GrowBot Documentation & Analysis

3 ديسمبر



  • series of public interactive workshops
  • throwing “technologists” and “growers” together to learn from each other and produce something
  • workshops introduce general function of robotic technology in sensors to public, then ask about problems in maintaining and managing local gardens and ideas on how to solve them with self-guiding robots
  • Basically, open, discussion-based forums are held to come up with ideas to integrate robotic solutions into small, local, organic agricultural practices. These ideas are documented and shared among more of the public to generate even more ideas that will eventually bring these solutions into practice.


  • farming
  • Critical Design
  • a series of public and participatory workshops that bring together diverse constituencies to critically think about, discuss and debate, and re-make the near-term future


  • Members of the Public Design Workshop
    • Carl DiSalvo – Digital Media Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech; the “head honcho”
    • Thomas Barnwell – Digital Media graduate from Georgia Tech
    • Laura Fries (“Lady Rogue”) – cook, organizer of events, underground “social butterfly,” blogger; Her background remains a mystery.
    • Thomas Lodato – PhD student in Digital Media at Georgia Tech
    • Beth Schechter – Masters student in Digital Media at Georgia Tech; supporter of “do-goodery”
  • farmers


  • farming
  • a farm
  • a robot factory
  • a man using a computer
  • a booth at a convention


GrowBot incorporates several negotiations which have recently begun to move towards the forefront of discussions of culture and design. The interaction between digital media and the physical world is emerging as an extremely popular subject for speculation; catastrophic intersections between virtual systems and everyday life are emerging as a common topic in popular culture. GrowBot also addresses interaction across human boundaries, with ‘technologists’ leaving the ivory tower for a rare exchange of ideas with agricultural workers.

ديسمبر 3rd, 2010 by

Inner-City Arts

Documentation Classroom


  • Founded in 1993 by public school administrators Bob Bates and Irwin Jaeger
  • Formed partly in response to California’s Proposition 13, which was added to the state constitution in 1978.  It resulted in several tax caps that virtually eliminated arts education from many California public schools.


  • ICA occupied a small, temporary space for several years. This is similar to many other not-for-profits, but it wasn’t conducive to the learning environment ICA was trying to be.
  • Architect Michael Maltzan collaborated with the ICA team to repurpose an abandoned garage in Los Angeles’s Skid Row.  The finished product is described on the website for MoMA’s “Small Scale, Big Change” page, as “employ[ing] a restrained and unified architectural language of simple, abstracted geometries with accents of bright orange, in which student creativity takes center stage. Highly adaptable interior and exterior spaces are intimate yet airy arenas for kids; tArchitecture of campushe main courtyard is a comfortable environment in which to gather, play, and explore, a haven in a neighborhood whose outdoor space is often unsafe.
  • ICA’s building was designed with community in mind; low, bright white stucco walls communicate the openness of the organization to the community and its commitment to upkeep, even on Skid Row.

What do they do?

  • As stated on their website, ICA’s mission statement is: “Inner-City Arts provides elementary, middle and high school students, many living in Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods, with the tools and skills they need to succeed academically and personally.”
  • ICA works in partnership with many Los Angeles area schools to provide school age children with the only art education they will have during the school day. ICA allows students who are most at risk for academic failure (those with Limited English Proficiency, living in high-poverty areas) to experience academic and personal growth.  ICA’s after school program preoccupies students who might otherwise get involved with gangs or other violent activities.

AnalysisStudents on campus

Information that we would need to gather to understand the negotiations

  • We would have to research the architect who designed the campus as well as the neighborhood that the institution is located in.
  • The area is located in the inner city. Inner cities are usually considered rough parts of town, so it would be necessary to gain information on inner cities, such as the education systems in inner cities, drop out rates, as well as the positive effects of inner city programs like this one.
  • We could also look at how the art benefits the children, not only in academics, but also in the fact that the kids will stay away from bad activities such as gangs and drugs.


نوفمبر 24th, 2010 by

SitBPE | Hannah Williams, Deborah Hudson, Sean Sims, Trey McMillon

The Idea: The New York Street Advertising Takeover (NYSAT) was a project operated by the Public Ad Campaign that set out to better the landscape in which New Yorkers work and live.  The founders and participants of the project considered advertisements in public spaces to be derogatory and a misuse of the landscape.

Many of the billboards and advertisements targeted during NYSAT were unregistered with the city yet received no prosecution. The Public Ad Campaign felt that this failure on the part of the city to take action against the mistreatment of the public’s environment lead to the public’s desensitization to the constant barrage of ads.

NYSAT volunteers whitewashed a number of illegal public ads in the city.  Many of the 120 street level billboards that were removed and replaced with public art were owned and operated by a company known as NPA City Outdoor.

The Goal:

Members of the project were primarily interested in bringing the public spaces in New York City back to the citizens.  Jordan Seiler, one of the leaders of the project from the Public Ad Campaign, has been quoted as saying that the reason for conducting the project was, ” to better the city’s psychological health by improving the environment that those who live in the city or are visiting interact with.”

NYSAT sought to expose the problems that resulted from the NPA’s (and other advertisers’) use of public space as a placard for consumerism. The PAC claims that the NPA’s activities not only physically change the environment created for the public but also take a psychological toll on those who live in the spaces altered by the advertising industry.

The NYSAT’s goal was not solely to condemn the NPA, but also to make known to citizens their ability to contribute to and improve the environment in which we live. The spaces that were returned to their original condition by the NYSAT became, “empty spaces on which the public could project their own thoughts and desires.”

The Project:

The event has been held twice thus far. The first event took place on April 25, 2009, and the second on October 25, 2009.  The April version of the project saw 27 volunteers removing illegal ads across the city, with 50 artists returning to the locations to bring the space back to the people.  In October, the project had grown to nearly 100 volunteers.

Awareness of the project was left to be spread by word of mouth for months before the first event. Both events were carefully organized; Volunteers were divided into teams and assigned specific areas and times to cover.  Activities of the NYSAT were conducted in brought daylight in order to remove any suspicion of the intentions of the project and to also make the public aware of the event. All in all, the volunteers of NYSAT renovated over 200 spaces previously used by the NPA as billboards for advertising. These spaces were not only stripped of the advertisements but also turned into places on which artists were able to express their sentiments and better the environment in which New Yorkers reside.

Between the two events, roughly 10 members of the project were arrested on various charges and a large number of the billboards were reclaimed by NPA City Outdoor within the hour of them being wiped clean. However, the efforts of the NYSAT were intensely documented by photographers to continue the aims of the NYSAT beyond the events held.

Media Coverage of Event

The internet quickly took notice of Seiler’s project, as many blogs posted about the group and put up hundreds of pictures of the newly painted street art.  Soon a few major newspapers caught on, including the New York Times and the Toronto Star.  However, few people outside of New York are aware of the advertising takeover due to a lack of major news coverage.  On an interesting note, the Toronto government took notice of NYSAT’s visit to Canada, and rolled out whitewash teams of their own to help clean up the city.

THE TORONTO STAR–guerilla-action-aims-to-turn-advertising-space-into-public-space?bn=1







Private Sector vs. Public Sector :

The negotiation of the protection of the private sector over the public one is shown through the conflict of the interest of the companies to protect their investment by making the ideas of what they profit from seen everyday by the public and the Public Ad Campaign’s interest in protecting the rights of the citizens to not be illegally bombarded with the ideas of major companies while in a space that is meant to be for their own expression.

Marketing vs.  Expression :

This project addresses a negotiation between Marketing and Expression. While advertisements can be seen as a form of art, their goals are to convince and impose on the consumer not to serve as an expression of values or a means by which to ask a question. Marketing is not a malicious action in itself. However, when it begins to filter through our everyday activities, that is when it becomes an encroachment on our lifestyles and on the way we view ourselves. The founders  NYSAT clearly believed that the NPA’s use of public space as a place for advertisement dimmed down the importance of public expression in the creation of art (versus expression by the things we purchase and consume).

نوفمبر 24th, 2010 by

NoPark; Assignment 1

24 نوفمبر


EHC logo

The NO PARK green space is a project actualized by the Environmental Health Clinic in New York City.  Rather than addressing health issues like a medical clinic, they work to solve environmental issues brought forth by “impatients.” Patients at this clinic are referred to as impatients because they are too impatient to wait for government action to improve environmental health.  Impatients set up an appointment with the EHC to discuss environmental issues in their area.  Their so-called prescription is data detailing what they can personally do to improve environmental health, and how they can get involved with community action as well.  As well as diagnosing the issues of impatients, the EHC conducts their own experiments and projects.

