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Sustainable Rotterdam

The city is re-inventing itself

No so fast, cowboy!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Life can change very fast, and that's what just happened to me. I was planning a two months visit to Boston to speed up the writing of my PhD thesis. The program included a visit to PodCamp where I aimed to learn from experienced bloggers and podcasters. However, all this won't happen (my apologies to those I've been bothering during the preparation of the trip)
Adios ayer.

Playing: Madness - One step beyoooooooooooooond


posted by Oriol P., 9:00 AM | link | 1 comments |

What makes a city thick?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Picture credits Boston.com

We will be visiting Boston in the upcoming weeks and I'm planning to post any interesting observation, and this one it is a great discovery.

While reviewing the list of participants at PodCamp I encounter the podcast of Adam Weiss, Boston Behind the Scenes; a delicious collection of short interviews with the people that make the "city thick". Haymarket sellers, Duck Truck drivers, street vendors, or Bob the Evangelist.

With his blog, Adam addresses an interesting question; what makes a city thick? Citizens are at the core of any livable city where everyone contributes to the "social thickness" by their character and attitudes. Moreover, within the social network there are reference points, citizen-hubs that connect with larger audiences at the street level by means of their work, and their contribution to what makes a city stand for is very valuable. Boston Behind the Scenes captures this value in fifteen minute long portable conversations.

Even if you're not a Bostonian, or plan to visit the city, I'd recommend you to download any of BBTS episodes (even better, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes) to get a flavor of what it is like to spend all day long preaching at the street, or working on a public market since age of eight.

If anyone out there is aware of similar podcast, leave a comment for everyone to know.

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posted by Oriol P., 4:37 PM | link | 1 comments |

Social Networking in First Life

Sunday, August 20, 2006

podcamp Boston

We are eager for gatherings where participants have the chance to expose their work and thoughts, while informally meeting people with similar interests. If previously we mentioned the Pecha Kucha nights where the boundaries are 20 slides x 20 seconds each, this time we go for something different.

PodCamp is a FREE BarCamp-style meetup. So, what is a BarCamp?

An ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees.

Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join.

When you come, be prepared to share with barcampers.
When you leave, be prepared to share it with the world.

So, PodCamp is about podcasting, blogging, and new media in a BarCamp format. BTW, we are going to PodCamp in Boston this September 9-10 to learn, share, and keep updated. For more on BarCamp, read the article featured at Red Hat Magazine.

Thanks to Joseph Jaffe from marketing podcast Across the Sound, and Bryan Person from Bryper.com


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posted by Oriol P., 11:45 PM | link | 1 comments |

Architects of Air on tour

Some two years ago, Rotterdam held a structure from Architects of Air; an inflated network of corridors and rooms with plastic colored wall. We keep good memories from that experience. If you didn't have yet the opportunity to visit them, you can catch them in Netherlands and other locations during the upcoming months, check the Schedule.


Architects of Air in Netherldands
21-24 Augustus -> Nieuwveen
1-4 September -> Gennep
10-13 September -> Enschede


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posted by Oriol P., 10:13 AM | link | 0 comments |

Learn the secrets of the city

Saturday, August 19, 2006

If you're visiting New York this summer, pay attention to the Yellow Arrow stickers around the city. Those point to places with hidden secrets about them. Curious about what secret is hidden behind that old house? Just call with your cell phone to the specified number, or check Secret New York site and a neighbor will tell you all about.

Secret New York is a project by urban artist group Yellow Arrow. For this M.A.A.P. (Massively Authored Artistic Project) the group collected "individual audio messages about specific places composed from unconventional urban research, interviews with everyday New Yorkers about their daily lives, as well as through conversations with New York experts". The audio and video files are also available in podcast format at the site .

This is an excellent way to connect citizens and visitors with a network of life and facts happening behind the scenes. The project calls for public participation, so the secret database can grow. While here presented as an art project, Secret New York system has potential as city branding tool.

Secret New York strengths as city branding tool;
  • Discovery & exploration factor
  • It is about stories as social currency
  • Spreads local culture
  • It is real & trustful
  • Knowledge of place enhances its value
  • Ease of use technology
  • Community building; people contributes with own stories or comment on existing ones
  • Potential for categorization: historic places, hidden oasis, facts, gastronomy, graffiti, etc
Check M.A.A.P. map and point to any secret from the database (video indicated in red).

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posted by Oriol P., 12:22 PM | link | 0 comments |

Control the buzz!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Today Rotterdam went into another yearly party, the FFWD Dance Parade. The rain did not stop the crowd from feeling the beats and dance all day long. While dancing behind a truck as the DJ orchestrated its followers, someone handle us a little booklet with a sentence on it: control the buzz!

Control the buzz comes with a set of earplugs and it is an initiative from Silent Disco, Earproof, and Howard Leight. The message inside the booklets reads:

Sound is a magical thing: it's a true force of nature. At time stunning, gripping and enchanting but sometimes dangerous. To fully enjoy the power of music, you'd better take care. These earplugs provide you with your own volume control.
Give it a go and you'll see that you're even more "into" the sound. Tireless enjoying favorite music.

You know when you've been in a concert and after you get that "beep"? Earplugs allow you to enjoy the experience while not damaging the auditory system. We take the recommendation on board next time we go to an over-decibel event, and feel the "into-the-sound" experience.

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posted by Oriol P., 6:10 PM | link | 0 comments |

Temporary Urban Park

Rebar is a collaborative group of creators, designers and activists based in San Francisco, "situated in the domains of environmental installation, urbanism and absurdity". One of their latest project is PARK(ing), an installation where car parking space is leased (by inserting coins at the meter) and reconverted into a relax area inlcuding grass and a tree.

PARK(ing) is an investigation into reprogramming a typical unit of private vehicular space by leasing a metered parking spot for public recreational activity.

Check out the site for pictures,of the instalation in St. Francisco. You can also download the "how to" manual in pdf and install a PARK(ing) at your own city.

REbar Group

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posted by Oriol P., 12:39 PM | link | 0 comments |

Clever use of space

Sunday, August 06, 2006

This ad for Nokia 3250 has been placed at the Binnenwegplein, known for being an over-branded space with a giant 3D soda can from a snack kiosk, and large promotions of an electronics retailer. In this case, the large surface used to display a message converses with a non-intrusive and minimal design. Additionally, the figure of a street music performer hanging of the wall, provides a sympathetic reaction to the ones spotting it. The line reads "A new turn in music" Certainly it enhances conversation; "have you seen this man hanging at the Binnenwegplein?" It would be great to have more advertisement of this kind, instead of the usual urban spam.



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posted by Oriol P., 2:03 PM | link | 0 comments |