Archive for October, 2009

Locational micro-blogging

October 30, 2009

A couple of neat smart-phone apps helping to socialise the process of submitting place-based reviews (mainly restaurants and bars) and building a gaming environment for people to drop and collect ‘gifts’, and be rewarded for their loyalty to particular shops/restaurants/places. A cool way of building a shared database of local knowledge about stuff… perhaps a platform for dropping location-based community news and pledges…?


Site Inter-use

October 29, 2009

site [inter]use

Stalled development site behind Ruston tower turned into 5 aside football pitches.

Did you know?

October 18, 2009


Digital Neighbourhoods

October 2, 2009

Indy and I went to an event organised by Kevin Harris at Local Level along with Networked Neighbourhoods and Capital Ambition yesterday. It was a really useful event seeking to figure out the research questions we need to get into as neighbourhood and local community websites are increasingly becoming a pervasive model of how local people communicate with each other and create a dialogue [progressive or otherwise] about the places in which we live.

What became apparent was that the these platforms are effectively creating the ‘agoras’ / public squares of the 21st Century, the places where local people are coming together and being discursive about their neighbourhoods in a way we haven’t seen physically happen for at least the last 30 years and the world seems a far messier place these days. This is simultaneously exciting and somewhat terrifying because it has triggered a whole bunch of bigger questions:

> how can and should Local Authorities and local service providers engage in a real-time emergent discourse about Place?
> is this an officer level communication or a corporate communication?
> the need for radical shift in the desicion making architecture of Local Authorities and councillors to respond to new social media and how they are organising the civic economy of neighbourhoods
> does an essentially 19th Century institution and governance model have the capacity to govern emergent real time discourse and innovation?
> where does legitimacy come from for online communities given that only about 1% of wiki users [for example] are actually creators of content?
> what are the limits of crowdsourcing and when do some decisions just need to be made [we went to representation democracy for a reason – every time another person joins a group the decision making time period increases]
> what can a community realistically change i.e. what is local value – what is the role of the state as an agent of public value – where do these things come together and how?

Its an absolute fascinating set of questions – because they are fundamental to the redefination of the state as an enabler, to the citizen as a civic actor and to all the questions of inclusiveness, accountability, legitimacy, roles, rules and responsibilities that this infers. What seems to be the key is the system itself – the transparency of roles and culture. There is some research coming out of this and I can’t wait to have a read.

Indy @ RUDI

October 1, 2009

Indy recently gave this talk at a RUDI event on Socio-technologies and analysing use. A useful insight into our approach to design and regeneration – one that concentrates on use values and place – not urban and architectural form. He asks questions about the information and communication structures designers employ with their clients that  have concentrated on matter to tackle socio-economic issues. He talks about how 00:/’s methodologies challenge this modus operandi in our understanding of behavioural logic together with technological solutions, and of the  social logics of design in time and use – not just space. Fundamentally, we have realised that it is no longer viable form of practice to rely on concept drawings and design as a form of art to stay relevant. We are finding that we need to engage on many levels, from service design to financial modelling, and how those elements “behave in space” because this is what is relevant to our clients, and more importantly to our communities and places. Architects and designers need to reassess the tools that they use to analyse, understand, communicate and design.


Retrofit for the future : 00 wins contract for low carbon social housing refit

October 1, 2009

00:/ was recently awarded a contract with the Technology Standards Board as part of the £3.5m Retrofit for the Future competition.

Iain Gray Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said:

“Housing in the UK accounts for 27% of carbon emissions and more than 60% of the houses that we will be living in by 2050 have already been built. To meet the UK’s target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, we must dramatically improve the performance of our existing housing stock.

“The social housing sector includes over 4.5m homes and the challenge is to come up with innovative and well tested solutions so that when these buildings are refurbished, they are done so in a sustainable manner that is sure to make significant cuts in carbon emissions. ”

“This is an opportunity to ‘kick-start’ the social housing retrofit market by connecting the organisations that will be refitting housing, such as social landlords and local councils, with innovative and capable suppliers so that together they can develop a range of high performance and cost effective solutions.”