The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

February 28, 2010 at 1:30 am | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • THIS is scary:
    (caption for photo accompanying article):
    “In a Chinese village, this man burns plastic circuit boards to recover the precious metals, releasing toxic smoke. (Photo courtesy StEP-EMPA)”

    tags: e_waste, waste_management, developing_countries, environment

  • Austria’s Passive House in Whistler, BC may be costly at $408 (subsidized) per square foot (although compared to downtown Vancouver or even some Victoria condo costs, it’s not that much), but it’s a beauty and fits right into the West Coast Modern architectural style, too:
    As explained in a story recently published by CBC News, the 3,000-sq.-ft. building cost about $1.23 million U.S. to build, including a $143,000 grant by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, or about $408 per sq. ft. The overall cost might have been higher but for the fact that many of the construction materials, including the wood and interior materials, were donated by Austrian companies and then delivered via container ship to Canada. Also, Whistler donated the land for the project and paid for the piping and utilities. The project collaborators acknowledge that importing materials from Europe is not a green process, but it was done to highlight not only energy efficient design but Austrian products.

    tags: austria, passivhaus, whistler, green_buildings, architecture

  • This is kind of a mind-blowing article, or rather: this is an article that points at some mind-blowing concepts and work and potentials. It’s about using data (derived through geographic information systems) to design (or help structure the design impetus) of urban environments. In particular, it can help urban planners figure out what and how the many, many bits of unbuilt surface in an urban core might be utilized, and it can even be used to re-think “big” infrastructure projects. Some push-back in the comments, but overall this is truly fascinating to ponder…
    Looking through this lens also enables us to think about infrastructure in a new way. The era of massive, expensive, centralized projects like the Big Dig in Boston has passed. “Now, with the ability to model dynamic systems, we can show a much more decentralized collection of resources could provide greater benefit,” de Monchaux says. “If, in the 19th century, it was a biological metaphor that fueled the creation of Central and Golden Gate parks, the idea that a city needs hearts and lungs to grow, there’s now a networked metaphor. The city is a dense network of relationships. The best way to provide infrastructure is to not go in with a meat ax but to practice urban acupuncture, finding thousands of different spots to go into.”

    Much as Google Maps has given us all a staggering new perception of the world we inhabit, this methodology can provide an avenue to a wider understanding of data-driven design, which can most certainly be applied to any number of spatial dilemmas. Other projects in the same vein as Local Code are proliferating: The Long Island Index, for one, uses interactive mapping to highlight opportunities for downtown redevelopment, aggregating a different class of sites than Local Code but following the same path of inquiry.

    tags: nyt, allison_arieff, spatial_fix, spaces, infrastructure, surface_parking_lots, urban_design

  • Worth keeping an eye on:
    …what makes the Living City Block in Denver, Colorado such an important project, defining the ideal ‘cell structure’ for a healthy city in the 21st century. It’s mission? “To create a replicable, scalable and economically viable framework for the resource efficient regeneration of existing cities.“

    Scheduled to launch in Summer 2010, two adjacent city blocks (one street block) in LoDo (Lower Downtown) Denver will become a live demonstration and model for environmentally-conscious business and economic development, and livability.

    tags: denver, living_cities, city_block, urban_renewal, green_strategies

  • This is a great move:
    “The ordinance will allow code exemptions for up to 12 buildings seeking certification through the Living Building Challenge (LBC). The exemptions will allow the buildings to meet LBC prerequisites that require techniques, such as onsite water treatment, that conflict with current land-use and building codes in Seattle (as well as in many other areas of the U.S.). City officials will use the review process to inform future code changes that could make the regulatory landscape friendlier to onsite water and energy strategies. “

    tags: seattle, planning, regulation, green_buildings, living_buildings

  • File this under amusing novelty?
    Chinese artist Shi Jinson created sculptures depicting baby accessories which would fit right in as toys for the Addams Family or for a future Terminator baby. Strollers, cribs, rattles, and walkers are made from razor-sharp blades, making a macabre and bizarre fine art collection.

    tags: art, web_urbanist, sculpture, shi_jinsong, subversive

  • A companion audio-slide-show by John Seabrook to his Dec.21/09 article about Zaha Hadid in The New Yorker. Very interesting, discussion of visual inspiration(s), form, etc., this is a lot better than comparing Hadid’s architecture to fast food snacks like chips (see FastCompany piece).

