Welcome to the Y.our E.nvironment O.f the W.eek!
We’re sharing inspiring and influential project solutions to increase the presence of design in our practice as we have the responsibility of shaping environments in the world for ourselves and the future.
“The Land” in Wales is a playground
that could almost be mistaken for a junkyard at first glance. The playground is
filled with plywood structures, stacks of tires, tools, wheelbarrows and other
odds and ends. Adults (not necessarily the parents) keep an eye on activities
but stay on the fringe, keeping out of the business of play. Permissible play
at The Land even includes working with
fire and knives, hence the adult supervision. The philosophy of the playground
is to let children learn about physical threats and realities through play, and
develop risk assessment and caution throughout the process. Kids love it.
Reading the Atlantic article reminded me of my own childhood
in a small town in the Midwest. There was a fort made of scrap wood, complete
with a rug and a discarded broom for sweeping out the pine needles that fell
inside. I’m sure my parents knew about the fort, but they certainly never
accompanied us there. My brother and I rode our bikes for miles with our
friends. We roamed for hours and had to be home by the time the streetlight
near our house turned on. There was an
old gas station turned dime shop full of “not-quite-antique” trinkets and
collectibles, and a campground that had a pool table and a selection of candy
for sale. There were also corn fields, train tracks, patches of woods, an
abandoned junkyard, etc. There were a few restrictions, such as the active rail
yard at one end of town. But we set pennies on rails for trains to flatten,
spied frogs and fish in little creeks, rode our bikes up the embankments below
overpasses and sheltered there during rainstorms.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons
It’s a matter of trust. Not of mistrusting kids, but of
mistrusting the world outside to harm them through intent or accident. I don’t
know if I would grant the same level of free reign to kids of my own in the
same town today. But do kids suffer from being unable to build their
independence and judgment through free play? Is pre-fab play equipment enough?
Design. Build. Transform. Congratulations. You made it to Friday. Looking for an inspiring movie to watch this weekend? Try "If You Build It", a short film that “follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it shows ten teenagers the power of design-thinking to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what’s possible” Sponsored by Journeyman International and ConsciousBuild in San Luis Obispo, this film was shown at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival this year. My hope in sharing this film with you is that you will be re-inspired to share your passion with others who do not recognize design and why it is important to a community. Official Trailer: http://vimeo.com/79902240 **Unfortunately only the trailer is available unless we use "tugg" to lure them VA for a showing of the film!!
Check out the maps by topic to see how cities compare
across a range of interesting evaluations. Of particular note is the Best Mode
of Transportation map
that will show you the quickest means of transportation to another part of town
based off of your selected location.