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Expeditions are journeys with purpose. Published in Queens, New York.


Current Issue: Homecoming

This issue (buy here) is about Homecoming: how we design for our home, how we react to our daily comings and going, and how might we create a better native place for ourselves.

It’s a great issue.

This issue is all about how we affect our native place. D.J. Trischler speaks about Neighborhood-Centered Design, Lisa Dewey-Mattia shares her Kindergarten Commute, Marguerite Jones talks about her Metamorphosis to music, Alison Waske Sutter is interviewed about how she is helping Grand Rapids become more resilient, we share a deep dive into 5g Antennas and a provocation about how to re-wild where we grew up.

Please feel free to purchase a copy while supplies last. Your purchase helps support future issues through cash infusion, and by showing people care about this project.


Podcast

Listen to our ever-evolving podcast, here’s our most recent episode.

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Expedition Works

A full–service design cooperative – let’s work together to make your journey with a purpose successful.

Avery’s Journey

Exploring Avery’s journey designing for the new district, with an assist from MidJourney.



Previous Issue: Scorching

This issue (buy here) is about Scorching: what happens when things get out of hand, it’s hot out, and the heat doesn’t go away? How are we responding to this slowly rising catastrophe? We speak to a range of people who are working to make our neighborhoods more resilient

We spoke with Annika Lundkvist who is creating a network of practitioners at Pedestrian Space; architect Jan Kattein who is creating Temporary urbanism for a contingent community; Eric Paul Dennis writes about how Trees are Critical Infrastructure; Jason Baker, a robot, and myself wrote a poem; and we share another Tactical Democracy dispatch: Engagement Spectrum Toolkit and share The Bowerbird.

Please feel free to purchase a copy while supplies last. Your purchase helps support future issues through cash infusion, and by showing people care about this project.

Articles from this issue

First Issue: Founding

This issue is about Founding: the beginning of new things, work, and art. Our inaugural issue is our first prototype in using print pamphleteering to create narrative.

Jason Baker wrote a poem about a village, we speak with Lara Storm & Ben Swire about their company Make Believe Works, we share two features about Tactical Democracy: an introduction, and how we used Block Builder to help people’s inner voice come to life.

Please feel free to purchase a copy while supplies last. Your purchase helps support future issues through cash infusion, and by showing people care about this project.

Articles from this issue


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Notes

015 – Glass House: A Warped Mirror

We explore the life and legacy of Philip Johnson through his iconic Glass House. Delving into Johnson’s multifaceted career, we reflect on Johnson’s profound impact on modern architecture, his controversial political past, and how these facets interplay with his architectural legacy. This episode navigates the complexities of his contributions within the context of his support of fascists, anti-semites, and the Nazi Party. Highlighting the Glass House’s design and significance, we reflect on how to view Johnson’s work in the context of his personal history, emphasizing the importance of learning from the past to inform our understanding of architecture and history.



Farnsworth House vs Glass House

Show notes & links


Guest Bio

Gwen North Reiss is an educator, poet and writer located in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Johnson Study Group is a pseudonymous group of researchers and educators.

Nora Wendl is an associate professor of architecture at University of New Mexico and executive editor of the Journal of Architectural Education. Wendl’s work engages architectural historiography through methods involving image, text, narrative, performance, and exhibition. Her research has been supported by the Graham Foundation, Santa Fe Art Institute, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, among other institutions. Wendl has published, lectured, and exhibited widely. Her book manuscript, “The Edith Project,” was recently shortlisted for the 2022 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize.