    tags: john_seabrook, newyorker, zaha_hadid, audiocasts, architecture, starchitecture, rome, maxxi

  • Inspired by John Seabrook’s description of Zaha Hadid’s lunch (which included potato chips), Alissa Walker compares Hadid’s buildings to fast food snacks (hence Snack-itecture). Lots of images – that work, incindentally. Not sure if this is just funny, very insightful, or nasty, …or what.

    tags: fast_company, alissa_walker, zaha_hadid, starchitecture, architecture

  • Illustrated (and linkified) commentary on the Independent UK’s anointing of seven well-known architects as globally recognized starchitects: Foster, Piano, Rogers, Hadid, Gehry, Herzog and de Meuron, Koolhaas. The Independent UK article also contrasts these seven with architecture’s workhorse firm, SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill).

    tags: architecture, starchitecture, flavorwire, kelsey_keith

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

February 21, 2010 at 1:30 am | In business, cities, links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • Interesting strategy: artists using billboards to counteract billboards and direct attention in other ways…

    tags: art, public_art, billboards, los_angeles

  • This is part two of what will be a three part series, by Wes Regan (article originally published on Third i website). Regan delivers a close reading of Vancouver’s position and potential as a high tech center. In particular, I was startled to see government (which is located in Victoria) put on par with big private corporations. That is, as an employer and as a training ground for talent, provincial/state government is similar to a big corporate employer. That Vancouver’s start-up climate might benefit if it were also a government town was something I hadn’t appreciated before. Obviously, though, imagine what would be if the provincial seat left Victoria and moved to Vancouver… Things would not look pretty for Victoria, although Vancouver obviously would benefit. It’s also interesting (and, for someone who lives in Victoria, weird) to see that there are similarities between Victoria and Vancouver in terms of handicaps – except that in Victoria they’re compounded by low density and an even greater “splendid isolation” (can’t beat that island status, especially as we don’t have a bridge). Overall, interesting article; looking forward to part three (part one is available here).
    “This is the 2nd post in a series of 3 that look at Vancouver’s position relative to other major centres of innovation and development. In it I draw from the perspectives of experts at Vancouver’s economic think tank the VEDC (Vancouver Economic Development Commission) and from a growing software development and internet marketing firm based in Yaletown, Thirdi. The first installment looked at availability of office space and inter-city economic competition as factors in firm location. Today we look at the broader implications of our business climate as it relates to our overall geography.” UNQUOTE

    tags: techvibes, wes_regan, vancouver, entrepeneurialism

  • “Masdar City gehört ebenso wie das vom Schweizer Urbanisten Franz Oswald für die Entwicklung energieautarker Siedlungen in ländlichen Regionen Afrikas entwickelte Lowtech-Modell «New Energy Sustainable Town» (NEST) und die grenzübergreifend vernetzte urbane Struktur «Taiwan-Strait-Inkubator» von Raoul Bunschoten und seinem Londoner Büro Chora zu den neuen Entwürfen und Projekten, die im Januarheft der Zeitschrift «Arch+» unter dem Titel «Post-Oil City. Die Geschichte der Zukunft der Stadt» in grössere entwicklungsgeschichtliche Zusammenhänge gestellt werden; eine zugehörige Ausstellung haben die Redaktoren für die Galerien des Instituts für Auslandsbeziehungen («ifa») in Stuttgart und Berlin kuratiert. In die sich mehrfach überschneidenden Abschnitte «Nachhaltigkeit», «Stadtverkehr» und «Stadtsystem» gegliedert, beziehen das inhaltsreiche Heft und die ausstellungstechnisch improvisierte Schau heutige Lösungsvorschläge auf Vorläufer wie die utopischen meta-urbanen Strukturen von Yona Friedman aus den 1950er und 1960er Jahren oder die 1975/76 von Christopher Alexander konzipierte partizipative Stadt Mexicali.”

    tags: post_oil_city, masdar, architecture, urbanplanning, nzz, oil

  • “Cisco signed a deal on Wednesday with Holyoke, Massachusetts to transform the onetime mill town into a “Smart+Connected Community” over the next six-to-twelve months. Cisco has moved aggressively into the smarter city business in the last year as it chases IBM, which started the vogue for wired cities just as the world’s governments were earmarking billions of dollars in stimulus funds for infrastructure. (…)

    The Holyoke deal is significant in that it represents Cisco’s first attempt to rewire an existing city rather than simply build one from scratch, as it’s doing across Asia and the Middle East. “

