goals set for energy saving in existing building stock and new buildings. This development project in Jätkäsaari builds straightforward on our consistent work on this and will help in keeping VVO ahead in the forefront of this transition. The site location is excellent, offering us an opportunity to build cost-efficient rental apartments, subsidised by the state, in the vicinity of the city centre – and near the sea”, states Esa Kankainen, Project Development Manager at VVO.

“Defining implementable and replicable sustainable solutions is one of the great challenges of our times. We are thrilled that the transitional strategy defined by the Low2No vision has found an implementation framework to carry it into the world. Guided by a strong sense of a common mission the design and development team’s partnership is a real accomplishment. It is now our obligation to deliver on the promise we have captured, and this opportunity excites and motivates all of us to transform the notion of “business as usual” “, comments Marco Steinberg, Director of Strategic Design at Sitra.

“In 1990, Finland became the first country in the world to establish a carbon tax. This ambitious project provides us with a unique opportunity to show how urban design can influence inhabitants to live more sustainably, in balance with the environment. Our design approach will allow the community to become carbon negative within 10 years, providing decision makers, developers and planners across the world with an example of how future environmental challenges can be met”, comments Alejandro Gutierrez, consortium manager at Arup.

“Sustainable developments need a holistic approach within which architecture will play a leading part. As sustainable buildings are dependent upon the cooperation of their users to develop their full potential, they will need to seduce their inhabitants into a proactive role through the pleasure of space, light and material that they offer”, says Matthias Sauerbruch at Sauerbruch Hutton.

“People, their contexts, social networks, habits and beliefs are crucial tools for creating sustainable change in behaviour. We will therefore offer people ways to control their consumption and see the affects of their actions on the environment”, comments Jan-Christoph Zoels, project lead at Experientia.

 

MORE INFORMATION

For more information, please contact Experientia at +39 011 812 9687 or via email at info at experientia dot com.

 

NOTE TO EDITORS

Arup
Arup is the creative force behind many of the world’s prominent building, infrastructure and industrial projects. We offer a broad range of professional services that combine to make a positive difference to our clients and the communities in which we work.
We are truly global. From 90 offices in 35 countries our planners, designers, engineers and consultants deliver work across the world with flair and enthusiasm.
Founded in 1946 with an enduring set of values, our unique trust ownership fosters a distinctive culture, an intellectual independence and encourages truly collaborative working. This is reflected in everything we do, allowing us to contribute meaningful ideas, help shape agendas, and deliver results that frequently surpass the expectations of our clients.
We passionately strive to find a better way, to imagine and shape ideas and to deliver better solutions for our clients.
www.arup.com

Experientia
Experientia is an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first. To design valuable user experiences, companies have to understand how users really live their lives, now and in the future, and to design new products and services that address these insights. Experientia’s approach is based on a thorough integration of a deep user and context understanding into its design and prototyping activities.
Experientia’s client roster features Italian and international clients, such as Alcatel-Lucent, Condé Nast, CVS Pharmacy, Ferrero, Fidelity International, Intesa SanPaolo bank, Kodak, Max Mara, Microsoft, Nokia, Research in Motion, Samsung, Swisscom, Tre Spade and Vodafone, as well as public institutions such as the Region of Piedmont, Italy and the Province of Limburg, Belgium.
www.experientia.com

Sauerbruch Hutton
Sauerbruch Hutton is a Berlin-based architectural practice with projects throughout Europe. The 80-strong practice was founded by Louisa Hutton and Matthias Sauerbruch in 1989. Their ability to combine architecture, urbanism and design with a culturally informed outlook on sustainability has been internationally recognised. Last year, Sauerbruch Hutton completed the Brandhorst Museum in Munich – a building that is exemplary of the architects’ insight into materiality, colour, innovative detailing and a contemporary approach to design that is both distinctive and timeless.
www.sauerbruchhutton.de

Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund
Competitiveness and well-being today require broad and far-reaching changes. Sitra gathers information about the future and enables necessary reforms together with a wide range of actors. The programmes and strategy processes of Sitra are designed to meet the challenges Finland is facing. Sitra is an independent public foundation, whose mission is to build successful Finland for tomorrow.
www.sitra.fi/en

