Thursday, 30 June 2011

Global Social Network Use - the Stats


Social networking is an internet phenomena and as such not limite to political borders. It spread rather quickly around the globe and is now as a range of maps recently has shown present on al continents as an important part of internet usage. THere are of course great variations between the locations as factors of actual internet accessibility.

GlobaWebIndex global social network usage
Image taken from globalwebindex / THe ranking of Social Network penetration by country. Not sure why Japan is so low. This depends on the definition of Social Networking presumably which is not provided.

Mashable describs the research: "The research, run by London-based consultancy Trendstream, has conducted six waves of surveys about global consumer adoption of the Internet and social media in 36 markets. It used data from its February 2011 surveys of between 750 and 2,000 online users in each market to define three behavior types: messagers, groupers and content sharers."

GlobaWebIndex global social network usage
Image taken from globalwebindex / The global usage of Social networking. The grey circle show total number where the colours characterise the different group of use characteristics. Click for large image.

GlobalWeg Index explains the map as: "This shows the universe size of active social networkers for each market and then segments users into three behaviour types: Messagers, Groupers and Content Sharers. This behavioural data is based on a number of detailed questions we conduct into the way that consumers use social networks. Because social networking is now so big and touches every aspect of our internet experience, this detail is essential for the effective planning and implementation of marketing activity across social networks. This data reveals that users across the world are very different in how they utilise their network, with more focus on messaging and less on content sharing in established markets like the US and UK but more focus on content and groups in fast growing markets like Indonesia and China."

These three different groups are shown on the map as with three different colours red for messages and mailers, blue for content sharers and green for group focused. The observed countries behave differently and from this study it seems that content sharing is more important in Asia, where messaging is more often used in the West. Indi seems to be the main marked for groups. Overall Asia and especially China is the largest market, with 155m users even now overtaking the US, with about 114m users. It is definitely the largest growing market.

Africa is as expected the smallest market compared to individual European or Asian countries. Some of the results are surprising such as the low number in Australia and rather high number in Poland. Also the visualisation is rather misleading with the results evenly distributed across the globe when it actually only is looking at certain countries. The map visually looks as if it covers everything. Stronger colouring in the actual locations or clearer association of the graphs with the country would probably help.
Nevertheless it provides a great overview and gives a feeling for the state of the social network usage globally.

Via Mashable

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Book - Model Making: Physical Ideas


With the possibilities of new computer technologies and the availability of rendering power physical models in architecture have lost the role as the main tool for spatial and physical shaping and testing of ideas.

It is convenient with a few clicks to simulate a rough 3D sketch in some free sketch tool providing bulky and unfitting standard elements. And for the architect it is easy to project ideas over these unfitting representations, mentally covering up and extending on the shortcomings of the method. Where this method can't provide any help is with the physicality of materials the depths and the tactility. For this a real physical representation in 3D is needed.

Model making is a wide ranging field from sketch models to working models to models produced by a professional model maker. Similar is the application range for models, they can come it at every stage of the design process in various forms, scales and detail.

Book Model Making p29
Image taken from Model Making / Book page p29 showcasing the composite stack, where different materials are combined, prepared individually put together and sanded into shape.

The new book Model Making, of the Princeton Architectural Press series Architectural Briefs, is by Megan Weber. She is the founder of zDp Models, a San Francisco -based model making firm working for a range of clients in the bay area and beyond. This includes Apple, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, SOM, Gensler and EDAW.

The book is designed as a basic reader guide to model making and model material introduction. It takes the read through a whole range of options arranged by material. Each step is arranged by material, necessary tools, technique, technology, range of architectura concepts it is suitable for and some alternatives. This forma provides a good overview, for both inspiration and guidance. Further sections discuss the tools, additional techniques and specific aspects such as scale, surface treatment and architectural concepts.

Book Model Making p28
Image taken from Model Making / Book page p28 demonstrating the composite stack, where different materials are combined, prepared individually put together and sanded into shape.

The question is not whether one technique is better than the other one. This would be an exhausting an not very productive discussion. It is more a question of how do the different methods work together and where are they complementary. The process of designing is very individual depending on the team and the project but the tools can consistently be available and provide the methods for both developing and testing. Architectural models are definitely together with the drawings the essential tool and brings the ideas for the forst time into physical form, models are real.