Episode Summary

  1. Philip Johnson’s Glass House stands as a testament to his pioneering spirit in minimalist architecture, challenging traditional concepts of space, structure, and environment.
  2. Johnson’s privileged background and education provided him with unique opportunities to influence and shape the architectural landscape through both his wealth and connections.
  3. His tenure at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was transformative, not just for his career but also for the museum’s architectural exhibitions, significantly impacting the direction of modern architecture.
  4. Constructed in 1949, the Glass House epitomizes the ideals of modernist architecture with its simplicity, transparency, and integration with nature, serving as a living manifesto of Johnson’s architectural beliefs.
  5. Johnson’s engagement with fascist politics during the 1930s and 1940s has been a subject of much debate, complicating assessments of his legacy within the broader context of architectural history.
  6. Despite the shadows cast by his earlier political affiliations, Johnson’s career witnessed a remarkable resurgence, affirming his status as a central figure in 20th-century architecture.
  7. This episode delves into the nuanced process of reconciling Johnson’s architectural achievements with his contentious political history, offering listeners a multifaceted understanding of his impact on the field.
  8. Highlighting the importance of acknowledging and learning from the complexities of historical figures like Johnson, the narrative encourages a critical examination of how we memorialize and evaluate the contributions of influential architects.
  9. The Glass House, both a literal and figurative reflection of Johnson’s life, encapsulates the duality of transparency and introspection, mirroring the architect’s personal and professional evolution.
  10. Through a detailed exploration of Johnson’s life, works, and the enduring significance of the Glass House, the episode underscores the critical need to engage with the architectural past in a manner that is informed, nuanced, and reflective.

014 – Farnsworth House, Telling the whole story

Dive into the world of Midcentury Modern architecture with the first episode of our two-part series, exploring the iconic Dr. Edith Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe. This episode unravels the complex story behind the creation of this architectural masterpiece, from Mies’s dramatic departure from Nazi Germany, leaving behind his family, to the protracted design and construction process that eventually led to a notorious lawsuit and rumors of a romantic entanglement with Dr. Farnsworth—rumors that bear no resemblance to the truth.

Join us as we speak with Scott Mehaffey, the Executive Director at the Dr. Edith Farnsworth House National Historic Site, and Nora Wendl, an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of New Mexico, for an in-depth discussion on the house that not only stands as a testament to Mies van der Rohe’s architectural genius but also inspired Philip Johnson’s Glass House, the subject of our next episode. Get ready for a compelling journey into the past, marked by innovation, scandal, and the timeless allure of midcentury modern design.




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Show notes & links


Guest Bio

Nora Wendl is an associate professor of architecture at University of New Mexico and executive editor of the Journal of Architectural Education. Wendl’s work engages architectural historiography through methods involving image, text, narrative, performance, and exhibition. Her research has been supported by the Graham Foundation, Santa Fe Art Institute, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, among other institutions. Wendl has published, lectured, and exhibited widely. Her book manuscript, “The Edith Project,” was recently shortlisted for the 2022 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize.

Scott Mehaffey, MS, FASLA is Executive Director of the 56-acre Farnsworth House National Historic Landmark, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Scott holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois College of Fine & Applied Arts, and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Dominican University. Prior to joining the National Trust, Scott was Landscape Coordinator for the City of Chicago under Mayor Richard M. Daley, and for many years, was Landscape Architect for the historic Morton Arboretum. Scott is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and has been active in cultural landscape preservation since the 1980s as a consultant, curator, program organizer, author, speaker and advocate. Scott has been an Adjunct Professor in the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture, a workshop leader and recurrent speaker for the American Public Gardens Association, and has taught cultural landscape preservation for landscape architects, contractors and historic preservation students.

“Because of the lawsuit, she was relegated to the footnotes of history as the crazy spurned ex-lover, who had never appreciated the house. And of course, that was just a mischaracterization. We’ve conducted a lot of research in recent years and learned what a fascinating person she was, that she was integral to the design of the house until the lawsuit. She really hasn’t been given due credit. She was really Mies’ only client, a patron, really, at a point when he had no private commissions.”

“Nobody really has time for propaganda anymore. It doesn’t educate. It doesn’t serve anybody. I think the public can handle that. I think the public actually really wants to know the entire story”


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Photos from 1971

Photos from 2019

Expedition Log vol. 9

Expedition Log vol. 9

AI Clock & Narrative Making


An AI-powered clock

I interviewed Matt Webb who created an AI-powered poem clock. It’s now a product you can back on Kickstarter. We speak with Matt about embodied sketching, product lessons from Little Printer, how to use Pathfinding to make decisions, and lessons on how to think about AI.

Show Notes

I’m including the show notes from the episode because I think it is super interesting how he has been prototyping in public, using social media and newsletters as an initial product-market fit engine, and to keep people interested. I don’t think there’s a lot new there, but I love when people build in public.

