community · culture · play

I Played The World’s Largest Tetris Game | The Creators Project

A first-hand account of being involved in a large community-organized play event.

As much as I love Philadelphia, I never considered it a breeding ground for innovation, but over the past few years, the city has built up enough of a tech scene to spawn an entire week dedicated to celebrating it. To kick off its fourth year, Philly Tech Week gave locals the chance to play Tetris on the Cira Centre, a building conspicuous for bearing a grid of color changing LEDs that sometimes display the Phillies logo. It’s the second game Drexel University professor Frank Lee has brought to the Cira Centre, topping his giant Pong game last year. “What was gratifying for me about the Pong project last year was not that it was the world’s biggest videogame display, although that’s kind of cool. Rather, it was the sharing of the moment by the two people playing, the hundreds of people watching, and thousands of people across Philadelphia watching,” says Lee. Similarly, giant Tetris is more of an art project than a feat for the record books. Lee aims to create a social benefit, what he calls an “aesthetic of a shared moment.”

more details via I Played The World’s Largest Tetris Game | The Creators Project.

Just a fun side note: being part of a large collected effort, whether it’s volunteering at a beach cleanup or playing group Tetris, is very beneficial to mental health as well.

This past Saturday was International Pillow Fight Day, for example, and it received a lot of positive feedback from grown-ups who participated, even with the occasional mention of a hard hit. So pull out the cubes and let’s get it on!

community · design · environment · happiness · Nature

In Philadelphia, More Green Innovations

A great example of re-energizing public space and making it more green and friendly.

THE DIRT

wall3
Last year in Philadelphia, Amtrak started tearing things up as part of new work on the west plaza of their 30th street station, replacing the underground parking garage roof. The only problem was it was right next to a new public space called the Porch, which had been created by the University City District, a non-profit in Philadelphia. So the team with the district decided to create an innovative green wall to block the views of the construction, providing a new model for how to camouflage the unsightly. According to Nate Hommel, ASLA, capital projects manager with the district, an average of 1,000 people walk past the popular Porch each hour. See a brief video about it below:

Hommel tells us that his team worked with local industrial designer Mario Gentile, Shift_Design, to create a “modular system” that can be used by the Porch and other public spaces once…

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technology

Technology Review: Subway Trains to Generate Power for the Grid

Hooray for recycling and reusing resources, especially electricity! The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), in Philadelphia, PA, is installing a battery to collect all the energy that the subway cars put out during their daily commutes.

A massive battery installed at one of the authority’s substations will store electricity generated by the braking systems on trains (as the trains slow down the wheels drive generators). The battery will help trains accelerate, cutting power consumption, and will also provide extra power that can be sold back to the regional power grid. The pilot project, which involves one of 38 substations in the transit system, is expected to bring in $500,000 a year. This figure would multiply if the batteries are installed at other substations.

What a great idea! It keeps power-production local, and is a creative use of resources. And it saves money. Read more at Technology Review: Subway Trains to Generate Power for the Grid.