Monthly Archives: July 2007

Social Design

“Design is people”. Jane Jacobs

There are some design groups doing some interesting social work. I came across Design 21, a socially conscious design network whose mission is to inspire social activism through design. Design 21 is a social network that connects people who are interested in exploring ways that design can positively impact the world. This reminds me a lot of Bruce Mau Design’s Massive Change.

In case you were wondering (and pulled from their website).

Q: What is Social Design?

A: It’s design for the greater good.

We want to use the power of good design for greater purpose.

We believe the real beauty of design lies in its potential to improve life. That potential first manifests itself as a series of decisions that result in a series of consequences. The practice of social design considers these decisions on a greater scale, understanding that each step in the design process is a choice that ripples out into our communities, our world and our lives. These choices are the result of informed ideas, greater awareness, larger conversations and, most importantly, the desire to do good. Social design is design for everyone’s sake.

Excellent.

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Demographics and the built environment

The podcast I did on demographics is now available online. My focus was on population growth, ageing populations and urban migration.

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Do Suburbs Make for More Religion?

I am starting to wonder whether the increase in religion in the United States has anything to do with the fact that so many Americans live in the suburbs. Does the resulting lack of contact and sense of community drive people to jump into their cars and head to regular Sunday meetings with other humans? It’s just a thought. Living in London, I have grown to appreciate the community feel of former London villages, which now serve as high streets populated with retail and amenities. I can’t imagine ever living in an isolated suburb. The beauty of the city neighborhood is that you can reach out and connect whenever you want to. One is not forced to use a cup of sugar as a pretext to make contact. Although religious services may not strike some of us as community-feeling, they are definitely community-oriented. What is a church, temple or mosque, but a communal place for people to feel part of something meaningful.

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Visualizing Globalization

I had the chance to meet a scientis/ artist today who has developed a multi-media platform which will allow her to pull visuals, geospatial maps, and stats in real time in order to create a more accurate and visually rich portrayal of how we are affecting the environment globally. The group is called Eikosphere and is led by photojournalist Catherine Cunningham along with her business partner and media entrepreneur Jo Sowicki. Jo was just the principal behind much of the content on Sky tv and has a track record of dabbling in interactive media. Their hope is to move the global sustainable discussion within the political arena to a more active, solution-driven place.Yet another super hybrid.

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