PLACES : NANCY LEVINSON
The Great Depression of the 1930s inspired FDR's New Deal, which built thousands of public works that remain vital to this day. Our Great Recession has so far failed to spur a new New Deal, even as essential American infrastructure decays and collapses. Why? Certainly there's no shortage of innovative design thinking. The real dilemma is that we confront our crisis in a market-driven culture that's suspicious of public sector solutions — and more, of the very idea of the public.
CHANGE OBSERVER : TONY WHITFIELD
As a designer, I know there are tools we use daily that could be deployed in response to situations like this. I am also wise enough to recognize the conceit in thinking that I would have the right skills and resources to address these issues effectively. Responding to disaster was not what I imagined or embraced as my life's work, and this is not the time to entertain dabblers.
OBSERVATORY : STEVEN HELLER
"The generosity of your invitation to me to speak on this important occasion leaves me a trifle bewildered. I am so accustomed to being told to keep my opinions to myself that being thus unexpectedly encouraged to express them gives me some cause to wonder if I have, or ever had, any opinions upon the graphic arts worth expressing." Graphic designer T. M. Cleland, gearing up to chastise the AIGA in 1940.
CHANGE OBSERVER : ERNEST BECK
As aid and relief supplies reach Haiti to help earthquake victims, attention is focusing on immediate needs such as food, water, medical care and temporary shelter. Shelter plays a critical role in emergency relief as a way not only to protect victims from weather conditions but also to provide a semblance of family and community life amid horrific conditions and collapsed infrastructure.
CHANGE OBSERVER : THE EDITORS
Dateline Aspen. An on-going report on progress on the six projects developed at the Aspen Design Summit in November 2009.
PLACES : CITYLAB
To complement Linda Samuels's article on the WPA 2.0 competition and symposium, we are pleased to feature expanded visual presentations and videos of the finalists' projects.
PLACES : LINDA SAMUELS
The WPA — Works Progress Administration — was the largest of the various agencies that made up FDR's New Deal. It was a big-picture federal response to the Great Depression that created millions of jobs and funded thousands of projects, including major infrastructure and public buildings. Can we envision a new WPA in response to the Great Recession? This was the challenge that cityLab, the urban design think tank at UCLA, set for itself with WPA 2.0, an ambitious program that's so far comprised a competition and exhibition, with a web-based exhibition scheduled for next month. Here, as part of our intensifying focus on infrastructure, Linda Samuels reports on the WPA 2.0 competition and symposium, and on the challenges of moving from vision to implementation.
OBSERVATORY : ADRIAN SHAUGHNESSY
A world colonized by brands is the theme of a new film by French designers and filmmakers H5. Logorama
is a slick animated movie that appears to lampoon both the Hollywood blockbuster and the world of branding. But is that really what it is doing?
CHANGE OBSERVER : JANE MARGOLIES
Five teams of architects, landscape designers, urban planners and artists propose how sites along New York Harbor might prepare for rising sea levels and catastrophic storms.
OBSERVATORY : MICHAEL BIERUT
For more than fifty years, arguments against nuclear proliferation have been contentious and complicated. The Doomsday Clock translates all the arguments to a simple — a brutally simple — visual analogy. The Clock suggests imminent apocalypse by marrying the looming approach of midnight and the tense countdown of a ticking time bomb.
PLACES : BETH WEINSTEIN
For well over a century the fantastical destruction and rebirth of New York City has been the subject of books, cartoons, comics, paintings, movies, television shows and multimedia art. As architect Beth Weinstein says, in her review of Max Page's The City End
, "Anxiety about the city's readiness to cope with attack long predates the events of September 11, 2001. From the 18th century to the present, preparedness, as concept and reality, has been an always ungraspable goal, given the city's escalating and diversifying population as well as the rise of increasingly unruly means of destruction, in the hands of real or imaginary enemies." Those enemies are still afoot — this Sunday's season premiere of 24
finds Jack Bauer and his fellow counter-terrorists operating from their new base in NYC.
PLACES : QUILIAN RIANO, DK OSSEO-ASARE
Buenaventura is one of Colombia's most profitable seaports, and its most notorious city. Plagued by drug traffickers and paramilitary gangs, poverty and corruption, it was called the country's "deadliest city" in a New York Times
report. This past summer architects Quilian Riano and Dk Osseo-Asare ignored the warnings of friends and family and traveled to the port on the Pacific. They've returned with a multidimensional narrative — analyses, interviews and images — of the struggling city, where the proposed solutions might be part of the problem.
OBSERVATORY : RACHEL BERGER
In mid-September, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) released a redesigned map of its com-muter rail system. Unlike the notorious 1972 Massimo Vignelli redesign of the New York City subway map, the new BART map didn't make much of a splash in graphic design circles.
OBSERVATORY : ERIC BAKER
Here are Today's images.