For real world inspiration the V&A has an extensive collection of architectural models. It is definitely worth a visit and browsing through the range of historic and contemporary structures.

Book Model Making cover
Image taken from Model Making / Book cover.

Werner, M., 2011. Model Making, New York, N.Y: Princeton Architectural Press.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Automated 3D Digital Landscapes


Together with the digital mapping the 3D modes have become very popular and are of most mapping services these days. There is the basic terrain that can be rendered in 3D, but also the buildings.

Google had from very early on 3D buildings for cities, gradually expanding on numbers and quality. They started with grey volumes and now show good quality photo mapped buildings. To get here Google tried crowd sourcing the work in different ways and were really successful. They offer an online tools, the Building Maker, for people to use together with the required data such as location, aerial imagery and images of the building or texture mapping. This was back in 2009.

SenseFly UAV
Image taken from engadget / 3D model of an urban fragment generated from areal images recorded by an SenseFy UAV.

Other companies tried different technologies. Yell Maps were one of the first to show full coverage in 3D for cities using 3D models built from satellite imagery. It is based on lidar scans that created the basic mesh for the topography and then automatically mappen on with images.

This is a very different approach to the Google model because basically the buildings and the topography are mapped out at once. It is a high res topography scan that will include the buildings. This is sort of what other companies are using now for the 3D visualisation of online maps as for example the Nokia OVI maps or the maps available on the Swedish search engine hitta.se.

lidar scan
Image taken from searchmesh / The principles of a lidar scan.

At EPFL in Lausanne a team of scientists has extended on this research and developed a drone based mapping version of a similar technology. It is however, no longer based on laser scanning of the terrain for the point mesh, but instead they are using the images themselves to create the point mesh.

The drone is something like the SenseFly. An UAV works autonomous but can be controlled in rel time and captured images re available immediately after landing. See a clip HERE and a post on Digital Urban HERE.

SenseFly UAV
Image taken from geeky-gadgets / The UAV developed by SenseFly. It comes with a 12m camera and controle software in a neat flatpack box.

The drone will cover an area multiple times taking pictures from different angles as it passes overhead. The computer will match all images calculating the differences and produce the mesh in amazing detail.



This sort of brings the 3D modeling back to the crowd where everybody can join in and produce parts of the digital environment. On a larger scale this would also provide time based imagery with links to a great archive. It could become a tool for project like the Grassroot Mapping project (discussed on uT HERE) and similar projects of public involvement and feed into the Community Remote Sensing CRS movement.

Probably the commercial version is too expensive at $10'000 and mainly focusing on faming applications and land surveys. But maybe an adapted version using an iPhone and the photostich software to merge the images.

Via sunFoundation

Monday, 27 June 2011

Book - Game Urbanism


The widening of the planning process is something we have only seen happening in the past 20 years. Public consultations are older, but not public participation. There was a strong practice of participation in the late eighties and early nineties ,which has sort of established some public involvement, but it has also died out to a great extend again. It is however an upcoming topic again also with the availability of new tools and technologies such as digital and mobile gadgets.

The tension between the 'planners' and the 'to be planned', has always posed obstacles and the understanding and the working together is complicated already because of the self image of the different parties. One of the few methods with a good success for a productive process involving multiple parties is the games oriented approach, where the immediate self and the preoccupation can be diverted and the engagement or possible temporally enacting of a different role seems acceptable and possible.

In a new Valiz publication Game Urbanism: Manual for Cultural Spatial Planning, Hans Verhuizen discusses his theories and his practice in this field of, what he terms 'Cultural Planning', of working with multiple stakeholders on planning processes.

The publication puts Spatial Planning as: "Reassuring End-Pictures Remove all Fear of Change, yet also Curiosity about an Uncertain Result" and crucially for the approach: "The Best Idea is Indeed the Idea you Think of Yourself".

The book puts forward a specific term for the aspects it is concerned with as 'Cultural Planning'. It is not a new term, but Charles Laundry traces its roots back to the 1980s. The terms aims to broaden the meaning of 'planning' as a mer infrastructure and definitely physically oriented process. With the addition of culture the aim is to include social and cultural aspects.