Listen to the episode


On Narrative

About finding the beat

A quick one this week since I’m deep into workplace strategy for the day job, and neck deep in narrative for the podcast.

Some of my favorite podcasts are those which combine clear storytelling and exciting narrative told from multiple people. It’s a painstaking process which requires really clear narrative understanding of the story you want to tell, and the art of eliciting and composing the tape you receive from interviews.

Right now there are a few long-form episodic themes I’m working on, stories which will probably span multiple episodes.

Farnsworth and Glass House

I’ve been lucky and honored that the National Trust for Historic Preservation have made people available to me to interview both the Farnsworth House by Mies, and the Glass House by Philip Johnson (fascist and suspected Nazi agent). I’ve also been reaching out to people with alternative views of Johnson (who again, was a fascist and the government thought he was a Nazi collaborator), and trying to get MoMA on the record about Philip Johnson and how they are squaring the circle of the man and his work.

It’s been…interesting to try out different narrative arcs with the tape I have, trying to figure out it it’s one long episode, two episodes each focused on one of the houses, multiple episodes told chronologically since both Mies and Johnson were collaborators, friends, and competitors, or maybe a secret door number four. This is all balanced with the want and need to just get it out there, and thinking that maybe I’ll have time to recut it in some sort of director’s cut. I don’t want to belabor a story too much, since I’m afraid I won’t get it out and lose steam.

World’s Columbian Exposition

The second more epic narrative focuses on the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, told from an architectural point of view. It’s really a story about what happens when someone loses their partner, are against the wall, and have to decide what’s most important. Of course I’m talking about Burnham and Root, and what happens when your creative leader isn’t there, and you have to make decisions.

This one is fairly sprawling. I have a whole Miro board with themes, story beats, possible cliffhangers, and areas to improve.

This one will take much longer, and what I’m trying to balance in the narrative is the historical expert I’m working with on the project, with making sure that the story and information is interesting enough for the general public.

Link5g Tower

Lastly I’ve been interested in how the design and deployment of the Link5g Towers has been unfolding across New York City. These are the next generation of the LinkNYC kiosks, but with a 30 foot 5g antenna tower on top, designed to enable multiple companies to provide 5g service, and local Wifi to the community.

These are very large arrays, with 5 bays of 5g antennas thus the height. Other cities have elected to allow smaller-scale antenna deployment, generally one antenna on a light pole or electrical service pole. It’s not clear why DoITT charged CityBridge with these specifications.

Many local community organizations and preservations organizations have objected to these towers on a variety of grounds, most interestingly that these towers violate the historical protection Landmark Districts provide, and individual landmarks require.

I’m…not so sure on that part. There’s tons of street furniture and things in the street which didn’t exist when these buildings were built, and when the districts received their landmark protection. For example, cars weren’t around when the SoHo Cast Iron District was being built, but there’s no call for banning cars in SoHo (they should). So we’ve already gotten rid of any bright line rule on appropriate technology in the street.

So I’m honestly not sure how do we adjudicate new street furniture and technology in our streets. Because this isn’t going to be a one-off thing, as urban technology continues to run faster than our policies.

If you want to read more about street furniture – which is where public policy meets our bodies – check out our project, Typology.city.

More podcasts

013 Matt Webb – Poem/1

Matt Webb created an AI-powered poem clock as an exploration in both materials and Chat-GPT. It’s now a product you can back on Kickstarter.

We speak with Matt about embodied sketching, product lessons from Little Printer, our to use Pathfinding to make decisions, and lessons on how to think about AI.

This clock on your shelf, with e-paper display / Spins poems profound, in a whimsical way



Show notes & links



Sponsored by:

Expedition Works

Hi. We’re a full–service design cooperative – let’s work together to make your journey with a purpose successful.


“Because of this AI thing, we don’t understand what it is. We don’t understand what the possibilities are, and the only way you can figure that out is to roll your sleeves up. There’s something about making things real, which means that you put them in a different place in your head, and you start treating them as tools to make more real things. When they exist just as sketches, you don’t do that. So making things real, like incrementally carries your imagination further.