    Holyoke Canal System

    Holyoke Canal System

    tags: cisco, holyoke, smartcities, cities, technology

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Bamberton, Public Participation, Design Thinking

February 20, 2010 at 11:59 pm | In ideas, innovation, land_use, leadership, local_not_global, politics, real_estate, vancouver_island | Comments Off on Bamberton, Public Participation, Design Thinking

This afternoon I attended a forum on land use and public participation, Competing Values: Land Use and Public Consultation. The forum was sparked by an installation, Bamberton: Contested Landscape by Cedric and Nathan Bomford, at Open Space. That installation is itself informed by the redevelopment of Bamberton.

Situated to the north of Victoria, Bamberton lies on the shores of Saanich Inlet, across from Butchart Gardens. It used to be a cement manufacturing plant, founded in 1912. Operations ceased in 1980, and in 1982 the property was sold. Various redevelopment plans have come (and gone); the most recent is described here. Oh, and here.

This afternoon’s forum dealt with development and land use issues outside Victoria, many of which I’m not familiar with, especially as they relate to forest lands (including Crown lands – I confess that I have a lot of difficulty wrapping my head around the idea of “Crown” land) and greenfield development / sprawl. (Bamberton is a brownfield development)

I came away with the sense that development outside the city of Victoria tilts heavily toward benefiting developers, who don’t appear to be legally obligated to consult with the community before crafting proposals that are generally not publicly presented until it’s time for a public hearing (which only happens if the project requires rezoning or variances).

The question, then, is how do you get public participation that’s timely, and how do you structure a collaborative process – versus a stand-off (which is what seems to happen too often presently).

Guy Dauncey was one of the participants this afternoon and as usual his comments struck me as the most incisive and progressive. While most of the other participants and audience members seemed willing not only to embrace but also to propagate an adversarial narrative (that it’s impossible to work with the current BC government, that developers are all just greedy SOBs out to make a killing, that all developers are liars who can’t be trusted, that the human footprint is in all instances bad, that development must stop, that we already have “too many people” on Vancouver Island, and so on and so forth), Dauncey chose to think about how development can actually be beneficial and – by extension – how the process for public participation might actually be made to work.

Which brings me to design thinking. In The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking Is The Next Competitive Advantage, Roger Martin distinguishes two approaches or mind-sets to solving problems: one favors validity, the other reliability. Today’s forum allowed me to think about how Martin’s concepts apply to real life situations, such as NIMBYism and public participation, which too often seem downright intractable.

Martin posits “design thinking” (based on abductive reasoning) as the basis for moving forward productively when caught between the contradictions of validity and reliability. At the risk of bowdlerizing Martin’s concepts, here’s some what I took away from his book and how it might apply to public participation around community planning and land use issues.

People who operate from the principle of reliability use the past to predict what the future will bring. This means that they will reject “vision”-based and “unproven” value-based ideas (unproven because they can’t “prove” their validity through past successes). Obviously, a truly new vision (for the future) isn’t based on a past success (otherwise it wouldn’t be a vision, it would be hindsight). Reliability-oriented thinkers want quantifiable values, they want good odds, they want to meet budgets and face bean-counters with confidence.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who want valid outcomes. Reliability doesn’t figure too strongly because what’s most important is that a project or an outcome is valid. That means it has to feel right, it has to ring true, and it has to meet needs that might not even be fully identified yet. While reliability predicts the future based on the past and has a strong quantitative bias, validity can’t base itself on the past and has a strong qualitative bias.

In a corporate business that’s traditionally reliability-based, it’s very difficult to let validity get anything resembling an equal footing. In land use decisions and development, there’s clearly a very strong bias toward reliability, which makes all attempts at introducing validity seem airy-fairy and touchy-feely.

This is where the community-based activists and others who are striving to create a climate of positive public participation face an uphill battle. The people who live in a given community want validity – they want validation of their way of life, of the place where they live, of the dreams they have for the future. Their vision can seem creepily backward to reliability-driven business people, while the business people’s focus on reliability appears short-sighted and at best unimaginative, at worst greedy (hence the notion that developers have horns, a tail, and cloven hooves) to “the community,” however it’s defined.

The “reliable” model of development for the most part has assumed that the past is the best guarantor of future successes, and if in the past we developed land in a certain way, then in the present we must do the same. After all, there are bottom lines to be met and accountants and shareholders to face.

