PLACES : ALEXANDROS WASHBURN
In October 2012, as Hurricane Sandy approached New York, Alexandros Washburn defied evacuation orders and stayed fast in his home in Red Hook, watching as his street flooded and became a "full-fledged river." But he had good reason; the city's chief urban designer wanted to observe first-hand "the dynamics of the storm surge and its effect on our streets and structures." Here he recounts his experience during the storm and the hugely complicated — and ongoing — municipal recovery and response.
OBSERVER MEDIA : LIZ GERBER
Liz Gerber is the Junior Breed Chair of Design at Northwestern U. and Faculty Founder of Design For America. In 2008, Liz co-founded Design for America, a new and rapidly growing organization for college campuses that inspires students to use design to create local and social impact. On this episde of Insights Per Minute she comments on feedback.
OBSERVER MEDIA : ROB FORBES
Rob Forbes’ career includes work in both the Arts and Business fields. Forbes is best known as the Founder of Design Within Reach and for the vision of a business that has grown into the leading retail destination for modern design in the US. On this episode of Insights Per Minute he comments on perfection.
PLACES : ANTHONY TOWNSEND
Electric car sharing in Paris, dynamic road pricing in Singapore, nationwide smart meters in the UK. “The technology industry is asking us to rebuild the world around its vision of efficient, safe, convenient living,” writes Anthony Townsend. But wireless sensor networks and integrated communications systems are vulnerable to power failure and hacking, not to mention software errors. What if the smart cities of the future are chock full of bugs?
CHANGE OBSERVER : ANDREW SHEA
“Designers play a special role in the attention economy. With their power to reflect and remake the world comes a tremendous social responsibility to make things worthy of the valuable human attention that will be spent on them.” What about you? Do you have a mission statement, a burning question, a call to action or a set of values that guide you?
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
I saw the first quirky orange stone house nearly 20 years ago when driving my now adult daughter to a summer camp in rural, southern Missouri. Just off historic Route 66, there wasn’t just one, but within the hour I counted more than a dozen unusual structures along the way. While the orange-red slabs of limestone were cut or broken into irregular shapes, what struck me was the extremely wide, white mortar between the stones.
OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE
One of the incidental pleasures of Judith Major’s new book on pioneering architecture critic Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer is the glimpse it gives into the life of a cultural journalist at the turn of the past century. Van Rensselaer often referred to herself as the “breadwinner” of the family. “Did she really need the money is beside the point. Van Rensselaer simply wanted to be treated as a professional and to be paid the same as male critics,” Major told me. “She asked Century
editor Richard Watson Gilder in 1897 for the going rate of $30 per thousand words — approximately $760 today.”
CHANGE OBSERVER : RICHARD GREFé AND CHELSEA VANDIVER
Young designers and design students today — we hesitate to call them “the Millennial Generation,” as if they were an object instead of individuals — pursue the rewards of creativity as a profession with enthusiasm, an unhindered sense of possibilities and non-ideological pragmatism. They often exude confidence. When coupled with curiosity, this can fuel extraordinary explorations. A converesation between Chelsea Vandiver, Executive Managing Director for Creative at Ziba, and Ric Grefé, Executive Director of AIGA,
OBSERVATORY : ROB WALKER
The "crowd" interest in design that's emerged over the past decade can seem like a noisy distraction to serious discussion. But maybe the crowdcrit revolution has upsides. Two recent incidents suggest to me that when the online masses take an opinionated interest in design, it's not a problem — it's an opportunity.
PLACES : NANCY LEVINSON
Even as we move ever more fully into the digital era, the power and appeal of the book, of the print artifact, remains strong. But the larger challenges involve not the transition from page to screen but the deep and inexorable shift to a new system, a whole new media galaxy. Places editor Nancy Levinson explores the uncertainty — and the excitement — of our current moment, as we hover between worlds.