“And there’s nothing wrong with gags, right? I’m making this gag clock, right. Which talks in, ridiculous poems, that sounds like a LinkedIn influencer, like a tiny, tiny Sam Altman telling me to like, go for it. And I’m using planetary compute to do it. And I love the absurdity, right. It really. It really tickles me.”

“The point is that. We’re all sitting there writing strategy, setting policy, asking for code, talking through projects with ChatGPT, and it’s being upbeat and positive, and that is, that is going to be having an effect on us. And we should be having a conversation about how much we care about that, especially outside California. Because these aren’t necessarily the same values of every state and every country and what happens then is people will start feeling distanced from the technology we’re using every day. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing I’m just saying it would be good to be having this conversation out loud and you know it’s weird, right?”

012 Erika Lee – Just Start

We speak with good friend and former colleague Erika Lee about being an independent graphic designer and launching a non-profit community-focused maker space in Hawai’i.



Show notes & links


Guest Bio

Erika Lee, an independent designer and consultant, employs research, strategy, visual storytelling, and interactions to design emotionally resonating experiences. She helps ambitious web3 startups build great products with WE3, a global design collective. She serves as Vice Chair at Ourspace, a community makerspace. She mentors Hawai‘i’s emerging UX/UI designers through Lady Bandit Studios’ Circular Internship and explores place-based design in a Hawaiian context with Purple Maia’s Ka Maka ʻĪnana Think Tank.


Sponsored by:

Expedition Works

Hi. We’re a full–service design cooperative – let’s work together to make your journey with a purpose successful.


“What we’re learning is that it only becomes real when you believe it is real, and everyone else does. We don’t have everything figured out, but we’re figuring it out as we go.”

011 – King of Zoning: 10 proclamations

The King of Zoning is empowered to preempt and overrule local, county, and state zoning and land use in order to affirmatively further housing for all.

Here are the king’s first ten proclamations.

  1. As of Right Zoning
  2. Mixed Use by Default
  3. No Parking Minimums
  4. Abolish Single Family Homes
  5. Diverse Housing Types
  6. More Ownership Models
  7. Transit Housing Bonus
  8. Car-free neighborhoods
  9. Public Housing
  10. No Setbacks



Sponsored by:

Expedition Works

Hi. We’re a full–service design cooperative – let’s work together to make your journey with a purpose successful.


Show notes & links


Guest Bio

In a realm afar, a king of zoning reigned,
His passion, city planning, uncontained.
He shaped his realm with vision and with care,
In zoning’s art, his kingdom’s streets laid bare.

With eco-conscious plans, he led the way,
A master of zoning, night and day.
His subjects thrived in harmony and grace,
In Zoneland’s order, they found their place.

Join our podcast as we journey through,
The world of zoning, tales both old and new.
In rhymes and rhythm, we’ll unfold his lore,
The zoning king, whom legends still adore.

“I am empowered to preempt and overrule all local county and state zoning and land use. In order to affirmatively further housing for all. As you’re king of zoning I take my duties. Very, very serious. And today. My loyal subjects, I will be releasing my first of many proclamations.”

Expedition Log, vol. 6 – Apparatus Blues

Firefighting apparatus – the fire trucks – used across America is a contributing factor blocking safe street implementation. Luckily Europe – and America – have already solved this: the smaller fire apparatus, and more companies.

Some of the most visited places by Americans look like Disney and small European towns. There’s a whole web of rules and regulations which have been enacted over the last century which is keeping us from building this in America.

One of these forces is the firefighting apparatus, known to you and me as a firetruck or ladder.

These are amazing machines which are designed to get firefighters to the scene quickly, and then render aid – either medical attention or putting water on the fire.

As all things American, over the last century these apparatus have grown in size, often for legitimate reasons, but often because of status quo bias.

When we are trying to redesign streets away from just giving cars a place to drive, to a more equitable distribution which allows people in wheelchairs to get around, bikers, strollers, runners, and pedestrians a big blocker in this redesign in the local fire department. They are understandably worried that any shift from the status quo will increase response times, endanger life safety, and make them look bad.

This means that traffic calming measures such as narrower streets, or creating bulb-outs at the corners to slow down turning vehicles, or even creating pedestrian streets often are killed before implementation because the fire department is worried.