SRV Group
SRV is an innovative construction company that provides end-to-end solutions and assumes customer-focused responsibility for the development, construction and commercialisation of projects. SRV operates in Finland in Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Turku, Tampere, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lappeenranta, and Joensuu. SRV also operates in Russia and in the Baltic countries.
www.srv.fi/home

VVO
VVO is a publicly-listed company providing housing services. From VVO, you can rent an apartment, acquire right-of-occupancy or part-ownership housing or buy a dwelling outright. VVO develops, markets and manages its own dwellings. VVO has about 39,000 rental dwellings in about 50 different municipalities.
www.vvo.fi/en

29 March 2010

The urban age

Lagos
How cities became our greatest design challenge yet.

Justin McGuirk, the editor of icon, the UK’s leading architecture & design magazine, argues in The Guardian that, amid unprecedented levels of urbanisation, designers must be trusted to fashion cities that not only accommodate but also provide a pleasant environment.

“Now that city-making has become a priority, politicians need to have faith in designers. Because if there’s one lesson to be learned from the last quarter of a century, it’s that we need to shift our focus away from liberty and the free market, and move towards equality.”

Read article

16 March 2010

MicroPublicPlaces

MicroPublicPlaces
Situated Technologies Pamphlet 6:
MicroPublicPlaces
Spring 2010
Marc Böhlen and Hans Frei

“In response to two strong global vectors: the rise of pervasive information technologies and the privatization of the public sphere, Marc Böhlen and Hans Frei propose hybrid architectural programs called Micro Public Places (MMPs). MPPs combine insights from ambient intelligence, human computing, architecture, social engineering and urbanism to initiate ways to re- animate public life in contemporary societies. They offer access to things that are or should be available to all: air, water, medicine, books, etc. and combine machine learning procedures with subjective human intuition to make the public realm a contested space again.”

The Situated Technologies Pamphlets series, published by the Architectural League, explores the implications of ubiquitous computing for architecture and urbanism. How are our experience of the city and the choices we make in it affected by mobile communications, pervasive media, ambient informatics and other “situated” technologies? How will the ability to design increasingly responsive environments alter the way architects conceive of space? What do architects need to know about urban computing and what do technologists need to know about cities?

14 March 2010

Urban resilience

Resilience
Merging complex systems science and ecology, resilience scientists have broken new ground on understanding—and preserving—natural ecosystems. Now, as more and more people move into urban hubs, they are bringing this novel science to the city.

“Resilience theory, first introduced by Canadian ecologist C.S. “Buzz” Holling in 1973, begins with two radical premises. The first is that humans and nature are strongly coupled and co-evolving, and should therefore be conceived of as one “social-ecological” system. The second is that the long-held assumption that systems respond to change in a linear, predictable fashion is simply wrong. According to resilience thinking, systems are in constant flux; they are highly unpredictable and self-organizing, with feedbacks across time and space. In the jargon of theorists, they are complex adaptive systems, exhibiting the hallmarks of complexity.”

A key feature of complex adaptive systems is that they can settle into a number of different equilibria. [...] Historically, we’ve tended to view the transition between such states as gradual. But there is increasing evidence that systems often don’t respond to change that way. [...]

Resilience science focuses on these sorts of tipping points. [...] How much shock can a system absorb before it transforms into something fundamentally different? That, in a nutshell, is the essence of resilience.”

I really enjoyed the discussion on the importance of redundancy and social equity in resilient systems:

“Society strives for efficiency by trying to eliminate apparent redundancies, but things that seemed redundant in a stable climate turn out to be valuable when conditions change. [...]

When it comes to human populations, ecologists are hesitant to stretch metaphors too far—a biodiverse ecosystem is not the same as a diverse population. [But] it’s important that you have institutions and functions in society that also overlap. If one member of the group is lost, there will be another that can maintain the function, so the function of the system as a whole is maintained. [...]

