architecture · community · creativity · culture · design · environment · play · Social

Today is Park(ing) Day in the U.S.

This year’s Park(ing) day snuck up on me! I am looking forward to checking out the little parklets that pop up around Seattle and see what other cities are up to.

Twister game set up in Seattle Parklet on Parking Day 2016
A Twister game set up in a Seattle parklet from Parking Day 2016. Courtesy SDOT.

From Curbed Seattle (no pun intended):

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… if you’re a fan of tiny, community-generated parks. PARKing day, which allows citizens to transform parking spots into activated spaces, is this Friday, September 15.

Past years have included creative seating, chicken coops, a bowling lane, and a tea party—even a ball pit.

This year, the day features 47 installations throughout the city. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) says different installations include “everything from arts and crafts to bike repair and snacks,” plus the perennial favorite—spots to sit and relax.

Seattle Department of Transportation has put together a map of all 47 locations, from Lake City to South Park. Unsurprisingly, there’s a dense belt around the center of the city in the downtown, Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Central Area region—including at least two bike repair stations.

A screenshot of the interactive Park(ing) Map for Seattle:

parking map seattle

Check out more about Seattle’s Parklets.

anthropology · behavior · children · creativity · design · play

Photographer captures small moments of a child’s exploration and discovery of the world

Originally from The Huffington Post:

San Francisco photographer Melissa Kaseman knows that imaginative art can come in tiny packages. That much is evident in her latest photo series, “Preschool Pocket Treasures,” which depicts the small objects she finds stuffed in her son’s pockets each day when he comes home from preschool.

“The magic of childhood is so fleeting, and these objects I kept finding in Calder’s pockets represent a chapter of boyhood, his imagination, and the magic of finding a ‘treasure,’” Kaseman told The Huffington Post, adding, “I like the idea of the photographs being a taxonomy report of a child’s imagination, specifically Calder’s. I hope he carries the wonderment of discovery throughout his life.”

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Ms. Kaseman has captured a fascinating phenomenon of children preschool age to want to create and keep collections of things they find fascinating. It is both a fascinating way to understand what they are interested in exploring – colors, shapes, textures, size, specific themes like shells or rocks or dinosaurs – and how that interest changes or shifts over the days, weeks, and months.

She is also taking a wonderful, respectful, and playful approach to her son’s pocket treasures by treating them with the same respect and fascination he did, capturing them and cataloging them in a way that showcases them and makes them fascinating to us the viewers.

“Preschool Pocket Treasures” applies an archival idea to capture a child’s growth and evolution.

Kaseman hopes people who look at the photos see “the magic of discovery in a child’s imagination.” She added, “A simple object can hold so much weight in one’s mind.”

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View more of Ms. Kaseman’s work from the series “Preschool Pocket Treasures

In the meantime, take a new look at the things your child brings home from school, or how he has lined up all of his cars. Are they all the same size, color, side by side or in a row? This can provide some insight and wonder into your young child’s developing brain.

community · creativity · culture · design · learning · technology

Electric Sky Art Camp hosts artists, hackers, and nature lovers alike

I promise these guys are not paying me to promote this event. It just sounded cool and I thought I would share with other art, nature, and science lovers.

tubular lamp hanging from tree

Electric Sky is an art and tech weekend campathon June 8-11th 2017, bringing together artists, technologists, designers, hackers, makers, and friends to collaboratively engage with the environment in new and exciting ways. Electric Sky is a cross between an artists’ retreat and a hackathon, where you’ll spend several days in the woods, on the river, in our outdoor creativity lab, making stuff with people like you. You may arrive with well-developed ideas and half-finished projects, or you may arrive with no idea what you want to do but are game to jump in on a collaborative project.

This is a community-oriented event, and there’s plenty of space for camping, with lots to do in the area. In addition, we will have workshops appropriate for kids, so they too may experience the joys of creating with technology in the woods.

If you are excited by the idea of creating an individual or collaborative project around our theme the Wondering Woods, we invite you to apply to be a supported participating artist or creative technologist, to receive free tickets and funds to support your project.

