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The Design Observer Group
Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: MAY 04, 2012


Flies in Urinals: The Value of Design Disruptions

FEATURED THIS WEEK : ANDREW SHEA

Flies in Urinals: The Value of Design Disruptions

Many designers and educators are dubious of the recent surge of design altruism, noting that they rarely see evidence of social impact projects that lead to real behavior change. While it is well documented that public awareness campaigns generally work for actions that people perform infrequently, like donating to a disaster, it is much harder to change habitual actions in a meaningful way. Since daily habits are profoundly shaped by our environment, perhaps designers must disrupt the environment itself to change behaviors?
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OBSERVATORY : JULIA NOVITCH

Public Space and the Skills of Citizenship: An Interview with Elihu Rubin

"Public spaces can be charged politically because they enable citizens to gather, to represent themselves and to transmit messages. There is also a more benign sense of public space as a place where we can just idle. And yet there are tensions in terms of belonging to those places, the right to just be in those places. How long can someone who has nowhere else to go spend time in that space? The test of a public space is its tolerance."
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FROM OUR SPONSORS

This spring Sappi is hosting a national road show, in collaboration with 826 National, to launch Special Effects, Volume 5 of The Standard. Issue 5 shows designers how the creative use of special effects can make a printed piece dimensional, tactile, intriguing and sometimes interactive. The next event is on May 10 in Washington DC.
More about Volume 5 of The Standard >>
View the road show schedule and registration details >>
Find out more about Sappi here >>

Two great MFA programs: The  Interaction Design program, which explores the role of design in shaping everyday life and the Graduate Program for the Designer as Entrepreneur. 
Visit MFA Interaction Design >>
The Designer as Entrepreneur Podcast >>
SVA Website >>

OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Against Kickstarter Urbanism

Kickstarter is not a popularity contest, or a democracy. Kickstarter’s founders select which projects go on the blog. Their declaration of a glorious new era for design suggests that projects that aren’t Kickstarter worthy aren’t worthy. A suitable funding platform for a watch is not a suitable funding platform for a city.
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OBSERVATORY : RICK POYNOR

Career Prospects in the Pain Business

I was browsing the Guardian newspaper’s recruitment ads this week when I saw this ad for a job as a Torturer. It caught me off guard — as it was meant to — and I felt a few seconds of profound shock and dismay. The three ads in the UK charity Freedom from Torture’s new awareness and fundraising campaign deliver perfectly calculated moments of cognitive dissonance.
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PLACES : MICHAEL EZBAN

The Trash Heap of History

The reuse of waste and remediation of landfills have inspired some of the most innovative contemporary landscape and urban design projects. Michael Ezban looks back two millennia and explores Monte Testaccio, the great garbage dump of imperial Rome. In this enduring landform — "a mountain of detritus in a city of storied hills" — he finds a dynamic precedent for landfill reclamation in our own eco-conscious era.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN THACKARA

Istanbul: City of Seeds

Rather than dream up exotic visions of “what could be”, an xskool looks for social and natural assets that already exist – and grows from there. We bring together projects, however modest in scale, that meet daily life needs using the low-energy processes of natural systems, combined with the metabolic energy of social innovation. A kind of social seed exchange of the next economy.
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OBSERVATORY : MARK LAMSTER

Another Imperiled Paul Rudolph Landmark

With so much of our focus on the potential demise of Paul Rudolph's Orange Country Government Center, in Goshen, there hasn't been much conversation on the threat to another Rudolph landmark, his Sarasota High School of 1960. A renovation plan would utterly compromise this landmark building.
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OBSERVATORY : MICHAEL BIERUT

The Poster that Launched a Movement (Or Not)

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which reaches a critical moment this week, began with that most conventional of graphic forms, a poster. The trouble is, hardly anyone has ever seen it. In the age of social media, does political graphic design matter?
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 04.29.12

Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by  John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera  brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is tools of measurement and drafting.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN

Ken Carbone

In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Ken Carbone discusses meeting his design heros, his celebrated sketchbooks and journals and what he really thinks about his relationship with his corporate clients.
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SVA
Summer Intensive 2012
Apply today >>
Sappi
Sappi and 826 National debuts The Standard 5: Special Effects and you're invited.
Get Washington DC tickets >>


Mayo Clinic Transform 2011
Designers and leaders talk innovation in healthcare.
Join us >>

Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Marty Neumeier

Marty Neumeier is a brand consultant and author of Brand Gap, Zag and The Brand Dictionary.
Listen >>
More Design Matters Archive >>

CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

The Ultra 10 Challenge

Report on ULTRA, a sustainable fashion company founded in Kuala Lumpur.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2006

The State of City Planning Today

A veteran city planner and educator analyzes the anemia of U.S. planning, and detects signs of life in neighborhood activism.
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RECENT BOOKS RECEIVED

Next Nature: Nature Changes Along with UsNext Nature: Nature Changes Along with Us
Koert van Mensvoort & Hendrik Jan Grievink, editors

Steve JobsSteve Jobs
Walter Isaacson

Otto Neurath - City Planning: Proposing a socio-political Map for Modern UrbanismOtto Neurath - City Planning: Proposing a socio-political Map for Modern Urbanism
Sophie Hochhäusl

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