Matt Knutzen performs a different kind of public service than Bruce Barrett of the School Construction Authority or Jeffrey Roth of the Fire Department of New York, two recent installments in our Profiles in Public Service series. He works at the New York Public Library, overseeing NYPL’s incomparable collection of maps, and looking for ways to turn items from the library’s vast catalogue into “actionable spatial data.” — urbanomnibus.net
Find out how, since the date of your birth, your life has progressed; including how many times your heart has beaten, and how far you have travelled through space.
Investigate how the world around you has changed since you've been alive; from the amount the sea has risen, and the tectonic plates have moved, to the number of earthquakes and volcanoes that have erupted. Grasp the impact we've had on the planet in your lifetime... — BBC
Public parks do much more than provide places to play, relax or exercise – they can also preserve portions of the natural landscapes, and remind us of our city’s history. In Los Angeles’ urban core, where public parks are few and much of the landscape has already been paved in concrete...
Birds have remarkable flight capabilities...They make it look effortless, but engineering a drone to do the same is anything but. It’s a major engineering feat to harness the evolutionary talents of a bird and translate them into a robot that can deliver packages to your doorstep. By understanding how birds have mastered the ability to swoop and dive, [Stanford professor David] Lentink and his team [of mechanical engineers] hope to inform microdrone design. — Al Jazeera
Similar to biomimicry (and its correspondent field of architectural thinking), bio-inspired design takes it cues from biological systems, although it entails simplification, enhancement and non-mimetic adaptation of observed phenomena rather than replication. Bio-inspired robotics, specifically...
The new science of neuroaesthetics [...] tells us much about the way pure form is dealt with by the brain. [...] V S Ramachandran, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego, and William Hirstein, a philosopher at Elmhurst College in Illinois, argue that we are innately attuned to recognise things as unified objects – such that we find brushstrokes or architectural features that can be mentally assembled into a coherent whole more beautiful. — aeon.co
The reasons for designing and flying vehicles that are capable of global reach in the time taken to read the morning newspaper are technically attractive and militarily obvious. The economic and social justifications are perhaps less easily pinned down, but are nonetheless compelling. What will be the impact of treating Sydney as a commuter suburb for Beijing, or of being able to visit Antipodean gran for Sunday roast – with a serious prospect of being home in time for dinner and telly? — Washington Post
The Creative City Challenge is a competition for Minnesota-resident architects, landscape architects, urban designers, planners, engineers, scientists, artists, students and individuals of all backgrounds to create and install at the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza an artwork, which is an innovative use of the space and acts as a sociable and participatory platform for scheduled and impromptu onsite programs throughout the summer. — Minneapolis Convention Center
Sunday, October 12:A classic American look, feng shui notwithstanding: Investigating the impact of wealthy Chinese immigrants on suburban Seattle's real estate boom.Saturday, October 11:Indiana Ponders Abolishing Licensing for Architects: Part of a state-wide reconsideration of more than "...
Julia Ingalls continued her Material Witness. In #5 she analyzed "Wings of Desire", "Billy Elliot" and "In the Mood for Love", for lessons about Cultural Gerrymandering. Olaf Design Ninja_ is appreciative "See Julia Ingalis quote above...there is more beer in the fridge...Enjoying this...
The aptly named Quake Column is a knurled pillar of 3-D printed concrete that combines an ancient Incan masonry technique with state-of-the-art manufacturing tools to create a structure that can withstand seismic shocks without mortar or rebar. [...]
It’s an interesting proof of concept, but utilizing a 3-D printer, rather than traditional ceramic manufacturing technique also unlocked a host of other advantages. — wired.com
The city’s board of supervisors voted to legalize and regulate short-term stays through a controversial piece of legislation that has been two years in the making [...]
The key changes include a limit on non-hosted rentals for up to 90 days per year. [...]
[The hosts will] also have to pay the city’s hotel taxes. They — not Airbnb — are responsible for certifying that they’re only hosting 90 days a year and for keeping records that prove this. — techcrunch.com
When Steve Jobs designed a new headquarters for Pixar, he obsessed over ways to structure the atrium, and even where to locate the bathrooms, so that serendipitous personal encounters would occur. Among his last creations was the plan for Apple’s new signature headquarters, a circle with rings of open workspaces surrounding a central courtyard. — Walter Isaacson, Linkedin.com
For two days on the cusp of fall, a gaggle of mayors, journalists, technologists, and civic-minded entrepreneurs convened for The Atlantic’s CityLab 2014 conference in still-balmy downtown Los Angeles. The full title, "Urban Solutions to Global Challenges", jumps off of the presumption that...
Calling Los Angeles streets a “front door to the world and the place where public life and private enterprise connect,” Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city Department of Transportation released a strategic plan Monday aimed at making them safer and more accessible by 2025.
The 61-page report, titled “Great Streets for Los Angeles,” looks toward ending all pedestrian-related deaths, improving safety around public schools and changing the timing of streetlights [...] — Los Angeles Daily News
Included in the plan are initiatives to help the city become more bike-friendly, such as adding more bike corrals on the street and racks to city buses. This comes on the heels of new, state-wide legislation recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown aimed to increase bike safety. Assembly Bill 1193 will...
When Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he did so, for the most part, using the light of the sun that streamed through the windows of the building. And for the past 500 years since then, viewers have admired the results of that work, for the most part, with the help of that same light source. Starting next month...the famous ceiling will be getting a new look in the form of new lights. Some 7,000 LEDs, to be precise [...] — The Atlantic
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