Natalie Jeremijenko, a renowned contemporary artist and engineer with a background in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience, and precision engineering, currently heads this organization.  She is known for radical ideas and projects involving the environment and social change.  As well as heading the EHC, she is an assistant professor at NYU in the Visual Arts department.  TechTacular learned of the NoPark project through listening to Jeremijenko’s speech, “The Art of the Eco-mind Shift.”

NoPark is a solution to an environmental health problem that is most prevalent in cities.  This project tackles the need for more green space in big cities and the issue of excess pollutants. This project places micro engineered green spaces adjacent to fire hydrants in the no parking zones.  The green space mainly consists of low growth mosses and grasses.  The NoPark zones not only provide more green space but also serve to prevent oily storm water from running into the rivers, stabilize the soil, and be a durable and low maintenance surface cover.  NoPark areas also help clear out road pollutants and work to decrease carbon dioxide levels by sequestering air pollutants.  While these spaces continue to function as emergency vehicle parking, they will now have a greater purpose on the many non-emergency days.


Taxonomic categories

Activist Design, Urban Space Design, Environmental Corrective Design, Micro-Landscape Design, Fire-Hydrant Garden Design

Activist design: Through the Environmental Health Clinic, environmentally conscious people within a community are able to go in and talk to workers of the clinic who can help them figure out ways to remedy their concerns.

Urban Space Design: The designers of this project have used the urban setting to simultaneously address the issues of insufficient green space and excess pollutants.

Environmental Corrective Design: The NoPark project was designed to provide a green solution for the issue of chemicals and toxins in the street flowing into rivers and estuaries.

Micro-Landscape Design: The aspect of increased green space with NoPark involves placing plant life in an area that is generally unused, like no parking zones. Since these zones are small, the idea of miniature landscaping comes into play.

Fire-Hydrant Garden Design: These gardens are planted in no parking zones, which are normally in front of fire hydrants. However, in the case of an emergency, fire trucks or emergency vehicles can park over the gardens and they will still regrow.


Negotiations include: who maintains these green spaces and how they are maintained; how pedestrians and commuters treat these spaces; how the project is financed and who pays what; and where will these spaces exist and for how long

Maintaining the space vs. who should maintain it: These projects are completely voluntary so whoever plans out the projects must have a team that regularly maintains the space. If not, the plants could get out of control, and it would end up looking like a mess of weeds.

Recognizing aesthetic value of a space vs. viewing it as a waste of space: this ties into the maintenance of the project because if the space looks aesthetically pleasing then passersby may recognize that it’s there to serve a purpose or simply respect it because it looks presentable.

Cost vs. Gain: these projects are voluntary, so in order to pay for them the project coordinators have to use funds from their own pocket. This poses a challenge because although the intent is for the benefit of the community, some people are reluctant when it comes to using their money to help a local cause. This is especially the case when it has the potential to fail because it isn’t a fully established organization but a team of people planting gardens in urban areas. There is also the possibility of having to replant then over and over due to destruction from either emergency vehicles or troublemakers.

Location vs. Durability: these gardens have to be strategically placed since they are funded through the assets of everyday people, and there are several no parking zones around the city. They need to be placed in areas where they will provide the most benefit and last the longest.

نوفمبر 24th, 2010 by

Urban Slums

24 نوفمبر

Urban slums are areas of self-developed residences at fringe areas of major urban cities. This means that basic infrastructure, such electricity or sewage, is improvised, stolen, or simply not present in these areas. Put eloquently by anthropologist Oscar Lewis, “the culture of poverty is both an adaptation and a reaction of the poor to their marginal position in a class-stratified, highly individualistic, capitalistic society.”

Despite their many obvious problems and often bottomless-pit nature, the thing that urban slums do right is provide housing to poor, itinerant people near the areas they may work or desire to work. Another result of this limited mobility is that individual slums themselves form distinct cultures of their own. This immediacy also provides faster opportunities for capital gain when successful, as well as quick proving grounds to weed out bad ideas for gain.

This lack of rigidity or plan allows them to negotiate the gaps between supply and demand, concept and production, production and availability, and even adaptation and replacement seemingly instantaneously. Additionally, the generalized understanding of slum nature also allows for the boundaries of privacy, permanence, definitiveness, and ownership to be blurred as slum populations fluctuate, interact, and adapt to challenges and opportunities that arise within their hectic frame of existence. Since immediacy is so embedded in the nature of these settlements, attempts to revitalize them into the city proper often fail because the rigid process of traditional development conflicts in a way that either stifles the thriving culture of the slum or results in the slum developing without regard to the effort. Those efforts that are most successful are those that offer minimal obstruction to the existing fabric of the slums and allow the slums to continue to develop accumulatively and organically using the intervention as a springboard for progress.

While they may be unsanitary, limited resources combined with the density of these settlements creates surprisingly eco-friendly dwelling sites. While this is obviously not a consciously achieved result, the fact that these spaces thrive on so little means a lot could be learned and applied from them. However, many of the conditions that allow this are probably cultural so it wouldn’t be all that easy.


Poverty vs. Capitalism: The main negotiation achieved by urban slums is that of providing poor, marginalized people with residences in urban areas. Because of their concentrated wealth, large cities often exclude or deter people of lower (let alone the lowest) socioeconomic status from living within them. Real estate works by attempting to make properties more desirable than others, and in urban areas that usually means the addition of both space and costly amenities beyond the economic reach of most itinerant citizen in developing countries. By using undesired or fringe areas to build bare-bones structures for themselves, inhabitants of urban slums find a solution to the disparity between supply and demand for affordable housing in urban areas. This results in both increased and decreased values of areas near slums: increase because of the economic opportunities awarded by immediate access to a large number of people in a concentrated area, but decreased because of the perception of slum areas as underdeveloped and dangerous.

Development Efficiency (planned vs. accumulative): Urban slums also bring up negotiations between the efficiency of itinerant spaces and planned spaces. Western society usually assumes that planning is the direct means to maximum efficiency and rewards, but urban slums challenge this perception by coping with problems of space and flexibility more accurately and expediently than any planned settlement does. Another problem with planning is that the people who are educated in planning more than likely come from privileged backgrounds so their ideas of efficient and successful planning often embedded with some preconception of open space as a requirement for comfort. While space is undeniably nice, sometimes supplying space does not coincide with the larger needs of the public. This dichotomy of intent is exemplified in this map comparing space occupancy of golf courses vs. informal settlements in Nairobi. Nairobi slum population: 200,000 to 1,000,000+. Nairobi golf course population: squirrels… and maybe some itinerant caddies.

“Fun” and expanded links for slums:

Google Maps:
Rocinha / Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro
Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong
Kibera, Nairobi
Dharavi, Mumbai

Mansheiet Naser, Cairo, Egypt

Favela Chic
Life in Rocinha
Epic Kowloon Walled City Thread
UN-HABITAT (tons of info)
How Slums Can Save The Planet
Oscar Lewis
The Slum Economy Revisited
Nairobi Land Use: Slums vs. Golf Courses
Mansheiet Nasser

نوفمبر 24th, 2010 by

Bethania Branch of SABHA

24 نوفمبر


The Bethania branch of SABHA began in December of 2004 as a response to the destruction caused by the Asian tsunami. The Atlanta International School (known commonly as AIS), a private school located in Buckhead, joined forces with the Kodaikanal International School in southern India, using the school’s local knowledge in order to send aid to those who were in most need. It was through the Kodaikanal International School that AIS came into contact with the Bethania Orphanage, formally known as the Bethania Association. Located in the small town of Kannivadi, Tamil Nadu, the orphanage houses both orphans and needy children.


In the summer of 2005, Mrs. Shanta Kalyanasundaram, the founder of parent organization SABHA and a teacher at AIS, formally adopted the orphanage and created a student run CAS (Community, Action, Service being the three pillars in the International Baccalaureate’s extracurricular requirements) group in order to raise money to support it. The Bethania group is, therefore, run almost completely by the students, including both high school students as well as middle school ones. Each year these students plan and run the annual Bethania Benefit, an event that acts as the group’s primary fundraiser. As this is such a large event, involving not only a dinner but entertainment, which usually manifests itself as a varied assortment of performances by the students, as well, it takes most of the year to plan. Every week, the group meets and discusses the details of this fundraiser, which has traditionally been an immense success, raising money not only through the tickets purchased by the attendees, but also through the items bought in the live auction that takes place throughout the evening.