What communities in the path of reliability-driven development are instead saying is “our concerns are valid, we have needs and visions of our own, and we want to be heard.” This is not to say that the community is always right. As Guy Dauncey pointed out, every single railroad in Great Britain was opposed by community members who wanted no part of a railroad, and preferred the horse and buggy instead. Today, we (rightly) laugh at the backwardness of opposing rail, given that cars not only swept the railway aside, but contributed to bad land use and sprawl. (We should be so lucky as to have a great rail system…) So, while the community wants validation, it cannot expect to be validated in all aspects …because, frankly, it might be wrong on some points. (This is important to point out, because “community” has become a sacred cow in many ways, and it’s almost sacrilegious to suggest that community might actually be wrong. But indeed it can be.)

When reliability and validity go head to head, we too often seem to get either a stalemate (a protracted fight that gets progressively nastier), or nothing happens (the developer gives up, which can leave the community with a Pyrrhic victory if the result is loss of economic growth), or “reliability” wins (cookie-cutter / sprawl development, lost farmland/ greenfield, etc.).

In turn, public participation itself becomes more self-selective: seeing validity thinking trumped or sharpened into an anti-development sword, people who actually want good development or who prefer to avoid confrontation opt out of public participation entirely. Why bother, they reason, if it’s only for extremists?

That’s where design thinking can help – to bridge the gap between reliability and validity, and to design a process for public participation. It seemed to me that this was the point Dauncey was making in one of his comments. While many of the other speakers suggested that it’s already too late to parlay with developers, Dauncey’s idea of involving the reliability-driven developer much earlier in a conversation with the validity-driven community made a lot more sense (unfortunately, he was in a distinct minority at the forum, and his idea was not pursued by any of the other speakers). But as Roger Martin noted in his book, design thinkers need to understand and speak the language of reliability and validity if there’s to be any hope of having a positive conversation to resolve the problems we face.

Judging by today’s discussion, it’s a challenge that clearly applies to land use, development, and public participation. I’d prefer any day to work with Dauncey and those like him who can meet the challenge of design thinking than to limit myself to a validity that remains only a vision …or devolves into a stalemate.

Subversive Graphic

February 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm | In 2010_olympics | 5 Comments

Oh, the power of images…

I just saw this on a local forum:

Olympics graphic, subverted

Olympics graphic, subverted


Harsh, but funny.

This graphic is effective, reminds me (in a way) of the missing cat poster, which also conveyed its message very economically.




UPDATE: Via Rob Randall, a pointer to PETA‘s adaptation:

This one is brutal…

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

February 14, 2010 at 1:31 am | In comments, links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • Excellent article by Sam Anderson, “The Human Shuffle,” about chatroulette.

    tags: chatroulette, socialmedia, socialtheory, sam_anderson, nymag

  • JP Rangaswami on what’s good about the World Economic Forum at Davos. Excellent article, with links for social media sites that bring WEF activity into the public sphere.
    “People who come to Davos have an incredibly rich array of options as to what they could participate in. In every case, they can pretty much be guaranteed access to some of the world’s experts on the issue. Whatever the issue. And it’s a broad range of issues addressed, far richer than the regular media fare of doom-laden politics and economics. Dismal sciences both of them.

    Davos is about bringing an eclectic group of enthusiastic people together for a high-intensity burst of activity, providing them access to expertise and to empowerment, and giving them an environment where stuff happens. “

    tags: confused_of_calcutta, jp_rangaswami, davos, world_economic_forum, activism

  • I’m really not sure that putting the equivalent of a high-tech textile paper bag over an ugly building can really “fix” an ugly building. On the other hand, maybe it’s an idea whose time has come, especially since it’s an alternative to wasteful demolition & rebuilding?
    “The “Tower Skin” concept is a transparent cocoon made of high performance composite mesh textile that is wrapped around an existing structure to act as a high-performance “micro climate”. Surface tension allows the membrane to freely stretch around walls and roof elements achieving maximum visual impact with minimal material effort. The skin is also easily repairable, is removable and upgradable and features a self-cleaning coating.”

    tags: architecture, facadism, retrofit, skylines

  • “Formed in 1974, Business for the Arts is a national business association dedicated to increasing the quantity and quality of partnerships between Business and the Arts through a cohesive set of programs that foster and promote business leadership in the Arts, facilitate funding relationships and connect business volunteers to the Arts. Founding members include Great West Life, London Life & Canada Life and Royal Bank of Canada – businesses that have set the standard for arts support in this country.