The publication is structured in three main chapters, Handbook, Workbook and Urbanism Game. To understand the ful index it is important to have a look at the first few pages which are in fact part of the index. It is a sort of index spread allowing for a note with each topic. The number at the bottom is not the actual page number, but the page number this topic is discussed.

The Handbook chapter is the theoretical part with a wide range of inputs and considerations. Especially the side notes are a playful set of very serious input. The whole book is full of playful elements with rotation and skips or directions, where the topic of the content has informed the presentation and the character of the publication.

Parquette
Image taken from archined / Parquette, a project game employing the herringbone pattern as a principle of reorganisation. The games reveilles the positive side of conflicts in the urban planning processes.

"Game Urbanism deals with the culture of spatial planning. Hans Venhuizen advances a broad understanding of culture that encompasses cultural history, heritage, architecture and art, as well as the culture of the current residents of a region and the idiosyncrasy of a place. In his search for a more specific identity for cities and areas, Venhuizen links the worlds of culture and space to each other in different ways. In this, his focus is always on the culture of spatial planning itself, and the game is his most important instrument. The relation between playfulness and seriousness is a key feature in all of Venhuizen’s projects. The game is capable of involving participants in an assignment on an equal basis. Moreover, it simplifies complex situations, reveals the wishes and interests of those involved, and provides pleasure in uncertain processes of change."

"The book offerscase studies, context, methods and reflection. It shows a fundamentally different way of looking at how we deal with space, one in which culture assumes a natural and decisive role."

The three authors have very different backgrounds and this shapes a very distinct perspective, creating interesting view.
Hans Venhuizen is director of Bureau Venhuizen, a project management and research bureau in the field of planning processes and spatial planning, also referred to as culture-based planning.
Charles Landry is founder and director of Comedia (UK), an international agency advising on creativity as source and stimulator for urban development and change. Landry is author of The Creative City: a Toolkit for Urban Innovators (2000), The Art of City Making (2006) and with Phil Wood of The Intercultural City: Planning for Diversity Advantage (2007).
Francien van Westrenen is Programmer/Curator Architecture of Stroom in The Hague and was project manager at Bureau Venhuizen.

For a quick overview of the book pleaase have a look at this clip.

SubMap 1.0
Image taken from archined / Book cover.

Venhuizen, H., Landry, C. & Westrenen, F.V., 2010. Game Urbanism: Manual for Cultural Spatial Planning, Amsterdam: Valiz.

Friday, 24 June 2011

SubMap - Subjective Map


The discussion around the subjectivity of mapping and the potential of subjective mapping tools becoming possible with the ever greater penetration of gadgets an locative media is gaining momentum. There are a number of project focusing on the output of individual mapping outputs specifically conditioning the visuals to the location, mood, speed or purpose.

One such interesting project is SubMap by Dániel Feles, Krisztián Gergely, Attila Bujdosó and Gáspár Hajdu at Kitchen Budapest. A collective working with technology and the environment, its mainly funded by Magyar Telecom.

SubMap 1.0
Image taken from SubMap / In the first version of SubMap we present three print maps which show the city from 'our point of view'. We chose our homes as epicenters of these unique, spherical, perspectival distortions. Additionally we created a superimposed map centred around Kitchen Budapest where we all work together.

The SubMap project distorts the map according to the location and literally lets the map appear larger around the focal point. This can be the actual location of the person or a location that is currently being talked about.

In the subjective version they are using Foursquare to track themselves and log the location. Each check in creates a new focal point. There is a whole series of SubMaps currently at version 2.0 including a Generative sound by Kiss László.


Exhibited: Subjective Budapest Maps, Galeria Centralis, Budapest, 20/10/2010-02/12/2010

In SubMap version 2.0 they are pulling in news data from a large archive. This shifts the focus from the individual to a more collective representation of activity. As described by "Ebullition visualises and sonificates data pulled from one of the biggest news sites of Hungary, origo.hu. The work is part of the project SubMap, which deals with subjective mapping of cities and countries.
One frame is one day, and on one day many things can happen. Depending on how many times a day the name of a city or a village is mentioned on the site, the map of Hungary dynamically distorts according to that number. The sound follows and sonfies that visual outcome, creating a generative ever changing drone."