The fact that Bethania relies so heavily on the students for its success is only one part of what makes it such a unique organization. Using the concept of sustainable development as its basis, the Bethania branch strives to provide aid to the orphanage through less traditional means. Instead of simply sending money, the organization chooses to provide the orphanage with the tools it needs to cultivate its own continued success. In the past, Bethania has raised money for livestock, seeds, a proper water supply system, and education for the children. These projects along with many others have served to improve the lives of the children drastically with the final item being the most important. The Bethania branch believes that, if given the proper education, a child will be able to better their lives and then, in turn, better the lives of others living at the orphanage. This use of a cyclical model of benefit has proven to be extremely successful so far, much more so than the traditional one-way flow model that is seen so often in foreign aid models.

For more info see:


The concept of sustainable development and sustainable design focuses solely on creating something that is either renewable or capable of supporting itself without additional input. This has been applied to the idea of foreign aid with varying success. The plan created by the Bethania branch of SABHA falls under sustainable development and design as it aims to create an environment in which the receivers of aid, in this case being the orphanage, can use skills and infrastructure they have been provided with to support themselves without any additional interference from the organization. This forces the orphanage to sustain itself and, in turn, produce a renewable resource in the form of its educated children, who can then go on to join the workforce as skilled laborers.

The two negotiations we find the most interesting are: the relationship that exists between the orphanage and the Bethania organization in terms of “donor” and “receiver”, raising the question of who being what, and the effect of education on the community as a whole, how it influences development and quality of life not only for those being educated but their surroundings as well. Through the Bethania case study, these two areas of interest raise interesting facts as well as questions, creating a complex web of exchange between not only the organization and the orphanage, but between the orphanage and its surrounding communities, allowing the organization to indirectly benefit a much broader area of need.

نوفمبر 24th, 2010 by


Government vs bicyclists

Initially we viewed the relationship between government and the bicyclist participants of Critical Mass as a negotiation between breaking laws to draw attention to a situation and having the right to peacefully protest. However, with further research, cases of law enforcement showing unnecessary hostility and withholding rights from Critical Mass bikers surfaced.

Motorists vs bicyclists

To be effective, Critical Mass must balance peacefully highlighting the safety issue for bikers and further irritating motorists. We searched for more information concerning motorist reactions, emphasizing the extreme attitudes.

These two negotiations are the most critical because the interaction between the government and bicyclist and motorists and bicyclists can easily be witnessed; visible evidence of these negotiations flare up in daily life for many individuals in media and direct experience.

Videos about Critical Mass:

This video celebrates the 10th anniversary of Critical Mass in San Francisco with clips from rides and commentary from participants. The footage indicates the hostility between motorists and bikers.

This short documentary emphasizes the negotiation between government and bikers. The film was made in March 2007 after a new law prohibiting the assembly of more than 50 people in New York City. The police clash with the first Critical Mass participants since this law was put into effect.

This video powerfully portrays the concept of Critical Mass with simple graphics. The clip argues for the environmental importance of bicycling as a means of transportation and thus a needed respect from motorists and other sources of traffic, reinforcing the “safety-promoting design” taxonomy.

Ride Locations:

Clearly, Critical Mass has taken root across the globe as a means of “urban outreach”. Since the conflict between motorists and bicyclists is most prevalent in cities, the purpose of the design fits well into this taxonomic category. The spontaneous yet influential nature of the event is contagious; as demonstrated by the world map, hundreds of cities appreciate the effectiveness of the design and embrace this means of protesting hostility towards bikers.

Critical Mass Ride Documentation:

Critical Mass 2008 - Budapest

Reactive Movements to Critical Mass:

Scientifically, a critical mass is defined as “an amount or level needed for a specific result or new action to occur.” Rather appropriately, Critical Mass rides have inspired  multiple biking movements, including Critical Manners, Bike Summer, Kidical Mass, Critical Sass, Tweed Run, Free Tibet Rides, and the San Jose Bike Party. Other passionate bikers recognize the power of Critical Mass to draw attention to a certain situation, whether that involves the environment, the rights of bikers, inspiring children and families to be active, female unity, or the human rights of Tibetans. The inspirational nature of Critical Mass reflects the design as a “massive collaboration” and “community cooperation”; unity plays a significant role in Critical Mass’s essence.

Critical Mass Incidents:

These reports reflect the tension in our two key negotiations.

Riga, Latvia- Policemen arrest Critical Mass participants without vocalizing any accusations and ran over bicyclists with their vehicles.

Honolulu, Hawaii- Police tackle a woman peacefully riding her bike in Critical Mass, which results in her hospitalization

Minneapolis, Minnesota- 19 Critical Mass riders arrested.

Berlin, Germany- Police confiscate a Critical Mass participant’s bicycle during a ride with 60 others.

Chicago, Illinois- A drunk driver runs into the mass of bikers and flees the scene.

Berkeley, California- A motorists intentionally drives into the Critical Mass, damaging bicycles.

Sacramento, California- Police oversee the event and issue citations, occupying more of the road than the Critical Mass participants.

Evidence of Impact:

-In New York City, a Department of Transportation Commissioner was hired in 2007 with a vision for creating a bike-friendly city.

-Grassroots efforts to change mindsets and treatment of bikers in Istanbul gains momentum.

-RAND corporation analyzed Critical Mass as an effective yet spontaneous design in “What Next for Networks and Netwars?”



نوفمبر 24th, 2010 by

How it works

Ridekicks functions:

By using elements of social gaming and reward mechanics to change the way people operate in, around, and with cars.

Through linking to favorite social networks such as: Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, etc…

And educate children, bring mathematical, logical and networking aspects to life for adults and…make ridesharing cool?

To promote environmentally friendliness, socially acceptable car sharing

Begin with:

1.)    Uploading coming journeys and advertise for social buddies on the same route.

For and as passenger.

2.)    Start your own community groups for companies, schools, universities and neighborhood teams.

-Compete with and within the team

Continue by:

3.)    Search for spare seats and promote availability to the driver friends on their social networks.

4.)    Keeping track of miles driven and points shared.

Each mile shared is worth 1 point for both passenger and driver

5.)    Choosing whether to charge passengers for the ride

-Through the site with major currencies using PayPal’s Adaptive payments technology.

-5% of all transaction fees go directly towards Ridekicks

In the future:

6.) Aim for respective titles

-“King of the Road”: Highest scoring participant within the entire network

-“Captain Planet”: Player who travels most as passenger

-“Hometown Hero”: Highest participant from any given city

-Titles can only be kept through continual participation within the system

7.)    (For company reference) Solidify rewards system

– Hopes to partner with fuel companies and local government for reward methods

Reassessments and justification for categories

Green Design:

Ridekicks definitely fits the category of green design, because this website was formed to facilitate carpooling. It turns carpooling into a social game with rewards for environmentally-friendly driving. By connecting the people who can give rides to the people that need them, Ridekicks helps the environment by saving fossil fuels and reducing air pollution from car exhaust.

Social Design:

Co-founders Lee Marshall and Rohit Mistry explain Ridekicks as something that “helps you get to more places, share trips with current friends, and make new friends. We believe that social technology has the power to change the way that we use cars, and we believe it should be fun,” (Crunch Base Profile). By working through user’s personal networks, Ridekicks connects people with the people they already know, and also through the search bar on the website Ridekicks, connects people with others that have a common destination. Through the aspects of connecting people and people sharing resources with other people, this case is definitive of social design.

Communal Design:

Related to social design, Ridekicks can also be categorized as communal design. Cofounder Lee Marshall elaborates how the act of peer-to-peer philanthropy can creates bonds between people and grow into closer, larger local communities: “People spreading wealth among themselves to improve each other’s lives will become a huge part of modern society. As our digital footprints become ever larger and local communities are bought online, I think peer-to-peer lending will take off,” (Marshall). With these concepts in mind, we can see how Marshall and Mistry intended for Ridekicks to be as much about saving money and helping the environment, as building friendships and meeting new people.

Another way Ridekicks is definitive of Communal Design is how the design process of this website is similar to the open source, open innovation method of the $100 dollar lap top. People are welcome to put in their opinions and input about the website and how it works. On the Ridekicks Facebook page, we see the company reaching out to people with survey questions for design research.