It doesn’t have to be this way.


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If we want to create safer streets where we all can walk our kids to school without fear, then we need to change how we purchase our fire apparatus as part of an integrated rethinking of the whole road design system.

This isn’t a new or shocking development, and isn’t just something which happens in Europe. There are plenty of places right here in America which have decided that deploying only large apparatus isn’t working, and have purchased and deployed an array of smaller and more nimble units without sacrificing safety.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) in coordination with the U.S. DOT Volpe Center has authored an amazing guide called, Optimizing Large Vehicles for Urban Environments (PDF). Please read it.

Photo by wil540

Medical, not fire calls

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the reported calls required emergency medical services (EMS) and rescue services from fire departments. Only 4% of all reported fire department runs were fire related.

In New York City, the FDNY has deployed a Polaris and Gator EMS apparatus in Midtownwhich helps it maneuver around the heavy traffic.

Cherry Grove Fire Department

Uniform equipment

Being able to have commonality of apparatus and equipment certainly makes sense from a training and maintenance point of view. But this is shortsighted as most modern fire companies are already specializing equipment based on needs.

The Cherry Grove (NY) Mighty Mini is one of two small-format apparatus which serves the barrier island community on Fire Island.

Design bike lanes for express runs

In Europe the bike lanes not only move a lot of people on bikes, strollers, and scooters, but in an emergency situation firefighters use the bike lanes and tram lines to get around traffic. This is certainly both an operational change, and will require additional coordination with departments of transpiration, but right-sizing both the physical infrastructure and the machines which use them reduces run times.

It’s the car traffic

Finally, the problem really is that there’s too many cars in dense urban areas. As NYC is about to enact our decongestion charge, we will (hopefully) get a two for one deal: more money for transit as the tolls go to the MTA, and less traffic so people who need to drive – including the FDNY – can get to where they need to go quicker. I certainly hope both the FDNY and the DOT will be conducing before and after data studies to show that response time is either unaffected by congestion charge, or run time has been reduced.


Now, there’s also so many other details we need to go over – especially working with insurance companies, Insurance Services Office, and especially the National Fire Protection Association which publishes more than 300 consensus codes and standards, including NFPA 1901 which outlines apparatus standards.

But so much of this is inertia, as (for good reasons) the firefighting community is conservative and slow to move. I would love for someone like Bloomberg Philanthropies step in and conduct a series of evidence-based reviews and investments so we can right-size our apparatus, so we can right-size our streets.


More podcasts


010 Julian Bleecker – A Little Bit More Curious

Julian is one part of the team behind Near Future Laboratory, a design-led innovation practice, who invented design fiction as a thing and practice. When not designing and publishing books, podcasts, and doing consulting, he runs the Near Future Laboratory Discord, a Hypercollaborative where people come together to practice the craft of futuring and design fiction.

We speak about how to balance structure’s need for managed expectations, and imaginations need to jam. How listening to each other and trust in one’s self and each other can make beautiful things. How making things is our differentiator.



Show notes & links


Guest Bio

Julian Bleecker is a creative leader with the range of a generalist. He is at his best when he is working with organizations translating the “now” into the “next”. He is an engineer with multiple degrees, so he knows what it means to execute on ideas. He has a PhD in technology and culture, giving him unique perspectives and insights into the meaning of new ideas and how they will fit within marketplaces.

“It’s invigorating to me to just have that feeling that there are other people out there who have the same questions, the same desires; and the approach to doing what I think we all want to do, which is to find the way to just make a corner of the world a little bit more habitable, a little bit more curious, a little bit more inspirational, and a little bit more activating of the imagination.”

Expedition Log vol. 4

Rockefeller Guest House, 5G towers, and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Design


This week we continue our deep dive into all things Philip Johnson (see asterisk below) through a few interviews and visiting the Rockefeller Guest House. At some point a series of podcast episodes about Mies, PJ, and how these terrible men created beautiful homes. LinkNYC 5G towers are back in the news, so it’s good to take a step back and see what some alternatives to the large towers might be. And finally, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Design program was both amazing and of it’s time.

As always, you can find us on Threads and Instagram, listen to our podcasts, and purchase pamphlets.