    We are committed to enhancing the quality of life in Canadian communities by increasing private sector support of the arts.”

    tags: arts, arts_development, arts_funding, canada, business

  • Love the sound of this panel (for a 2010 May conference in Seattle):
    Occupant behavioral change is key to the success of high-performance buildings in all areas, including energy, water usage, and livability. This session will focus on strategies to “recommission” occupant behavior. Participants will be tasked with imagining the future for occupants and providing creative solutions to solve the framed problems. Some examples of discussion questions: Should tThe changing nature of work, including increased capability to work in a multiplicity of spaces throughout the day with remote connection to people and information, . s. How should this impact the way we condition, furnish and use office space? ? Should conditioning be based on occupancy levels? 2. Should the building’s heating system always be required to keep the building at 72 to 75 degrees, or should the indoor temperature fluctuate with the seasons? Does occupant knowledge about the building’s performance lead to behavioral change to reduce energy or water use? What are other assumptions about ‘the way things are done’ that are increasing a building’s environmental burden? This will be aThe session is intended to be creative, foreword-thinking session, with an emphasis on out-of-the box ideas.

    tags: judith_heerwagen, seattle, conference, cascadia, living_future, environmental_psychology, green_buildings

  • My friend and co-instigator at JohnsonStreetBridge.ORG, Mat Wright, posts his thoughts on Google Buzz. I left comments.

    tags: gmail, buzz, mat_wright, comments

  • This sounds like a great initiative:
    Portland City Art is a public charity 501(c)(3) non-profit, whose mission is to serve the art community of Portland, by building upon the aspirations, vision and mission of the greater Portland art community and the businesses, organizations and individuals who support them, through organizing, creating and implementing solo and group art shows, art events, art forums and community art venues for the advancement of the arts and art community here in Portland.

    The vision of Portland City Art is to bring together a diverse array of both local emerging and professional artists, in an environment and dynamic which positively facilitates their individual career paths and goals through art display, art sales and a community supported social function. Portland City Art will create an environment for which artists may successfully and easily connect with one another, share ideas, pursue collaboration and merge resources for which to sell their art and further their art career.

    With the support of local businesses, charities, corporations, organizations and individuals who sponsor and contribute to Portland City Art events, we will successfully implement tangible, sustainable and comprehensive art shows, art sales and art careers for artists and the Portland art community at large, while also advancing, securing and investing in the future operations of Portland City Art as a charitable and resourceful non-profit organization.

    Something to model…

    tags: portland, art, arts_development, reference

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Mr Softie is still missing, as is Democracy

February 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm | In advertising, guerilla_politics, ideas, local_not_global, politics, scenes_victoria, victoria | 1 Comment

I got a huge kick out of a funny poster that playfully references the ubiquitous “missing cat” notices in my Fairfield neighborhood. (For an earlier note, see Darren Barefoot, who wrote about Mr. Softie, a “heavier set” cat gone missing last year in our ‘hood.)

Today’s poster is truly brilliant. Check it out…

Democracy: lost!

Democracy: lost!


Just for the record, I’m taking no political sides myself (and yeah, go ahead and hate me for that) – just sayin’ that (aside from the misplaced semi-colon) this is a damn good place-specific political poster that hits all the right notes for this particular neighborhood.

Another wave …of mirror neurons

February 10, 2010 at 11:44 pm | In comments, futurismo, social_critique, social_networking, ubiquity, web | Comments Off on Another wave …of mirror neurons

Well, it’s not called Wave, it’s called Buzz now.

I opted for it, used it a few times, and then doused it with indifference. Actually, more than indifference: an article pointed to by Dave Winer (via this tweet), WARNING: Google Buzz Has A Huge Privacy Flaw, prompted me to go to my Google settings to make sure that buzzy news wasn’t going to be publicly available. Call me old-fashioned, but I think email (and who I email with) is my business, not the world’s. Yeah, sure, the world isn’t interested in me and my email, but on principle, what Google did with default public settings is wrong.

Mat Wright blogged about Buzz earlier, and I left several persnickety (even curmudgeonly) comments. (Mat is used to this – we are co-conspirators on and co-creators of JohnsonStreetBridge.ORG and he has heard me rant often. It makes for a refreshing change that this time around it’s not about City of Victoria politics, I guess.)