Negotiation Analysis

*Intimacy vs. shared space

People who work all day and are with their families (potentially) when they are at home use their time driving to and from work as alone time and as a time to gather their thoughts.  When another person is introduced to this equation, one is forced to forgo this solace for petty discussion with another individual.  Of course, on some occasions they could enjoy their discussions, but assuming that the other individual is a stranger, more than likely conversation will resort back to common small talk.  When someone is in their car alone, it is their space and they can do things like play music loud without worrying about whether or not someone else cares what or how loud they are listening to that music.

Even before the ride itself, the social forum itself negotiates intimacy vs. a shared space.  The network itself is a shared space containing everyone’s information of their locations and schedules.  Exposing yourself online suggests a certain sense of exhibitionism, which then automatically makes you a little more vulnerable just taking into the consideration the vastness and openness of the internet.  Interestingly enough, the network can also act as an intimate setting.  It serves as a conduit for multifaceted conversation.  There is a casual quality in online conversation – it takes away the awkwardness  of what is polite to say and how is appropriate to react.  Because these social constrictions are then eliminated in the absence of eye-to-eye conversation, the subjects are more free to express their thoughts and act more naturally as their real selves.

In this end, this forces us to both re-think and re-contextualize the definition “intimacy” and “shared space” as well as consider the implications of both sides in the carpooling process itself.

Independence vs. dependence on another driver

When people have their own cars, they don’t have to worry about when they want to leave or stay, they can just leave when they want.  When someone is depending on another person both people have to wait till a time when they can leave together.  This may limit one or both people to waiting several minutes till they can leave, which might be viewed as an inconvenience.

Time vs. Money

Along with the previous negotiation, the time saved when not relying on another person is nice, but is the money spent driving a car alone worth that time saving.  Obviously, when you have multiple people sharing a car (and the driver opts to charge) both people save money (than if they were both paying for a separate journey’s worth of gas).

*Entrepreneurship vs. charity

When someone decides to charge for their rides, a certain tone for the ride is set.  For example, if someone decides to ferry people for free, people feel more like the person is doing something nice for them and therefore feel more at ease with the person.  This might result in new friends or other social gains.   When someone charges for the ride, it becomes more formal and the person paying might feel less obliged to talk to the person driving them since they are being paid.

Another interpretation of this includes analyzing the implications of “gaming.”  Any sort of gaming theme suggests a competitive nature-players want to beat their best and each others’ best to be number one.  This is good because it will elicit participation.  However, a major concern is the possibility that drivers will only drive or drive more to score more points.  This at a big scale poses a huge problem in that it then creates a reverse effect – because of competition, people are actually abusing their driving habits more in order to obtain and keep their titles.  It then places the company at a very risky position and poses the question:  where and how discernible is the line between gaming to encourage genuine participation in a good-will effort and gaming for the sake of competition and for personal gain.


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Smith, Paul. “Gaming For Good: Ridekicks | Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit.” Triple Pundit – Green Business News. 29 Oct. 2010. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <>.

نوفمبر 19th, 2010 by
Team: Old Skool

Members: Chris Sovchen, Jason Leonard, and Kyle Jennings

Notes and Rationale: We would like to research the materials that have been used over the years only to be recalled due to either health concerns, availability, or ecological impact. The construction industry is moving towards greener engineering which includes reduction of waste by using recyclable resources with extended lifespans. Our hope is to discover what the up and coming materials are and how they will change the construction industry’s perspective on material cost and waste. Furthermore, this research can potentially help us illuminate the aspect of responsible design. In other words, design and development must consider what impact the final product will have and not just whether it is cheap and pretty or how much profit can be made. Does the design create more harm than good? Is it in fact destruction rather than innovation?

Ultimately, a GC may use a certain material because it is cheap, but if said material will need to be replaced due to fore mentioned issues then doesn’t the cost in fact go up. So, maybe a contractor spends more money on the front end but there is a long term savings available. Furthermore, the structure’s quality is improved which could bring repeat customers/ clients as well as a solid name in the industry.

Taxonometric Categories: Responsible Design, Socially Conscious, Environmentally Sustainable, Safe Standardization, Oversight Aware, Legally Abiding Design

Negotiations: Safe vs. Fiscally Desirable/ Aesthetics vs. Footprint/ Responsible vs. Profit/ Material Availability vs. Innovation/ Health vs. HomelessnessOrganized Oversight vs. Public Safety/ Money vs. Time vs. Money vs. Time vs.  Money/ General Contractors vs. Constraints/ Liability vs. Character/

Examples and Source Links:

Katrina Trailer Failure

Siding Recall

Drywall Recall


Why are we re-inventing the wheel? Here are a few examples of projects that are entirely off of the grid and incorporate sustainable materials and construction.

نوفمبر 12th, 2010 by

Assignment 1

11 نوفمبر

Part I

Energy is virtually an infinite resource in the universe, as long as there is knowledge on how to harness it from a source for a purpose useful to someone who needs it. Out of the many sources of energy, the most popular are from the wind, sun, water, electricity, and different types of gases. A price-efficiency chart would show that wind power is not practical, though new innovations are helping with that. Electricity can get costly, solar power from the sun is only useful at certain times of the day, which is very constricting for users, and water is a finite resource that is used in too many applications to be a primary source of energy, especially when one factors in the consequences of disturbing the natural order of things. This leaves gas as the best source of energy because despite the fragile nature of its storage, it is a fairly renewable resource.
Since all types of gas are flammable and heavy enough to interact with the visible physical world, if harnessed properly, there are many different ways in which one could be used to produce a result desired by any giver person or group of persons. Methane gas is no exception. And since it is a byproduct of flatulence and can be extracted from waste, especially that of animals, and any living creatures with a rumen for that matter, there is and always will be a readily available source of it. This is because people have to eat to survive, and in eating there will come a point where the body rids itself of that digested food as waste, which can in turn be converted to methane gas.
Methane gas does not only come from waste. Other sources of it can be seen in FIGURE 1. Out of all of these sources, though, increasing production from enteric fermentation, which currently 1/5 of methane gas comes from anyway, can have spectacular benefits, especially if it starts to replace other methods harmful to the environment. Looking at the pie chart, there are some sources of methane gas that will happen naturally, whether there is human intervention or not. But gas drilling, for example, is not necessary. It is only being done to extract methane, and in doing so, the environment is harmed and the fragile state that the gas rests in as it is being drilled is very dangerous for those doing the drilling. Not to mention the rather expensive costs of affording for tools to do the drilling. Decreasing the percentage of coal mining for methane is a no brainer. Every couple of months there is word of a cave in leaving miners trapped, so the liabilities of this method are already known. Though, if the mining is for another reason, and the methane gas is just collected since it is there, I guess this method proves to be more of an efficient move for the mining companies rather than an energy hungry decision by them, while having no interest in their workers safety. So this is debatable. Landfills are used to collect methane because of the improper disposal of waste. If more of the world took a page from most public dog parks, and had a waste management facility to clean up and dispose of waste, there would be a centralized location to collect waste for methane extraction and also landfills would be a lot safer, decreasing harmful runoff in drinking water for humans down the line. Biomass burning is also an unnecessary method of acquiring methane gas, but as with coal mining, the reasons for doing so are not based on acquiring methane, so since there is nothing that can be done about it, getting the most out of the situation is the lesser of the two evils. But if we consider a perfect world in which something could be done about these methods of acquiring methane due to processes with ulterior motives, that is 42% more methane that could be gathered from animal waste, provided proper waste management and conversion facilities are attained. This means that 100% of methane would be produced naturally, 61% of which coming from waste created by animals that only have to do what it takes for them to survive to create.
Aside from helping the environment in a global warming/climate type of way, this also helps the animals for which many organizations have been created to protect due to their unacceptable treatment. Instead of now feeding animals to take the milk, use their bodies for food, their bones for soap, their hooves for glue, and their skin for fashion, more animals will be granted a longer life span in order to use and sell their waste to create methane gas for energy. With the animals staying around longer, and also reproducing, this opens the possibility for more food since there will be more animals, better treatment for them because they are of greater value, and more work for the people since there will be more animals to manage. So the environment, the animals, and the people are happy. Who else is there to please? Also, with an abundance of animals in the world, and the relatively low cost of maintaining and caring for them, using animal waste as a source for methane gas can lower the price of purchasing the gas, by consumers. So on top of having safer drinking water, a healthier world, a greater abundance of fat and happy animals, there will now be lower costs on heating and gas bills.
There is always that one question as to whether people would like to use methane gas instead of their current source of energy. But I feel that if the past is any indicator with the introduction of the going green effort, hybrid cars, windmills, solar panels, and CFL light bulbs, people will slowly but surely ease into the idea, especially if it helps the environment. And supply and demand runs this world, so the more people on board, the greater the demand for this product, and the less of a demand for its alternatives. Also, there is a question of whether people would be ok with things such as their food, being cooked with methane gas that is a byproduct of waste. To that there is also the counter argument of what is actually being cooked. Suggest to a person to eat another human being and they will be repulsed, but that is essentially the same as eating an animal. Though of a different species, the concept is the same. And some of the most famous foods such as the hot dog or SPAM come from an origin that everyone Is aware of, uneasy about, but still is not major enough to phase them from enjoying one or the other. So why not have the same attitude about the source of the energy used to cook the food. Other than that there is a hardly noticeable difference, if there is one at all when it comes to applications such as heating when compared to using electricity or propane. Other issues regarding methane are its fragile state, in that it is a compressed flammable gas, but then again, so is propane, but that doesn’t stop people from using it. So all of the negatives of methane are the same as with any other gas, and since other gases are on the market and widely used for the time being, these cons seem to be insignificant when considering methane as an appropriate alternative for energy.
With all of this information, the only question that remains is how the process of extracting methane gas from animal waste occurs. This is made possible through anaerobic digestion. Biodegradable waste is funneled into oxygen-less storage tanks where bacteria breaks it down to form biogas, which is compressed and cleansed. Then this gas is sent to a CHP plant to be used in various applications. CHP stands for combined heating and power. The plant is essentially your electric company and your gas company combined and merged into one building. As a result of this anaerobic digestion, compost is created from the waste. This can in turn be used to fertilize the crops, which produce the food that the animals eat to make the waste in the first place. Talk about your vertical integration!

