Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wooster Collective

The Wooster Collective was founded in 2001 and is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating ephemeral art placed on streets in cities around the world.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Audio Architecture

Much of our aural landscape is carefully engineered by twenty two "audio architects" in Fort Mill, South Carolina. In this New Yorker article, David Owen describes how much Muzak has changed. Instead of bland "elevator music" Muzak now draws on more than 1.5 million songs, analyzes the "topology"--the cultural and temporal associations carried by tunes--to craft hundreds of disitinctive aural soundscapes.

Their efforts help distinguish the brand identity and shopping environment of Old Navy from the Gap. I am fascinated by the degree to which elaborate data collecting, design, and analytic techniques are used to create the environments we inhabit. These environments may be more enjoyable and diverse than older environments, but we have much less of an understanding, let alone the power to reshape, how and why these newer environments are constructed.

Monday, February 19, 2007

New City Life

Jan Gehl's earlier book, Life Between Buildings is one of the most sensitive explorations of the relationship between the built environment and vibrant social life. His new book, New City Life, has just been published.

B-Zone: Becoming Europe and Beyond

B-ZONE is a territorial research and collaborative art project on the transformation of the social and political geographies stretching from Southeast Europe (the Balkans) to Turkey and the Caucasus.

This project examines the role of three infrastructures--an oil pipeline, a highway, and a satellite telecommunication system--in the creation of identity.

Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?

This book, co-authored by Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter, integrates perspectives from a wide variety of disicplines to explore how the audible aspects of physical space contribute to the fabric of human culture.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Global South Mobility Library

This section of Youtube contains 76 video clips of problematic urban traffic patterns, providing a glimpse of a wide variety of urban spaces.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

G-Econ Project at Yale University

This web site offers a dramatic representation of the concentration of economic activity at a national level.

Beyond Broadcast 2007

"On February 24th, MIT Comparative Media Studies will host a conference in collaboration with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. The one-day event will be held at MIT, and is entitled “Beyond Broadcast: From Participatory Culture to Participatory Democracy.” It will bring together industry experts, academic leaders, and political activists for panel discussions and focused working groups.

Attendees will explore the means, the message, and the meaning of the post-midterm, pre-presidential YouTube moment. Broadcast media have long played a powerful role in shaping political culture and mediating citizen engagement in the democratic process, and the conference will examine how participatory culture is putting the tools of media creation and critique in the hands of citizens themselves."

Smart Space

There is a lot of buzz around the concept of creating a brand or identity for a city. Ideo is a design firm that has developed an innovative set of practices for developing a formal community vision. This activity stands in an uncertain relationship between public relations and urban planning and it seems like a fertile area for urban communication scholars to contribute to. This article discusses the Ideo experience in Kansas City.


A handful of dramatic spaces gain the bulk of attention from the media, the design community and academic researchers. It is also important to think about the landscape that serves as the foundation for most social interaction and urban communication. This web site is dedicated to the landscape that Frederic Jameson has termed "junkspace."

Shrinking Cities: Art Dealing With Vanishing Populations

The world of global flows is shaped by clusters of innovation, massive expansion, and migration. Cities across the globe face opportunities and challenges brought on by an aging population, and economic transformation.