“By 1934, he had a disastrous digression into politics. He was taken in by his own admission, by the spectacle of the rabid nationalism of the Nazi party. And he ended up promoting fascist politics in the us , by becoming a correspondent for Father Cochran’s Magazine, social Justice. And Father Coughlin was just a rabidly antisemitic priest, who was promoting fascism.”

– Gwen North Reiss, Glass House


Rockefeller Guest House

The Rockefeller Guest House was designed by Philip Johnson* in 1949 and completed in 1950 for his patron at MoMA Blanchette Rockefeller. The Glass House was under construction between 1948-1949 and the detailing of the Guest House is clearly an urban implementation of the Glass House. Often called the Urban Glass House, it’s on 52nd street at Third Avenue and combines the elements from the Brick House at the base with the Glass House up on top.

*Philip Johnson was a fascist and supported Nazis, and it’s not clear how we deal with someone who spent a better part of a decade supporting and leading local fascist organizations.


5g towers

The deployment of 5g is one of those slowly, then all at once, phenomena. A phenomena which people are just starting to take notice of. When 5g was released there were a rush of articles about the technology, the promised benefits, and how the technology manifests itself in antennas which do our neighborhoods. Municipalities have been working through how to create regulations and concessions to telecom companies – which are often monopolies – in order to fit into the local context.

5g provides theoretical faster bandwidth, but the antenna its completely different: they are an active technology, with very narrow beam patterns, which allows for smaller antennas, but with less beam distance. Municipalities generally create a set of standards of different deployment sizes and locations – often a range of freestanding antennas, light pole-mounted antennas, and using existing electrical poles. 

In NYC the LinkNYC 5g tower is massive at 31 feet – much larger deployment than in other municipalities. Although this deployment allows for up to 5 antennas from competing suppliers. 

There are other alternatives, which might create more antenna sites, but without such large single antenna site. It’s not clear why the city continues to push these large LinkNYC locations.

You can read more about this on Issue 3: Homecoming.


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1984 Los Angeles Olympics Design

The Los Angeles Olympics was not government backed, therefore it had a much lower budget than many of the previous and subsequent Olympic games. Instead of stadiums, they built towering scaffolds. Instead of brand-new Olympic villages, they outfitted parks and freeway entrances with colorful pylons, sonotubes, and giant inflatable stars.

ARCHITECTURE: The Jerde Partnership
GRAPHIC DESIGN: Sussman/Prejza
LOGO: Robert Miles Runyan
PICTOGRAMS: Keith Bright

More podcasts

Expedition Log vol. 3

In this volume we have an entry from Avery’s Journey, media we are consuming, a deeper dive into the Washington Metro, and how slow listening has brought people together in Silverton, CO.

As always, you can find us on Threads and Instagram, listen to our podcasts, and purchase pamphlets.

“People are afraid of what they don’t know, and their tendency isn’t to go into the cave that they’re afraid of but go around it.”

– Clark Anderson, Community Builders, see below


The Box

Avery hated the box. It sat in the corner, always on, always waiting, and always a reminder of the Schism. The box wasn’t outwardly menacing like other equipment deployed in the office or in the district, but any reminders of those difficult days were unwelcome. 

Avery tried to explain what happened to the subordinate pool, but how can you explain how a theological difference of only a few degrees created such damage? How does one even explain the difference between two disagreeing parties, who looked no different to those outside their closed order, who suddenly erupted in coup and counter-coup?

If this had happened a few years earlier, the damage would have been less. Networked infrastructure and Moore’s Law intensified the destruction, as each side’s Augments and Helpers reacted to their owner’s power play. Containment was lost. What each party feared, and thus perpetrated their action, happened. What should have been merely board room maneuvers became real in unanticipated fashion. 

The box was supposed to stop that. It was supposed to minimize the damage. 

Avery believed in the power of the Box in this much like those who perpetrated the schism believed in their truth. But like all faith, it hadn’t been tested during Avery’s service, and no one was sure what tactics the Box would employ. 

So it sat there. Always on. Always watching. Always waiting. 