A Case Study (more can be found at

Agway Farm in Tully, NY

farm type: dairy, with a herd size of 500

operational date: 1981, still operational

digester type: concrete slurry tank

end use of biogas: electricity with thermal reclaim used for digester and 2 buildings

biogas production: 12,000 ft3/d, 65% methane content

electricity production: 145,000 to 150,000 kWh

electricity savings: $17,000 to $18,000

thermal savings: $5,600 to $5,800

cost: $175,000

Pie Chart (Figure 1):
Enteric Fermentation:
CHP Plant:
Biogas video:!

Part II

The utilization of biogas in the production of electricity is a sustainable, efficient means of generating energy for human consumption. As the table below indicates, cattle manure harvested from beef and dairy farms is a viable source for biogases.

One of the many benefits of using cattle manure is its relative abundance on a global scale. Many countries, particularly in North America, South America, and Asia all have thriving beef and dairy markets that produce hundreds of thousands of tons of manure every year. Although much of the waste is used in fertilization of crops (which are often used to feed cattle), a large portion is simply heaped up for decomposition and is essentially wasted.

In China, many cattle farms use small-scale biogas generators to sell back generated electricity into their local grids.  The implementation of such grids ubiquitously in American farms could result in a substantial energy savings per consumer.

Implementing larger scale biogas converters in landfills and high yield cattle farms could theoretically reduce or even eliminate the current dependence on fossil fuels as natural gas for powering vehicles, machinery, and domestic energy use.

However, two major negotiations should be considered:

1)   The fluctuation of beef / dairy demand

2)   The “hidden” costs of implementing biogas reclamation systems

Beef and dairy production varies depending on many economic factors. If consumers are financially inclined to look for alternatives to cattle products due to the economic climate, producers will reduce their amount of production. This is a simple supply-demand relationship with far reaching consequences should countries turn to cattle for biogas driven electricity generators. A baseline, or average minimum should be established from which projections can be made which asses how much production can be relatively certain for a given year.

Biogas repurposing systems are generally highly efficient and can use virtually any kind of organic waste as fuel, but they are not free. Initial investment in a significant number of machines must maintain a stable balance between initial input and long-term output. Government sponsorship and / or incentives must be justified by greater or at least equal returns, and in order to assess feasible options, careful consideration and evaluation must be used. Should the government offer incentives or support? Who qualifies? How much aid should be given?

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s 1998 casebook on methane recovery,  surveyed farmers who have implemented and continue to operate methane recovery systems are generally satisfied with their investment decisions.  Returns provided from electricity and co-product sales, although limited, are preferred to the cost of conventional disposal that provides zero return on investment.

نوفمبر 11th, 2010 by

Accumulative Design

10 نوفمبر

The idea of accumulative design is that individual additions and informal gatherings create a fabric of input that can then be viewed as a single design instead of many individual parts. Even if these parts are dissimilar, their grouping can be seen as signifying a perhaps ambiguous and nameless agency. This concept arrived from stripping down design understanding to two basic qualities that seem to be examined in design: what is the artifact and what does it respond to? Accumulative developments are the direct embodiment of a common drive spurned in response to some event. If design isn’t being judged on its form, it is more than likely being judged for its responsiveness. It’s usually assumed that if the design does not work it will fail and cease to be used or exist, so the continued or repeated existence of a thing must mean that on some level it is doing something right.

Urban Slums

The past 50 years has seen a drastic influx of people to urban centers from rural areas, and in many developing countries this means that infrastructure development cannot keep up with the demand thereof. The result is areas of self-developed residences at fringe areas of major urban cities. This means that basic infrastructure, such electricity or sewage, is improvised, stolen, or simply not present in these areas. The living conditions are only as good as the inhabitants are able to maintain within their already limited means which often drives people toward opportunism and desperation. Cut throat attitudes combined with limited resources lead to many slums becoming enclaves of crime and crippling poverty with scant hope for escape or upward mobility. For many, these slums became an unsurpassable web between them the city proper.

However, despite their many obvious problems and often bottomless-pit nature, the thing that urban slums do right is provide housing to poor, itinerant people near the areas they may work or desire to work. The common juxtaposition of slums next to more affluent and “properly” developed urban areas is, until recent efforts, not a matter of the city proper’s expansion into the areas of the slums, but the slums’ development near these centers as a necessity to maintain close proximity between the working-class slum dwellers and the establishments where they can find employment. Another result of this limited mobility is that individual slums themselves form, for better or worse, distinct cultures of their own.

While slums’ informality may cause an infrastructural headache, it also provides a fluidity and extemporaneity that allows them to respond almost instantaneously or reflexively to new pressures and stimulus presented them. This lack of rigidity or plan allows them to negotiate the gaps between supply and demand, concept and production, production and availability, and even adaptation and replacement seemingly instantaneously. In a lot of ways, the fluid nature of slums is echoed in capital-D Design’s contemporary drive to achieve the same level of impromptuity and customability in product design and deliverance. Additionally, the generalized understanding of slum nature also allows for the boundaries of privacy, permanence, definitiveness, and ownership to be blurred as slum populations fluctuate, interact, and adapt to challenges and opportunities that arise within their hectic frame of existence.

Unsurprisingly, the density of a slum then depends on both the existing boundaries its expansion might face and of course the demand for residence within the area. These boundaries are often the city on one side and geography on the other. Sometimes the city-side boundary may not even be the city itself, but a direct inlet to the city. Such is the case in the favelas of Rocinha and Vidigal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In some rare cases the boundary might be the city all around where the slum acted as infill to unused land, but in the amazing case of the Kowloon Walled City the boundaries were actually political. This lead to sporadic development vertically instead of horizontally, resulting in block of individual dwellings that appears to be one collected whole.

Interestingly enough, this interrupted uniformity in vertical construction is also echoed in contemporary design. Namely, in the explorations of “erosion” and “disappearance” in buildings by OMA and Herzog & de Meuron.

“Fun” links for slums:

Google Maps:
Rocinha / Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro
Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong
Kibera, Nairobi
Dharavi, Mumbai

Favela Chic
Life in Rocinha
Epic Kowloon Walled City Thread

Makeshift Memorials<!–

Even on a smaller scale, accumulation can still create solid fabrics of input.

