A Gift of Flowers

Katya, of non-profit marketing blog, spotted this in the lobby of a tony midtown office building:


It’s a nice gesture — and I’m certainly going to think of this wherever I see those red flowers this season.

>  15 December 2010 | LINK | Filed in ,


Recent happenings on old blog posts:

More Public Schools: In March 2009, I wrote about The Public School a website where people propose, discuss, and coordinate free, offline classes taught by volunteers. The project has since expanded from Los Angeles to 6 more cities including New York, Paris, and San Juan. And still more coming soon! I taught a class on Mapping as Activism last month and had a great time.


Listener Supported: In December 2008, I wrote about, a site for crowd-funded news where anyone can pitch and help pay a journalist to produce a local story. Last week, Public Radio Exchange announced they will pick up the software to launch StoryMarket to bring the model to public radio.


Guerilla Wayfinding in NYC: In March 2006, I proposed a compass rose stencil at the exits of New York City subway stations. Shortly after, stencils started appearing! A year later, City officials decided to implement a few test marks of their own, and I found out the idea had been proposed back in 1992. Now it’s 2010 and new compass stencils have popped up at downtown subway exits.


The Trouble with Hippos: In February 2006, I wrote about the Hippo Water Roller, a rugged, round water container designed to be transport water on tough rural roads. Last year, Alissa Walker reported on some of the obstacles the project encountered with extended use, and when trying to scale up production.


Public Designer: My first article for Communication Arts ran in February 2005 on citizens designing for better government. It included several examples orchestrated by Sylvia Harris. This month the AIGA published a great interview with her that’s worth checking out. Harris is a public designer if ever there was.


Get the E out of NYC: In 2004, I wrote about New York City’s trial collection of electronic waste for recycling. On May 29, 2010, New York State decided it’s illegal to throw away your electronic waste in the regular trash. Governor Patterson just signed a producer responsibility law requiring manufacturers to pay for collection and recycling of e-waste from consumers (including individuals, schools, municipalities, small businesses and non-profits.)


Invisible City

Why is New York City’s census count always so low? In addition some concern about a history of census abuse targeting minorities, there’s a whole host of ways people bend the rules to live here. Folks may not want to be counted if you live in off-the-books housing, with off-the-books tenants, or do off-the-books work for a living.

And though immigration is a perennially hot-button issue, I wonder whether this latest flare-up has more to do with mid-term elections or suppressing counts (thus money and power) in non-white districts where Democrats tend to lead.

>  22 May 2010 | LINK | Filed in , ,
Clothing Slashed. “It is winter. A third of the city is poor. And unworn clothing is being destroyed nightly.” Brief NY Times piece exposes big clothing retailers, particularly H&M, destroying clothes before discarding instead of donating or recycling.
>  7 January 2010 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,
Bodega Down Bronx. bodega-down.jpg“Where does the food in your bodega come from? Who decides whether to stock tortilla chips or salad greens, and how much they’ll cost? How come it’s easier to find fresh fruits and vegetables in Brooklyn Heights than in the South Bronx? What’s the connection between the incidence of diabetes and the food market supply chain?” Bodega Down Bronx is a 30-minute video produced by Jonathan Bogarín, a group of Bronx students and the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Interviewing residents, bodega owners, distributors, politicians, and health professionals, it’s a fantastic, holistic breakdown of the day-to-day realities that flow from public policy, and what you can do about it.
>  4 January 2010 | LINK | Filed in , , ,
desigNYC. “We created desigNYC with the mission of improving life in NYC by connecting nonprofits and community groups in need of design services with professional, pro bono design resources.” More on the backstory here. The deadline for designers to apply is January 1!
>  24 December 2009 | LINK | Filed in
Design the Next New York City Condom Package. Free NYC CondomsIf you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere. Last year the New York City Health Department gave away 41 million condoms. Now they are inviting you to design next year’s wrapper. The deadline for entries is January 22, 2010. Read more at the NY Times or the official condom site.
>  15 December 2009 | LINK | Filed in ,
The High Line is Open!. After 10 years of lobbying, fundraising, design and development by the Friends of the High Line, the first phase of the High Line is now officially open to the public. The High Line is an elevated railway along the west side of Manhattan being converted into a unique public park. Read more about the opening in the NY Times. I wrote about the role of design in the Friends’ advocacy work in Communication Arts in May 2004 and again in May 2009.

>  8 June 2009 | LINK | Filed in , ,

New York City Area

New York City Income DoughnutI’m sure I’ve heard this term in passing, but today in a meeting with a foundation that’s historically focused on grassroots groups in New York City it really hit home how gentrification is pushing people to further strata of the urban donut. In the selection of its cover graphic, the organization chose to zoom out, widen the map and refer not to “New York City,” but the “New York City Area.”

The org, it seems, is increasingly working with people who can’t afford to actually live in the City, but who still work or organize there — people living in northeastern New Jersey, north of the Bronx or east of Queens.

It sounds a bit like “Bay Area” vs “San Francisco.” Something larger than the property lines of the five boroughs but smaller than the tri-state region or New York metropolitan area.

>  10 December 2008 | LINK | Filed in ,
Underground Typography. 1957: “It’s a big job. But for the sake of the subway itself and for the sake of the city it serves and for the people of that city it must be done soon.” For all the urban type spotters, typographer and historian Paul Shaw turns out an epic history on the evolution of type and wayfinding design in the NYC (and a few other) subway systems. Of particular interest is the push and pull of internal and external influences, and the spread of good ideas from one transit system to another across the Atlantic.
NYC Subway Signage
Previously from Shaw on this blog: typography and fascist architecture in Rome.
>  24 November 2008 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

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