anthropology · architecture · community · environment · health · Social

IDEO asks how to inspire communities to care about their environments

English: Overview of Singapore's financial dis...
Overview of Singapore’s financial district; how do we make our living environments better as our cities grow? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love these OpenIDEO public challenges, so I was thrilled when I saw this challenge alert pop up in my inbox (and then unfortunately let it get buried for a week, oops!) about ideas on how to make communities more involved and engaged in their environments.

Public agencies such as Singapore’s National Environment Agency would like to envision how to rejuvenate our local environments to inspire and enable communities to make our living environments better – and are eager to collaborate with the global community to explore solutions which resonate in Singapore and across the world.

In this challenge we are looking to try and explore the following questions, both for Singapore and for communities everywhere that face similar challenges.
How might we better collectively solve problems facing our neighbourhoods?
How might communities look out for each other more?
How might we provide a safe space for positive and constructive action?
How might we help passive citizens become active contributors?
How might the role of the government evolve in the future, with regards to local neighbourhoods?
In short, what does community ownership look like in 2012 and beyond? The National Environment Agency invites you to join us in designing better answers, together.

Let’s collect examples of existing initiatives and explore the challenge topic to inform our ideas for the upcoming Concepting phase.

It’s a question that I bring up a lot on the blog, and share different examples of how communities around the world are doing just that, from adding public art to bee and butterfly gardens to building playgrounds. I am bubbling with excitement over this challenge, and have lots of different ideas, but there are only 14 more days to submit ideas and I want to make sure mine are really good, eek!

What have you seen that worked in growing communities to keep the residents and developers motivated to preserve the surrounding environments, rather than bulldoze them over for a quick couple hundred bucks? What are some of your ideas? Have you seen any story of community building on this blog that screams “Yes, this is the answer!”? Submit your ideas at the OpenIDEO website.

Social · writing

Crafternoons happening RIGHT NOW in NYC Public Library

If you live anywhere near the New York Public Library, go go go right now now now! And then tell me all about it. 🙂

After a talk with Julia, you and fellow attendees will work with the artists to create a collaborative craft project inspired by the book — a classic exquisite corpse, a hand-sewn double-bound book, a giant scroll, or even a crowdsourced short story. Supplies will be on hand (including some amazing images from the NYPL’s image collection) and all you have to do is show up because it’s FREE! So if you’re in town, stop by, get crafty, meet the artists and enter a raffle to win a free copy of the book! (Books will be available for sale, as well.)

Thanks for the tip at Design*Sponge » Blog Archive » crafternoons: the exquisite book + d*s event poll.

Mental · Social

Visit 1,400 museums for free on Sept. 25, Museum Day – LATimes

I’m so excited about this year because a) I don’t work that day, and b) I finally live in a big city where I have access to more than just the local children’s museum! Museums are a great source of knowledge, art, culture, science, and history in one weather-protected, thought-provoking building. Hooray!!

Here’s how it works: Go to the Smithsonian Magazine website, peruse the list of participating museums and pick one to visit — preferably one you’ve never been to. Then register to download and print out a ticket that provides free admission for two to the museum that you chose; you’ll need this for entry. Each ticket is good for only one museum, and only one ticket is allowed per household.

Visit 1,400 museums for free on Sept. 25, Museum Day – Travel –