Post walls and makeshift memorials to dead or missing persons also rely on an accumulative process, but instead of seeking a necessity these informal spaces act as a means of expression. The sites chosen aren’t necessarily pragmatic, but perhaps symbolic of or related to the person. In the case of missing people walls these spaces are often understood or explicitly labeled, but when disasters occur the line between proper and improper posting space disappears.

The patterns of development here are similar to patterns in slums in that they are both spontaneous and that both are limited by geography from their point of origin. Curbside memorials are limited by the street and posting walls are limited by the frame of the wall, or by the accessibility of the wall. The size of the spread depends on the amount of individual input and the input itself is never organized formally beyond having a starting point from which is spreads out like a dense brush, leaving only the very periphery with any sense of openness or breathing room. They are contiguous and in their sheer magnitude of information often achieve a sort of monumentality that amplifies their presence beyond just the messages they stand for. They negotiate the gaps between the living and the dead, those present and those missing, emotion and expression, hope and despair, and many others. Sometimes they even negotiate physical boundaries when missing people are actually found.

Granted, makeshift memorials are not always so public, and posting boards with similar fabric are not always about missing people.

Not-so-“fun” links for makeshift memorials:
Wall of Pain, Croatia
9/11 Missing Person Fliers
Beichuan Memorials
Some douchebag
Oakland Makeshift Memorials
Cheonan Memorial
Virginia Tech Memorials

post by: archdork (for reference)

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

ISS & growBot

10 نوفمبر

We selected the International Space Station as a topic due to its complete isolation from the world of high/formal design, the overwhelming focus of its makers on function, and the international nature of its construction. It encompasses negotiations between scientists and public policists, earth and space, and the advancement of technology in general.

It looks like this.

GrowBot was selected for its nature as a community discussion rather than a product, its emphasis on computing and results rather than aesthetics, and for the aggressive angle it maintains towards the construction of a sustainable future.

This video is weirdly made but gets their point across well.

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

Oil and Water Don’t Mix

10 نوفمبر


Video: Oil and Water Do Not Mix

On the evening of April 20, 2010, gas, oil, and concrete on the Deepwater Horizon began to climb and explode up the oilrig’s wellbore and onto the deck. During the massive fire that the explosions caused, eleven workers were killed. When the oilrig finally sunk on the morning of April 22, it sent a seemingly never-ending stream of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and onto the beaches in the area including Coastal Louisiana. The initial estimation of barrels-per-day that flowed into the sea was approximately 1,000. The estimation climbed to 5,000 barrels a day, equaling an incredible 210,000 gallons in a day.

As organizations began to work on the containment of the oil, one British designer, Anthony Burrill, used spilt oil to design a poster with the intent of assailing the oil spill. Using oil from the beaches of Grand Isle just as one would use normal paint, the posters were printed via silk-screening at Purple Monkey Design in New Orleans. Organized and sold by Happiness Brussels, they sell for 150 Euros. All proceeds go to the coalitions for the restoration of Coastal Louisiana.


–          Funds to start and maintain project vs. restoration of coastal Louisiana

–          Resources vs. availability

–          Cooperative efforts for businesses harmed by oil spill vs. financial gain from project

–          Employees vs. beneficiaries

–          Intended outcome vs. actual outcome

Preliminary Notes and Rational:

–          Current issue that affects our environment today

–          Innovative method for using a problem as a viable fix

–          Creating a small fix for a problem to bring about a larger change

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

The Idea Behind the Bag

Caroline Woolard, an artist of New York, sought to shatter the uncomfortable and dismal feeling that one had while riding a New York subway after 9-11. The constant paranoia evoked by attitudes of the populous and advertisements of public transportation made the atmosphere unpleasantly tense for all riders. In hopes of creating a more playful and carefree atmosphere, she created the a backpack that could easily transform into a swing. These spontaneous mesh swings that could easily be created from average backpacks infused fun back into the lives of the paralyzed New York populous.

We chose this design project as one of our favorites because of the spontaneity of this cleverly devised solution to a national sorrow. The fact that its purpose is to provide relief is refreshing-some design only serves the purpose of making people smile or making them feel happy. We also like how it is a plausible idea because many subway travelers carrying backpacks and there are huge areas of open space in which swinging could take place. The people who have done it seem pleased as well.


social design, communal design, playful design, problem solving design


wearability of the backpack vs usability of swing, limitations vs freedoms, swinging and enjoying subway rides vs disturbing people and evoking annoyance, cost of design vs size of demand

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

Take a Seat

10 نوفمبر

Take a Seat

Jason Eppink’s Creative Triumphs

Rooted in New York City subway station, Take a Seat is an ongoing social design project focused on the issue of available seating. By supplying used but perfectly functional chairs from dumpsters and piles of trash, the members of this project were able to reassign chair locations in areas of the station at which subway goers would usually have to stand for extended periods of time. The success of this project dwells on the fact that it makes someones trash another persons useful asset just by the simple idea of reassigning locations of the chairs.

notes: This design project was unique in the fact that it was more of a service then a design. Similar to Eppink’s project that we studied previously in 1060 (the portable wooden bridge built over a messy sidewalk leak), this design is meant for the purpose of serving others without much cost to either side. Specifically, Take A Seat takes used and disposed of chairs and assigns them to a new location and purpose for which they will be adopted and loved which is an awesome alternative to letting it end up in the landfills or to rot as pollution. Putting these used chairs in subway stations is a social design from which all can benefit.


social design, community design, innovative design, environmental design


Usability of chairs vs Aesthetics of chairs, Effective increase of sitting spaces vs. Clutter/hazardous, Spontaneous chair bringing (temporal chairs) vs issue of stealing and crime arising from chair mobility, desire for more seating vs surplus of seating (is there a cap on the number of chairs? who will enforce it?)

REWORKED Negotiations:

Comfort vs. Clutter

Flow of traffic vs. increase of sitting spaces

Individual (introverted) experience vs. group (extroverted) experience

Timeliness vs. Friendliness

Comfort vs. Safety

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by


10 نوفمبر

WonderRoot Website

What: Wonder Root is a grass roots organization that focuses on the gap between community and art in Atlanta. Since 2004, more than 1,000 artists and youth have joined, making Wonder Roo

t’s monthly participation around 400 people. The program offers a public studio, community service, programs for children, adult arts education classes, and public art to its members.

Why: The organization feels that is necessary to support art in the Atlanta area and to educate the people of the community. Their mission statement describes it as a “non-profit organization committed to uniting artists and community to inspire positive social change.”

Who: For only $60 a month for unlimited access to their space, Wonder Root supports anyone with an interest in art. Specifically, they seek artists to unite, adults to learn, and children to experience.

Notes and Rationale: The most important aspect of Wonder Root is the organization’s inclusive nature. They invite everyone to join their community because they believe all individuals can contribute to the beneficial impact on society they intend to make. The group does not focus on one type of creative expression but works with various mediums, including photography, sculpture, pottery and music development.


(1) Artist to Artists- the relationship between different ideas and perspectives leads to new ideas and community

(2) Artists to Outside Community- design is not only for designers, art is not only for artists, the community can become involved

(3) Community to Artists- relating this in the opposite fashion reveals more collaboration where the community brings their insights

Taxonomic Categories: Community-Based Design, Commune, Sharing, Commitment to Others, Societal Improvement, Urban Connection Design, Art Collaboration

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

Critical Mass

10 نوفمبر

What: Critical Mass is a bicycling event usually held on the last Friday of the month in over 300 different cities in the world.  The bike ride lasts as long as an individual participant wants. While the group keeps moving, people are welcome to break away when feeling fatigued.  The goal of this event is for bikers to ride as one critical mass, a unified body unimpeded by any red lights and stop signs they encounter.   

Why: This event was founded in 1992 in San Francisco to draw attention to the hostility the city drivers showed towards bicyclists. Critical Mass is not meant to be a protest or demonstration event, but it is seen as a celebration and gathering of city bikers seeking road rights and visibility.  

Who: All bikers are encouraged to join.  In Atlanta, 445 bikers participated in October 2010. The participation in cities range from 20 to an impressive 10,000 participants in Budapest.  