They are taking applications for projects until May 1. Hosted in Skykomish in Western Washington. Check out the event page to learn more.

community · creativity · design

A Guerrilla Florist Is Putting Flower Beards on Statues | The Creators Project

To draw attention to historical monuments all over Belgium, florist Geoffroy Mottart stages herbaceous interventions by adding botanical beards and verdant hairdos to statues of luminaries and potentates like Victor Rousseau and King Leopold II. This clash between history and brightly-colored floral facial hair lends the otherwise-somber effigies an air of tender whimsy.

Mottart chooses the flowers for each sculpture with care, taking into account his subject’s features, the statue’s color and material, its location, and the season.

More at: A Guerrilla Florist Is Putting Flower Beards on Statues | The Creators Project

creativity · design

Abstract Browser Tapestries Reimagine Surfing the Net | The Creators Project

A great interpretation of technology into art…

In a new show hanging at Steve Turner Contemporary in Los Angeles, Rafaël Rozendaal’s Abstract Browsing goes offline. The free Chrome extension was released in 2014, and transforms the web into an abstract collage of bright rectangles in randomized colors. Rozendaal, who uses the plugin every day and keeps an archive of his favorite screenshots, sifted through his collection and selected six compositions to turn into Jacquard woven tapestries, each nearly 5 x 9 feet.

View more tapestries at : Abstract Browser Tapestries Reimagine Surfing the Net | The Creators Project

children · community · design · play

El Alto, Bolivia Has a Public Park That Moves Around the City – CityLab

This is a great example of how easy it is to create playful spaces, especially temporary ones, which can in many ways add to the fun.

Also a good reminder that PARKing Day is happening in the US next week!

The mobile park on parade in El Alto this summer. (Megan Hoffman)

Working in the harsh sunlight, they set about disassembling the carts. The shell of the bee became a series of green mounds, while the elephant trunk revealed itself as a slide.

In a matter of minutes a playground was born, and the sounds of children playing rippled across the plaza.

By most urban timelines, El Alto itself is a pop-up construction of sorts. The grid that spreads across the barren altiplano was a tiny informal settlement, perched above La Paz, in the early 1950s. Following its establishment as an independent municipality in 1985, its population jumped, by 54 percent from 2000 to 2010 alone. El Alto now has more than 1 million people, approximately 75 percent of whom identify as members of the indigenous Aymara people. (In Bolivia overall, 25 percent of the population is indigenous.) It has even given rise to a bold new architecture, evidence of Bolivia’s recent economic boom.

In this dense city, driven by commerce at all scales, streets, sidewalks, and communal spaces are often transformed into informal markets, where vendors and minibuses compete for real estate. While this competition brings vitality, it requires novel methods of occupying urban space for play.

The pop-up playground aims to do just that. Over three summers, the International Design Clinic (IDC), a “guerrilla design” collective, has collaborated with Teatro Trono to design and build a pair of mutable, movable playspaces that will help the organization expand its activism into El Alto’s public space. The areas currently designated for children in El Alto are scant and often ill-maintained.

Headed by Scott Shall, an architecture professor at Lawrence Technological University near Detroit, the IDC works closely with groups already embedded within communities, lending its own design expertise to support what they do well. “We try to contribute to and intersect their work for a strategic moment, but we always have an exit plan,” says Shall. “We aren’t permanent, they are.”

More from the Source: El Alto, Bolivia Has a Public Park That Moves Around the City – CityLab

behavior · design · learning · Nature · play

The Fantastical World of Fairy Houses | The Etsy Blog

It is in our nature to pick up interesting rocks, sticks, and leaves as part of our exploration of our surroundings. Some people bring their treasures home and display them on a fireplace mantle or little shadow box.

For a husband and wife team, they have been turning their little finds into fairy houses, which is another playful way of exploring their surroundings and getting to engage in make believe play as a grown up. They are also one of the lucky few people who get to sell their play creations. They were interviewed on the Etsy blog about their creations:

Etsy: When did you make your first fairy house? And had you ever heard of one before you made one?

Debbie: I grew up writing poetry and playing musical instruments and I had always loved doing different kinds of crafts like making dolls, handmade books and cards. But no, we’d never really heard of fairy houses before we started doing this 25 years ago. At the time, our sons had just started going to grade school, and when I found I had more time to myself, I was excited to use my creative talents again. The first project I tried was making a full-size Adirondack chair; when that didn’t work out, Mike suggested that I try making a miniature chair instead. I used some materials I had gathered from a couple of acres near my mom and dad’s place in Washington, and it was so much fun I kept doing it.

