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BIG data, urban design, architecture

Patterns otherwise invisible are made possible by ultra wide angle cameras. It's even more impressive when one watches the video (this clip from about 5:10). "TheRidge" is a new film about mountain-biker Danny Macaskill from RedBull and other supporters, showing a mountain bike ride on the severe ridge of a mountain. Prior to technology enabling us to see such patterns, this understanding of phenomena was impossible. According to Brian Arthur, in The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves new technology enables us to see phenomena differently. It opens our eyes to new understandings. The goal of course is to use a phenomena to an effect: to make our, and our fellow human beings,

surfing with Alessandro Baricco: an essay on the mutation of culture

Very strange... seeing a new book by Alessandro Baricco, The Barbarians: An Essay on the Mutation of Culture at the checkout counter at Eataly, Chicago. Yes one could read a tabloid, but... Two previous reads by Baricco were excellent: Silk, and The Ocean Sea. And yet this new book, presented in tabloid manner, and with a title that sounded ugly and uninteresting, caught my eye. I bought it. Yes Baricco is onto something! Challenging many of our deepest cultural thoughts, the book reminds me of my first trip to the Santa Fe Institute in 1993, for a Cultural Evolution Workshop. In the most lighthearted manner Baricco examines the mutations occurring in our global society, heavily influenced b

living design history

A client asked us why we would propose to keep a mediocre old building on a new project. After all, we are proposing a much larger building, with significantly newer technology. A quick thought occurs: it is not worth saving. Mediocrity should be removed, such that creative energies can flow freely. Tearing down multistory buildings is a violent act, yet it is rarely questioned in our pursuit of the next great thing. The wood and masonry framed structure in the above image is mediocre. It is one of millions in Asia where buildings host lively street life and residential activity above. It is surrounded by the latest design effort: 50 story buildings and high-end retail malls. Maintaining suc

forums of civic engagement

It was a surprise to see Frank so honest. The pictured gesture is the logical representation of Frank and his clients towards 98% of people in this world. He appears happily “smug” in a video of the incident: El arquitecto Frank Gehry dedica una peineta a las críticas a su obra. It is possible he, and they, are unaware of many socio-economic challenges. Two thoughts about Frank's corrupt vision of civic engagement. The first a well written article about the limits of Frank's work by Hal Foster: "The great irony is that Gehry fans tend to confuse his arbitrariness with freedom, and his self-indulgence with expression." And secondly a sense of positive Civic Engagement sought by Lawrence Lessi

kinds of architecture and the public

Broad and general words, in this case ‘architecture,’ can provoke many opinions and incite emotional retorts by practitioners and observers alike. A recent and well referenced article editorially summarizes one viewpoint on the current American architectural discourse. “Architecture Continues To Implode: More Insiders Admit The Profession Is Failing” begins with a bold headline, and admittedly the profession is in disarray. And yet by glossing over distinct domains within the practice of architecture the article is limited to dramatizing the dialogue. Uncovering knowledge from this dialogue is possible with honest comprehension of the viewpoints and clearer methods of analysis. Dramatizing t

blogging ideas along the way