Notes and Rationale: The design and fluidity of Atlanta’s Critical Mass exudes simplicity.  Without much prior planning, besides a location and time to meet, the event flows smoothly with participants looking out for one another and maintaining the cohesion of the group.  Although surrounding cars honk impatiently, participants have learned to use the corking technique in which some bikers sit in front of the cars with green lights to let the remaining mass of bikers pass through the intersection. In an urban, fast-paced event there is always the risk of injury and accidents, so some participants have taken it upon themselves to wear rollerblades.  The rollerblades give individuals ease and flexibility to move among bikes and provide assistance if needed.   The event’s design is rooted in the collaboration of its participants in regards to everything from the route of the bike ride to facilitating safety. An uncomplicated design like Critical Mass that coordinates such a large group of people emphasizes how the most effective structure can be one that is straightforward and simple.


(1)The bikers among themselves– communication and collaboration

(2) The bikers and government– the right to run lights and stop signs, the right to use passive-aggressive ways to draw attention

(3) Bikers and motorists– positive attention and negative feedback

(4) Bikers and pedestrians– new conflict created due to biker vs. driver conflict

(5) Critical Mass event structure and RAND Corporation– The RAND Corporation produced a report “What Next for Networks and Netwars?” which analyzes the structure of the ride, evaluating the decentralized decision-making for military battlefield use.  

(6) Bikers and non-participating bikers- creation of “Critical Manners” and “Courteous Mass” (bike events that stop at lights and stop signs)

Taxonomic Categories: Urban Outreach Design, Community Cooperation Design, Community-based design, Mass Collaboration Design, Government Attention-drawing Design, Safety-promoting Design

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

Defend New Orleans

10 نوفمبر

Defend New Orleans

Defend New Orleans is a group which promotes the social, economic, and cultural improvement of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in general. It began in 2003 as simply a t-shirt, which would support those affected by the devastating hurricane. It has grown into a “community focused lifestyle brand”, and recently came out with a new line of shirts, called “Support the Coast”, which was created to support gulf coast communities in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. The idea behind Defend New Orleans is that they will sell t-shirts, stickers, mugs, etc., give 100% of the proceeds to organizations which are actually providing labor support to those in need, and raise awareness to the situation and the culture which it is threatening. Their main media is their blog located on their website,, where they post anything from animal threats, to flyers for volunteers needed, to invites to social events. They also use videos, which portray the rich culture on the Gulf Coast, by displaying different bands, activities, and people who serve to enrich the culture. It is very clear how much they are striving to preserve the way of life in New Orleans, and the idea that a simple t-shirt design could inspire such a massive movement is inspiring.

Initial Interpretation:

We were really drawn to this project, because of its small scale roots, and its simple but wide spread cause.  Defend New Orleans is not a group whose main objective is to proactively attack problems but rather to raise awareness to the problems and support other organizations that have the resources to physically make a difference with things like rebuilding New Orleans and cleaning up the oil spill in the gulf. We also liked this idea because our generation in general is obsessed with t-shirts. We all have t-shirts from every event we ever participated in throughout our childhood and still love getting new ones. The fact that a small group of friends designing a t-shirt (which most of can relate to from previous experiences) to simple say, “We support you New Orleans”, could spark this much larger network of people committed to the same cause is remarkable and interesting.


Raising awareness & providing physical support

Small Cost & More affordability (resulting in more money raised)

Reviving Culture & Helping those in need

Popular Product & Inspiration to join a cause

Video Link:

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

Inner-City Arts and Grassroots

10 نوفمبر
Group Members: Hilary Yeganegi, Andreas Nilsson, John Walker, Sarah Lashinsky

Inner-City Art    

Inner-City Arts    

Inner-City Arts describes itself on it’s website as “an oasis of learning, achievement and creativity for underserved children in the heart of Skid Row”.  The Los Angeles arts education program is a haven for local children and youth, and offers them with every amenity to submerge themselves in studio life.  Professional teaching artists provide hands-on instruction in well-equipped studios.  ICA’s campus is the ideal venue for creation.  Architect Michael Maltzan repurposed an abandoned garage, and outfitted it with simple, geometrical design.  The workspaces manage to accommodate lots of students, yet are still intimate. To kids who may have come to believe that “dreams are for other children”, ICA may be the perfect micro-city in a rough-and-tumble neightborhood.    




Architect and Students    

Architect and Business Owners    

Architect and Teachers    

Students and Teachers    

Why did we choose this?    

Inner-City Arts caught our eye when we were browsing around MoMA’s website for their Small Scale, Big Change project.  The campus is so beautiful we were intrigued to discover that it is actually in skid row.  In the end, we’re happy to give this project any exposure; it seems that Inner-City Arts does a lot of good.

Taxonomic Categories    

Charitable Design, Urban Design, Urban Integration, Community-Based Design




Notes is an organization that promotes social changes by endorsing other smaller organizations by offering them money to fulfill their goals. The organization offers an average of $10,000 a year for each organization. Basically the website is there to promote the creation of grassroots organizations and to get them started.    


Donors and the website    

Donors and Grassroots organizations    

The Website and Grassroots organizations    

Grassroots organizations and society    

Grassroots organizations and their cause    

Why did we choose this? provides money for grassroots organizations that are trying to start a social change, but might not have enough resources to become a fully started organization. Many grassroots organizations have trouble starting up because they are being funded by only a couple of people so usually there is a lack of resources and have trouble spreading their cause. So helps these grassroots organizations spread their cause by funding them.    

Taxonomic Categories    

Societal Design, Communal Design, Economic Design, Charitable Design


نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

Ten Thousand Villages & StoryCorps

10 نوفمبر

Ten Thousand Villages

“One day all artisans in the developing countries will earn a fair wage, be treated with dignity and respect and be able to live a life of quality.”

Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit organization that helps artisans across the globe earn a fair wage. The program helps Third World people by sharing their stories and marketing their handcrafts in North America. The majority of items they sell are jewelry, home decor, and gifts, all of which handmade. The fair trade purchases made by Americans help artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The income helps provide them with food, education, health care, and housing.

The shopping experience in a Ten Thousand Villages store is one of a kind. The artifacts for sale are imported from all over the world and support a multitude of personal styles. The sales staff and volunteers are passionate about both the products and the mission that support their retail stores. There is currently a national retail network of 75 stores, along with multiple sales channels, Festival Sales, and a comprehensive e-commerce website.

We chose this project because of the people supported mission behind the program. It is interesting to investigate how an organization in North America can impact help artisans from all over the world. Ten Thousand Villages changes the lives of people who are not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Negotiations: Region vs. Accessibility, Social Class vs. Income, Fair Trade vs. Retail


“By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this great nation reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how truly great it is to be alive.”

-Dave Isay, Founder, StoryCorps

StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization that records oral interviews of people telling their life stories. Since 2003, StoryCorps has recorded more than 30,000 interviews, which they submit to the Library of Congress on CDs that are available to the world.

StoryCorps began in 2003, when they opened a “StoryBooth” in Grand Central Terminal in New York. They then moved to “MobileBooths,” which traveled across the States. Through the years, they have had special interviews with those affected by September 11th,, those affected by memory loss, African Americans, Latinos, and more. StoryCorps continued to open StoryBooths across the nation, including one in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2008 and 2010, StoryCorps released two New York Times best selling books, Listening Is an Act of Love and Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from Storycorps.

We chose to blog about StoryCorps because they process and organize individual, oral history. We found this organization significant because it gives illiterate people an opportunity to pass on their stories. When we think of design, we typically think of product design, not design of history documentation.

Negotiations: Interviewers vs. Interviewees, Oral Stories vs. Listeners, Accessibility of the website to users

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

Life Straw

10 نوفمبر

Do you see how dirty that water is? Would you drink it if I dared you? With Life straw you can! (Or at least, you’d be more willing too…)

Lifestraw is a water filter in a straw. It’s a cheap ($2.00), effective (removes 99.9% contaminants) and is good for about a year’s supply of water (700 liters). Clean water is a basic human need, and Life straw helps millions purify their drinking water, saving them waterborne illness and death by dessication.  With all the technology squeezed into the 12.2 inches of this thing, you could drink mud with no worries.

Check out the video below. You can mix cow dung with your water and still be good.

Testing the Lifestraw: Cow sh!t to clean water video.