Sunday Afternoon at the Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat (Louvre)

Sunday Afternoon at the Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat (Louvre)


What really intrigued me a lot more today than Buzz, however, was chatroulette (which I hadn’t heard of before, but read about on Fred Wilson‘s blog post here).

Just go read Fred’s post and then especially read through the many comments. I decided to leave a comment about chatroulette (also viewable on my Disqus profile), even if my thoughts on this app are half-formed – full disclosure: I haven’t used chatroulette and probably never will (just the mention of 4chan is enough to keep me off), but I was intrigued by the “don’t next me!” pleas from a user. The technology brings us “together” (in a weird way), but it then also gives us the power to delete people wholesale.  …Don’t taze me, bro! Don’t delete me! Don’t next me! I find this fascinating. It’s a dialectic of violence that’s built into the very thing we’re using to touch one another. The threat of harm in the promise of contact is part of the package.

If you’re really curious, you might even want to spend 8 minutes watching the …er, unusual video, 1 man 2 fish censored, posted on the blog comments board. Mirror neurons firing like it’s the Fourth of July – but what are they hitting?

Thinking about built form

February 8, 2010 at 8:54 am | In architecture, housing, just_so, urbanism | 3 Comments

I started writing something long and complex about how the house I was born in still shapes my ideas of how and where to live. (I was born at home, with midwife.)

It got too complicated.

So here’s a picture of the building instead:

1 Berger Allee, Duesseldorf

1 Berger Allee, Duesseldorf

It’s the one right at the corner. (Full photo here.) When we lived there, Duesseldorf’s Altstadt was not yet (re-)gentrified and the doctor who practiced next door provided (then illegal) abortions to the area prostitutes. But you can see it used to be (and, I’m told, is, once more) a handsome building on a street with equally fine apartment buildings. Five to six floors of apartments, and retail on the ground floor (a couple of years ago “my” building had an art gallery – not sure if that’s still there now). Frontage right to the sidewalk (or Trottoir, as Rhinelanders called them), and green spaces in the enclosed Hof (courtyard) behind the buildings.

There’s something about that density I really like.

(Maybe this will be the year I finally manage to read Life, A User’s Manual by Georges Perec.)

The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

February 7, 2010 at 1:30 am | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • From PAM to GLAM (spray-on glass)? This sounds so odd you could write a sci-fi story about it: how the Age of Silicon is taking over! On the other hand, if it works and is safe, then the applications are intriguing indeed:
    The flexible and breathable glass coating is approximately 100 nanometres thick (500 times thinner than a human hair), and so it is completely undetectable. It is food safe, environmentally friendly (winner of the Green Apple Award) and it can be applied to almost any surface within seconds . When coated, all surfaces become easy to clean and anti- microbially protected (Winner of the NHS Smart Solutions Award ). Houses, cars, ovens, wedding dress or any other protected surface become stain resistant and can be easily cleaned with water ; no cleaning chemicals are required. Amazingly a 30 second DIY application to a sink unit will last for a year or years, depending on how often it is used. But it does not stop there – the coatings are now also recognised as being suitable for agricultural and in-vivo application. Vines coated with SiO2 don’t suffer from mildew, and coated seeds grow more rapidly without the need for anti-fungal chemicals. This will result in farmers in enjoying massively increased yields . Trials for in-vivo applications are subject to a degree of secrecy, but Neil McClelland, the UK Project Manager for Nanopool GmbH, describes the results as “stunning”. “Items such as stents can be coated, and this will create anti sticking features – catheters , and sutures which are a source of infection, will also cease to be problematic.”

    tags: sprayon, sprayon_glass, treehugger

  • St. Louis urban blogger Steve Patterson had a massive stroke 2 years ago. In this post, he makes a compelling analogy between strokes and recovery from them to what has happened to cities and how they should structure their recovery.

    I thought this section was excellent – cities are like bodies:
    “Cities need to start with the basics, one step at a time. Cities need to examine what no longer works and what can come back first. In stroke therapy they leg returns before the arm. Fingers come back very late. I can barely move my left ankle and I still can’t move my toes on my left foot. Cities, I think, have been trying to move their big toe rather than get their leg back first.

    The therapy I would suggest for cities is to focus on minimal basics needed to function, focus on what makes a city a city. Walkable. Parking is on the street or behind buildings. Density higher than the edge.”

    This also suggests that micromanaging the details is exactly the wrong way to go.

    tags: st_louis, steve_patterson, urban_renewal, analogy, cities

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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