Social equity and access to resources will also emerge as hugely important components of resilience. Though human behavior is new territory for resilience experts, numerous social scientists have documented the erosion of civic engagement, and even violence, in areas marked by high levels of social stratification.”

Read full story

More information:
- Stockholm Resilience Centre
- The Urban Network
- URBIS
- Resilience 2011

10 March 2010

Are we about to witness a digital service revolution?

City
Introducing new digital services in cities promises the change the way citzens live in cities around the world.

“Only a few years ago, digital services were about bandwidth, wireless protocols, and emerging standards for mobile television. To the keen observer, however, there has recently been a significant shift from antennas to services that might completely change the way we as citizens live, work and interact with technology around us. [...]

From the integrated digital services in the transportation system of Paris, to the integration of mobile and online public services of the City of Westminster, the way citizens interact with the city in which they live is changing rapidly.

Around the world, groundbreaking services are already being piloted to allow the visually impared to move seemlessly around cities, to solve congenstion problems once and for all through intelligent and personalised car pooling, and implement sensor-networks in cities to create a smart city that only cleans the streets, turn on the street lights, and empties the harbage bins when there is a need.”

Read full story

23 February 2010

Mass Localism

Mass Localism
A new report by NESTA, the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, shows “how we can work better with communities to unlock ingenious solutions to complex social challenges.

Abstract

Policymakers increasingly recognise that many of the solutions to major social challenges – from tackling climate change to improving public health – need to be much more local. Local solutions are frequently very effective, as they reflect the needs of specific communities and engage citizens in taking action. And they are often cost-effective, since they provide a conduit for the resources of citizens, charities or social enterprises to complement those of the state. Given the growing pressure on government finances, these are important benefits.

But localism presents a dilemma. Government has traditionally found it difficult to support genuine local solutions while achieving national impact and scale.

This report offers a solution: an approach by which central and local government can encourage widespread, high quality local responses to big challenges. The approach draws on the lessons of NESTA’s Big Green Challenge – a successful programme to support communities to reduce carbon emissions.

Download report

1 February 2010

The Internet of things: Networked objects and smart devices

Networked objects
Constantine Valhouli, principal of the Massachusetts based Hammersmith Group, which consults to developers on the marketing and branding of luxury properties, and to city leaders on reviving historical downtowns, just published an overview of the potential for connected devices entitled “The Internet of things: Networked objects and smart devices.”

It quotes Rob Faludi, Julian Bleecker, Bruce Sterling, Adam Greenfield and covers devices from the WineM to Botanicalls to the Ambient Orb along with the original online coffee pot.

A variety of other research papers by the same author can be found on this site.

Download report

(via Mike Kuniavsky)

16 January 2010

Good: the Slow Issue

The Slow Issue
Good, the collaborative magazine, has published its “Slow Issue” with perspectives on a smarter, better and slower future:

“At its simplest, slow stands for a focus on quality, authenticity, and longevity rather than a mindless adherence to the faster and cheaper ethos.

This issue is about planning not only for tomorrow, but for the next year, and the next generation. Because if progress isn’t permanent, can it even be called progress at all?”

Here are the longer articles:

Hurry up and wait
We asked some of the world’s most prominent futurists — Julian Bleecker (Nokia/Near Future Laboratory), Esther Dyson, Jamais Cascio (Worldchanging), Bruce Sterling, John Maeda (RISD), and Alexander Rose (Long Now Foundation) — to explain why slowness might be as important to the future as speed.

Slow burn
Money—not the paper stuff in your wallet, but the bits of data that whip around the world in billions of instantaneous transactions each day—moves too fast.

Built to last
Designer/inventor Saul Griffith argues that we need to stop buying things and then throwing them away so quickly. In short, we need more “heirloom design.”

Mass reduction
Welcome to slowLab, a collective of designers applying a cradle-to-cradle philosophy to consumer goods.

Turning the tables
Tracing the slow-food movement back to its feisty Italian roots.

Pushing the limits
In Oregon, radical antisprawl laws aim to save the state’s bucolic paradises. But with land-hungry suburbs on the prowl, can these goats be saved?