Environmental design, Area improvement design, Health related design, Make a difference design, Helpful/useful design


Money making venture vs. social improvement venture, Distribution/Use of LifeStraw vs. local methods of water purification, man vs nature, man vs man-polluted nature

-Roark Design (Assignment 0.3)

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

Design Outside the Field

10 نوفمبر


“The idea behind Heifer … is similar to the notion that it’s better to teach a man to fish so he can feed himself than to give him a fish that will feed him just once. One animal could eventually benefit an entire community.” — Associated Press

We chose Heifer International because it is a non-profit company that helps people in an innovative way and does more than just donate money. It is designed to give people a new way of life rather than just a short-term fix. The customer who donates money specifies a particular animal or group of animals, which is gifted to the family in need. These animals are used to produce food, milk, or aid in farming and labor. We have never previously heard of this type of transaction and think it is a fantastic and interesting business model. Because it is so foreign to us, it falls outside of our preconceived notions of “design”. The business introduces a unique type of transaction to satisfy a worldwide need.





Resource Design

Community Education

Alternative Charity



Source of Income – Gifts purchased by customers

Short Term – Long Term

Privileged – Needy

Ability – Teaching

Money Donations – Livestock

Resources – Location

Rationale – Explanation


In densely populated Hong Kong, apartments are small and expensive. Having to copy with tight space, Gary Chang, an architect, decided to ease his lifestyle by designing his 344 sq. ft apartment to be able to transform into 24 different combinations of designs by simply sliding and pulling walls. Calling it the “Domestic Transformer,” his ingenuity takes space efficiency to a whole new level. We were especially struck by his idea of having warm, golden light shine into his tinted windows as a way to keep him happier, even in gloomy weather. We also found it excellent that he placed a mirror on the ceiling to create an allusion of extended space. As future architects, we found Chang’s creativity brilliant and inspiring.



Space Efficiency

Urban Living


Architectural Arrangement


Space – Necessity

Need – Want

Aesthetics – Functionality

Resources – Utilization

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

Harvesting Biogas For Power

pet owner and pet
pet and pet food
pet waste and pet owner
taking the time to recycle pet waste can save time sorting it from other waste when it is later disposed of
recyclers and pet waste
pet waste and machine used to convert it to methane
pet waste and waste deposit centers

environmental design
energy design
community improvement design
waste management design
water filtration design

notes and rationale:
helps dispose of waste
cleans the water system
most public pet areas already have disposal units, it would just be collected by other people
more methane means cheaper gas prices (for things that use methane, that is)
pets can be a tax write off for companies that rely on methane
more stray animals and those in pounds will be kept alive and fed for their feces (precents unnecessary harm of animals while providing them with food)

location of origin:
San Francisco

similar ideas:
the same idea has already been established in several European countries

Pets in America produce tons of waste a year that is in turn inefficiently disposed of, causing clutter and landfills, and in many cases mixing with water sources near the landfills, tainting water used by humans for personal use. In many public parks, there are already pet waste facilities that can/are to be used to dispose of the waste. Since it is already being collected, why not place all of that waste in a facility that can convert that waste into methane gas. It takes nothing more than a conversion facility since the collection and creating waste aspects of this process are already established. Having more methane gas increases its availability for whatever use it would be needed for, making it possible to decrease the cost of methane from what it already is. This means cheaper heating bills among other things.

Vac from the Sea (Not just for mermaids)

“In June of this year the company Electrolux introduced a concept for a vacuum cleaner made of plastic debris collected from marine environments. This initiative, titled the Vac from the Sea, is intended to not only produce a line of eco-friendly vacuums but more importantly to draw attention to the problem of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. The company is working with environmental organizations and concerned volunteers to collect plastic debris from five key marine areas, such as Hawaii, the North Sea, and the Mediterranean. This initiative highlights the issue of plastic pollution and calls for more research and effort towards the use of recycled marine-based plastics. Vac from the Sea will bring together concerned individuals, organizations, and companies with the common aim of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic pollution and putting it to good use.”

Notes & Rationale
– environmental activism
– draws attention to issue
– brings groups of people together toward common goal
– design for an issue instead of use

Taxonomic Categories
– eco-friendly design
– interventionist design
– collaborative design

– land-based recycled plastics vs. marine-based recycled plastics
– purely functional need for a vacuum vs. environmental activism
– business oriented production vs. volunteer oriented production

نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

Sustainable Design

10 نوفمبر

GWAM:  Grant Wilson, Andrew Miller


Even though many aspects of design help a creation become successful, there are a few instances when a design or well thought out idea fails.  This was apparent in the Haitian earthquake in January of 2010, in comparison to the Chilean earthquake in February of 2010.  Our group sought a case study that dealt with sustainable design that would have a great impact on larger scales, since we dwell in the large scale, intricate city known as Atlanta.  The idea was formed after hearing about the impact the earthquake had on the architectural structures within Haiti and Chile.  In Haiti, hundreds of thousands of people died after the earthquake that struck the nation, mainly because of the architecture within the Haitian nation.  Buildings and other structures were built to resist the vibrations from earthquakes, causing them to crumble as the vibrations increased.  This lead to the crumbling of buildings with many people inside them, thus causing the death toll of this tragic event to be so high.

However, Chile is a country with with a high risk of earthquakes occurring, due to its location on the globe.  Therefore, many of its homes and offices are built to sway with seismic waves rather than resist them through the use of moats at the base. Cameron Sinclair, executive director of Architecture for Humanity even stated “when you look at the architecture in Chile, you see buildings that have damage, but not the complete pancaking that you’ve got in Haiti.”  Sinclair also claims that it is required by blueprints and building codes in Chile that even the low-income houses must be built to withstand the event of an earthquake of any magnitude.  By changing architectural techniques in Haiti, more people could be saved, and less materials could be used in the rebuilding process of the nation, thus allowing humans to sustain the resources they draw from.

This case study isn’t a project that is currently underway in Haiti, but a design fix that, if implemented, could save hundreds of thousands of lives during the next Haitian earthquake.  Some negotiations involved with this “design fix” might include how to implement this design without adversely affecting customs and culture, how the materials and equipment might fair against earthquakes of various magnitudes, and how to financially accomplish the implementation of this new architectural design.

Taxonomic Categories:

Earthquake, Chile, Haiti, Architectural Structures


Between the earthquake and the people, between the people and the city



We wanted our case studies to focus on helping the environment and the future.  After coming across some pretty interesting results, we found that Green Giants Eco-friendly Urban Design Projects was the most unique to us.  While many people are against constructing massive buildings and projects, the giants designs given through these eco-friendly building designs can solve many problems.  The benefits from implementing these buildings are endless.  Just a few examples are that it provides accessible green spaces for dense urban living, grows fresh produce in the ‘concrete’ jungle, and just an overall cleaner atmosphere for living in.   This could even be incorporated into business buildings to help them be self sustaining and efficient.  This can be done so it collecting rain water and recycling it through filters using it throughout the building in its gardens and other facilities that require water.  Cutting down costs and energy is key for this to be efficient and beneficial to the future.  This could be directly beneficial to us since we do live in the large urban environment of Atlanta.  It would not only help us today, but it will help the future of earth.

Taxonomic categories:

Urban Living, Eco-Friendly, Ergonomical, Urban Design, Environment


Between the grower and the consumer, how the design project is financed and how it is paid for, between the people and the green space


نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by

SitBPE | Hannah Williams, Deborah Hudson, Sean Sims, Trey McMillon

The New York Street Advertising Takeover (NYSAT) Project was developed and funded by a group called the Public Ad Campaign.  The goal of the project was to bring public spaces back to the people.  Many of the advertisements seen on billboards in major cities are illegal; yet they do not attract the attention of city officials.  One company that is responsible for 120 illegal advertisements is NPA City Outdoor.  The NYSAT Project set out do whitewash as many of these street level advertisements as possible to bring the public landscapes back to the people and remove the consumerist effects of the ads.

The individuals who were involved in the project are of many different professions and backgrounds. They are brought together by the common idea that public areas should reflect the feelings of the citizens.  During the project, five members were arrested and many of the advertisements were replaced within hours.  Earlier this year, the Public Ad Campaign held the Toronto Street Advertising Takeover (TOSAT) and has expressed interest in holding more of these events in various cities.

We chose this project because of its roots in the importance and significance of public spaces.  The NYSAT Project spread through word of mouth and recruited individuals of many backgrounds.  All of whom were interested in bringing attention to the consumerism and advertising that has been ingrained in our everyday lives (all of which was illegal as well).  It also fostered a medium for which citizens could express their own feelings and spread anti-commercial messages.  After the whitewashing was completed, artists came out to engage the public spaces in ways that would be more personal to fellow users of the space.


Marketing vs Expression

Legality vs Illegality

Purpose of Public Space


نوفمبر 10th, 2010 by