Mike: We have always loved nature. When we would go for hikes, Debbie was always picking up things she found, so we already had quite a collection of wild grasses and flowers. And Debbie’s mom was our biggest mentor. She always said, “You have so much talent. I wish you would use your talent.” She really encouraged us.

more via The Fantastical World of Fairy Houses | The Etsy Blog.

How wonderful that Debbie’s mom continued to encourage to play and explore with creating these miniatures.

Have you ever built little fairy houses when you go for a walk? Or seen someone else’s creation? Do you build with LEGOs or other miniatures? Or K’nex (Connector) Sets or Lincoln Logs or other building set? Do you wish you still did? Share in the comments below.

architecture · design · disease · environment · health · work

Architecture and the Airpocalypse | Architect Magazine

A smoggy Shanghai skyline

A really fascinating read about improving air quality through design by architect Blaine Brownell:

During a study-abroad tour of China that I led in May and June through the University of Minnesota’s School of Architecture (read more about the trip here and here), one topic, aside from architecture, that my students and I discussed regularly was air pollution. Although we were in southern and central China, which are less affected than Beijing and other northern cities, we often found ourselves in a murky atmosphere. For three weeks, we rarely saw blue sky even on sunny days, and the air imparted a palpable thickness.

We checked the country’s Air Quality Index (AQI) daily via mobile app for the local forecast—especially after a bout of intense allergies sent me to a local pharmacist. This led us to question how we as architects and designers can counter such an ever-present problem.

Air pollution influences not only our physical health but also our experience of the built environment. Buildings and landscapes become soft and gritty, losing their clarity, sharpness, and color behind a veil of smog. The azure backdrop that is beloved in architectural representations is rarely witnessed. Rather, gray predominates, at times accompanied by brown. Despite this reality, blue sky persists in renderings of projects in China.

read the whole article at via Architecture and the Airpocalypse | Architect Magazine |.

community · culture · design · environment · play

Rainbow crosswalks are newest symbol of Seattle Pride Week | KOMO News

Several Seattle crosswalks are getting a new rainbow-colored coat of paint to celebrate Pride Week, and the city is planning to make them permanent.

Eleven of the rainbow crosswalks were unveiled Tuesday, including one at 10th Avenue and Pike Street on gay-friendly Capitol Hill.

Local groups have been campaigning for the crosswalks for a couple of years. They cost about $6,000 each, and are being paid for by fees for new private developers on Capitol Hill.

via Rainbow crosswalks are newest symbol of Seattle Pride Week | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News.

I love these not only because they are symbols of gay pride, they are also colorful and playful symbols of the neighbor’s character. Public art that the public engages with every time they cross the street.

Check out the Seattle Rainbow Crosswalk‘s Facebook page to see more pics and get more updates.

community · design · environment · happiness · health · Nature

Green Spaces In Cities Help Close “Well-Being Gaps” Between Rich And Poor | Co.Exist

It’s a morning of enriching spaces! I am so thrilled to see this work come out as part of the advocacy for green spaces for all!

Do Green Spaces In Cities Help Close "Well-Being Gaps" Between Rich And Poor? | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

Can neighborhood green spaces help close the gaps in health between people of different incomes and backgrounds?

That’s the tantalizing proposition of research by Rich Mitchell, a professor at the University of Glasgow, and colleagues. They suggest that green places are not only good for our health and well-being, but could also play an equalizing role in our cities.

Where you live can have a huge bearing on how healthy you’re likely to be. And, sometimes the gaps open up over just a few miles. A few subway stops in New York, for example, could mean up to nine years difference in how long someone might live.

Mitchell’s research, while still at a relatively early stage, suggests green-space might serve to reduce these gaps.

The research doesn’t prove the strength of the relationship between individual neighborhood services and well-being, but does show that well-being gaps are smaller where services are better, Mitchell notes in an email. Research he’s conducting now, which hasn’t been published, does show green spaces having the strongest bearing on well-being differences.

more via Do Green Spaces In Cities Help Close “Well-Being Gaps” Between Rich And Poor? | Co.Exist | ideas + impact.