Read more dispatches from Avery’s Journey


Consumption

Jennifer Pahlka’s Recoding America is full of interesting case studies and practical applications of working inside the public sphere. It’s basically a call to arms and inspirational book which is aimed primarily policymakers, but as someone in civic tech is a great touchstone to remind myself of what we are working towards.

Cyd Harrell’s A Civic Technologist’s Practice Guide is a great step-by-step field guide to public interest technology. It’s basically a 101-level primer, but it has some really good information for those who know the civic tech space already. It’s a quick read, and has great tactical advice.

Zachary Schrag’s excellent The Great Society Subway (more on this below) is a great…and highly detailed…look at the story behind Washingtons Metro.

I’ve probably watched Andor three or four times. The show, set in the Star Wars universe and ostensibly a prequel to the uneven Rogue One, is amazing set of storytelling and design. The majority of the show is composed of practical sets and effects, and the overall aesthetic is AMAZING. 

Be sure to look around inside people’s homes, inside Imperial office spaces, and how people get around.


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Washington Metro

Speaking of the Great Society Subway, I never realized that Harry Weese’s design was to continue the city street down into the metro stations. This is brilliant, and explains the choice of hexagonal glazed tile, concrete, and brass.


Tactical Democracy

We continue to believe in Tactical Democracy and a spectrum of engagement and listening is the correct tactical way to engage the public. So the story from the New York Times from Silverton, Colorado where slow listening brought people together is another example of using a variety of tactics to help people envision their future.

Divided by Politics, a Colorado Town Mends Its Broken Bones (gift link)

Death threats poured into Fuhrman’s office. City Hall was shuttered for safety’s sake. An effort to recall the mayor was begun, a deeply personal affront in a tiny town where there is no anonymity even in a trip to the one grocery store. Silverton split along familiar political lines, with pickup trucks suddenly flying giant Trump signs.

Well before the trouble started, Community Builders, a nonprofit in Glenwood Springs, Colo., had been hired by Silverton to draft a new 10-year master plan for the town. The Compass Project, as the effort was known, would evolve from a prosaic task into a prolonged effort to heal the community.

Community Buillders would try to shut off that spigot by bringing residents together in the smallest of groups, away from microphones and public spaces, to see if they could find a common vision for Silverton’s future.

Community Builders asked questions that were intentionally open-ended: Why do you love to live here? What are your hopes for the future and your life here? What are your fears?

In retrospect, much of Silverton’s discord was tied to the Covid-19 pandemic, the retreat from common spaces and the advent of Zoom calls, with their alien feel.

Read: Divided by Politics, a Colorado Town Mends Its Broken Bones (gift link)


More podcasts


TYPOLOGY.CITY

Where public policy meets our bodies.

  • A fond farewell to the Downtown Alliance composting bin pilot, where the bins collected 105,157 pounds of organic waste over 18 months. The post Farewell Composting Pilot, hello DSNY composting bins appeared first on Typology City.
  • These photos come via Cary Westerbeck of the Portland Loo installatioin at the at Feriton Spur park in Kirkland, WA. The post Portland Loo appeared first on Typology City.

About

Hi. My name is Randy. Nice to meet you.

I’m a design and innovation consultant which owns Expedition Works. I specialize in solving hard and complex problems for people in elegant, and hopefully simpler ways. Depending on the problem need, this might look like user and customer experience design, product and interaction design, service design, strategy, or environments design.

I consult and advise, having worked with a wide roster of organizations after leaving IDEO after 12 years of exciting work. Prior to this, I worked as an architect in NYC, for 8 years.

I’ve done extensive work in the public sector working with great partners from the Knight Foundation to reimagine the civic commons across eight cities, Bloomberg Philanthropies to cultivate city-based innovation in the U.S. and India, AARP to evolve their role in creating livable communities for all, and the City of Los Angeles and NYCHA to make cities better through design.

I’ve also completed a range of new products and services with a diverse set of clients—including State Farm, Steelcase, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Tata, Citibank, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, and Walgreens—on a variety of design challenges, from new digital communication tools, to blended digital and physical experiences, to entirely new retail strategy and concepts.

Holding a BS in Architecture and Masters of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati, I’ve worked worldwide for firms large and small. I have extensively taught in the past, most notably as a Part-time Studio Lecturer at Parsons the New School, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.