July 2007

INDEX: Design to Improve Life. Based in Denmark, INDEX: is a non-profit organization promoting design “that improves important aspects of human life - worldwide.” They do so through a bi-annual design competition (boasting “the biggest design award in the world”) and exhibition, conference, and publication. 337 industrial and software designs were nominated for the 2007 INDEX: AWARD shows of which 110 were shortlisted. See the top nominees in the categories: Body, Home, Work, Play, and Community.=20 Some of my favorites: (via)  ¶
Accidents Halved As Street is Stripped of 'Safety' Features. “Accident levels have almost halved in a London street where ‘safety’ equipment such as guard rails, white lines and signposts were stripped out. The redesign of Kensington High Street has been such a success that the ‘naked road’ concept is set to be rolled out to other cities in Britain and around the world. Engineers removed railings, scores of signposts and combined traffic lights with lamp posts to reduce clutter.” This sounds more like simplification and aggregation of existing signals, though that’s less sensational than the angle that “safety” kills.  ¶
There Are 12 Kinds of Ads in the World. Slate digs up a 1978 analysis of propaganda techniques by Donald Gunn an ad man for Leo Burnett. Posted as a slideshow with associated YouTube videos of recent ads.  ¶
Plate aids diabetes weight loss. “The researchers tested the effect of using a calibrated dinner plate and breakfast bowl that helps people to eat healthy sized portions.... Lead researcher Dr Sue Pederson said the results were comparable to those achieved by taking expensive weight loss drugs.” (via)  ¶
Mapping the Regional Express Rail. TRX“In its 1996 Third Regional Plan, the Regional Plan Association describes a rapid transit line in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx that could be built almost entirely on pre-existing rail rights of way and would connect with at least twenty existing subway lines. The so-called “Triboro RX” (“TRX” for short) presents a unique opportunity to provide mobility and accessibility to New Yorkers living or working within these three boroughs, at a fraction of the cost of most transit projects of similar size. In my part-time internship at the RPA, which ends today, the lion’s share of the work I have done has focused on fleshing out the idea of this line.” And he did it with mostly open source tools: GPL mapping and GIS software, GPS to digital camera sync, Google Map maship, population and commuter demand modeling... Mike’s data sources and results are up on his TRX wiki.  ¶
Public Design Center. “Public Design Center, Inc. is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in January of 2007 with the mission of providing design-studio production for groups and projects which focus on economic development and sustainability in underserved communities.

We provide print and web production for projects in impoverished areas with emphasis on rural issues, urban planning, bio, wind and solar energy, economic development, organic farming, energy conservation, microfinance, and sustainable building.

Our work includes presentation materials, identity, instructions, typography, illustration, signage, and web deployment.”  ¶
Solar Cookers. A perspective from Cook’s Illustrated.  ¶

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