Repost: My Wheels are Turning

10 03 2011

Thanks for the repost.

Social Exchange: Much More Than Idle Chit-Chat

The goal of increasing social exchange, planned and spontaneous, in our public spaces is a bedrock feeding the insight behind this blog. Our public spaces are the impetuous for connecting individuals and building community, which in turn drives community resiliency. We could be doing a lot more in creating spaces that foster this activity in our commons.

The project ”I Just Wanted To Say” is attempting to do that by creating priority seating for conversationalist. The project shows how far a small amount of investment and a creative idea can be used to highlight and encourage social exchange.

It’s more than friendliness that is being promoted. It’s community. It’s the spreading of ideas. It’s innovation. In fact, it’s an economic development tool. High levels of social exchange are why innovations tend to originate out of our great cities. Here in northern Michigan, where density will never be great and many people live here precisely so they DON’T have to talk to anyone, we need to be that much more creative in our public spaces to foster those exchanges. Fortunately, we need not invent the wheel. We can learn from projects like this that already are happening in other communities.

Repost: ‘I Just wanted to Say’ on Burning Man Blog

4 03 2011

Thanks to Jess for repost on Burning Man

Design is too often seen as a superfluous and elitist preoccupation. In this project, however, Yen moves beyond the realm of logos, posters and objects and uses design as opportunity and agent for change. This project re-imagines design concepts typically found in public transport signs as an opportunity for interaction and conversation. Namely, it takes the idea of “priority seating” and adds a unique twist.

Easily accessible seats on public transport are universal. They have traditionally been designated for elderly and disabled based on both a culture of courtesy and handicap access legislation. This project uses similar visual design to create “priority seating for people who want conversation,” helping to cultivate “a culture of friendliness.”

Finally, someone has articulated what I’ve been trying to say for awhile. “Design as opportunity and agent for change”….I’m totally going have to steal that line.

What makes this project interesting — and relevant to the cultivation of Black Rock City spirit — is its call for participation

I only know a little about Burning Man, from a documentary I saw once. It is grounded in 10 principles, which I think are strong ideas that could be easily adapted principles to urban community building (and good collaborative design process):

1. Radical Inclusion
2. Gifting
3. Decommodification
4. Radical Self-reliance
5. Radical Self-expression
6. Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
7. Civic Responsibility
8. Leaving No Trace
9. Participation
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
10. Immediacy
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience

Repost: Geotagged on Design Boom

4 03 2011

Repost from Design Boom.
This is pretty exciting, as it is a site I’ve followed and blogged ideas from the past. It feels like the biggest design site this project has been on to date.

Repost on

28 02 2011

Thanks for post PSFK.
‘PSFK is the go-to source for new ideas for creative business.”


Check out Dory’s other urban space related posts like – Bus Stop Video Games in San Francisco

Yahoo has installed digital video screens, on which commuters can play video games against each other, at 20 bus shelters across the downtown core.

Passengers identify which of the 20 specified neighborhoods they would like to represent when playing, and the one that wins the two-month long contest — presumable the area with the highest score — will win a block party featuring the band OK GO.


The BioBus

17 02 2011

More conversations on a bus…

The BioBus

After purchasing a 1974 San Francisco transit bus, Dr. Ben created the BioBus, a high-tech laboratory on wheels, boasting an array of advanced scientific equipment.  The Cell Motion BioBus is a mobile science laboratory. Our students explore the world around them with research-grade microscopes, and make their own discoveries under the guidance of professional scientists

The StartupBus

17 02 2011

More conversations to be had on buses….

The StartupBus

As many good things do, the StartupBus began life as a half serious but fully beer-infused joke about driving a bus from San Francisco to Austin for SxSW 2010, with a bunch of friends attempting to launch a startup by the time they arrived.

In 2010, forming into six teams ion the bus, they produced six functional prototype web services and presented them to a panel of high profile investors. The inaugural bus received a lot of exposure, had the winning team offered funding to turn their prototype into an actual business, and created a community of entrepreneurs who still work together on their subsequent projects.

Now in its 2nd year, an dexpanded to 6 cities, it brings together the best do-ers, thinkers and designers who want to hack a real startup together over a few sleepless days in a confined space moving at 60mph.

This is why Republicans hate mass transit

5 02 2011

Repost via GOOD-

In case you often wonder, as I certainly do, why so many Republicans openly mock mass transit, this chart (click through for a bigger version) tells you pretty much everything you need to know: Republicans represent suburbia, Democrats represent cities.

Even in the Australian context (local and State government levels), it feels pretty clear that investment into road and public transport infrastructure is forever a contentious political issue.

Free Public Transport for Homeless

5 02 2011

Repost via GOOD:

Santa Clara County has the highest median household income of any county in California (PDF), and now its residents are spreading some of that wealth.

Beginning in April, anyone enrolled in the county’s program to help homeless find permanent housing can also apply to get a photo ID and up to 1,850 free-ride transit stickers on the Valley Transit Authority’s light-rail and bus lines. The stickers will be good for three months, at which point the rider can re-apply for more, if necessary.

With an estimated 3,500 of the county’s 7,200 homeless people expected to take advantage of the offer, the local government expects to pay about $111,000 per year for the program. But Bob Dolci, who heads up Homeless Concerns in San Jose and will oversee the free-rides project, says he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“This will enable them to get to medical appointments, job appointments or anything related to helping deal with their homelessness,” he says. “Absolutely, it’s a lifeline.”

Subway Art Blog

20 01 2011

I found Subway Art Blog,  via a Map Magazine link to art about MTA Metro cards, only to discover a WHOLE site of my favourite awesomeness. Public transport + art + community personalizing space.   Worth a browse!

The New York subway is truly unique. In its 100+ years of existence, it has become so much more than just a mode of transportation. It is an experience: a canvas for artists, a venue for musicians and a sort of dendrochronological record of the city’s collective subconscious.

Since creating this site, I have become more and more aware of the many subtle alterations people make to the subway. I have also discovered the abundance of art the subway system has inspired. Countless artists, including Reginald Marsh and Mark Rothko, have depicted life in the underground. Other artists, such as graffiti legends Keith Haring and Eric Haze, have chosen to use the subway system as their canvas. Whether a famous artist, common vandal or simply a commuter en route to work, every rider leaves his or her mark on the subway in one way or another. The intention of this blog is to document these markings as well as the art inspired by, made in or performed in the subway.

-Jowy Romano, Editor

NYC’s Hottest Subway Routes: 36 Saucy Snaps

20 01 2011

Repost via Map Magaazine, via Refinery 29

Unless you’ve got a driver or a phobia of underground spaces, you’ve hopped a ride on the subway, and, unless you’re asexual, we guarantee there’s been a lad or lady that struck your fancy. In NYC, our mass transit experiences are full of snatched glances, sudden crushes, and lots of “what ifs?”. Really, it’s no wonder that the majority of the Big Apple’s Craiglist’s “Missed Connections” are train-related….
Read more at –


Union Square,  L train, 2pm  (my old line, and my kind of cute… :)


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