Via jmichaelbatty on Twitter.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Book - Sentient City - the Intelligent Urban Environment


In a new book Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space Mark Shepard presents a discussion on the current state of the art of ubiquitous computing showcasing a range of five projects together with a series of essays around the topic of the sentient city in the sense of a responsive and 'intelligent' city. It is published by MIT Press with the Architectural League of New York.

The book grew out of an exhibition 'Towards the Sentient City' presenting a whole range of investigative projects. This was supported by the Architectural League New York. For the exhibition the curator Gregory Wessner summarised the aims as: "For many, it is a leap of the imagination to think that a microprocessor the size of your fingertip, or the mobile phone in your pocket, can meaningfully affect the shape of the room you’re sitting in, let alone a city’s skyline. At a moment when new digital technologies seem to be dematerializing more and more of the world around us (think books, CDs, photographs), what impact can they possibly have on the insistent materiality of buildings and cities?"

The book offers a range of five case studies which each have a specific focus and of course essentially build on concepts of pervasive technologies. They are:
Amphibious Architecture by the Living with Natalie Jeremijenko on visualising water quality.

Natural Fuse Haque Design+Research
Image taken from SentientCity / Project Natural Fuse - Experiment with wilting plants by intermittent/PWM water delivery.

Natural Fuse by Haque Design+Research on sourcing plants for energy. The plant in this project acts as a sort of distributor to encourage energy sharing. Energy is distributed through the plant, but only if consumers share it nicely the plant is happy and can grow letting the consumers use more energy. If they don't share the energy use kills the plant and consumers can use less energy.

'Trash Track' by the MIT on tracking trash's end-of-life journey. Using smart tags the team tracked the route of trash, from the point of deployment, a bin presumably, all the way though the cities waste management system. This is how it works: "TrashTrack uses hundreds of small, smart, location aware tags: a first step towards the deployment of smart-dust – networks of tiny locatable and addressable microeletromechanical systems. These tags are attached to different types of trash so that these items can be followed through the city’s waste management system, revealing the final journey of our everyday objects in a series of real time visualizations."

Trash Track by the MIT
Image taken from spatiallyrelevant / A track of a plastic bottle in New York City through the City's waste management system.

'Too Smart City' by Davis Jimison and Joo Yoon Paek on 'intelligent' street furniture. The street furniture is equipped with a lot of technology and robotics and set to augment the context they are acting within. They are however, programmed to surprise and interrupt and with it chalenge our expectation of what furniture should be doing. They have for example developed a bench that can trow people of or a sign that changes direction.

'Breakout!' by Anthony Townsend on the city as office. They are injecting light wight structures into the urban realm providing essential working infrastructure and with this allowing for impromptu meet-ups through social networking software.

In the second part of the book the topics around the sentient city are explored in a series of 10 essays. There is a very interesting group of people contributing with for example Saskia Sassen and Kazys Varnelis who wrote the Infrastructural City book.

The discussion around the role of ubiquitous computing in urban design and the present of a possibly sentient environment is definitely something that is going to influence the debate on cities and urban environments for the next years. This book picks up from where it experimenting stands today and leads thoughts towards how this could be substantially integrated in future practice of urban design.

Trash Track by the MIT
Image taken from archleague / Book cover showing the heat sensitivity of the colour used.


Shepard, M., 2011. Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Matterhorn as AnimatedSource of Identity


The Matterhorn is the iconic mountain in Switzerland and features on many 'Swiss' Products or as part of a logo as for example with Toblerone the Swiss chocolate in triangular shape, a abstraction of the Matterhorn itself.

There are of course other mountains, such as the Eiger or the Stockhorn, but the Matterhorn is definitely the best mountain as a brand. This si definitely also a lot to do with tourism and the way Zermatt, the village grown resort at the foot of the Matterhorn has managed to build up a name internationally and retain a popularity. This happened definitely in a symbiosis between the village and the mountain. Zermatt is probably thee days one of the most famous car free resort in the world.

Toblerone logo
Image taken from smudgecoverglasses / The Toblerone logo. Can you spot the hidden creature in the logo? Hint, its the animal representing the chocolate's home town, the Swiss capital actually.

The Matterhorn is with 4'478 meters on of the talest peaks in the Alps. And as it is described on Wikipedia: "The Matterhorn was the last great Alpine peak to be climbed and its first ascent marked the end of the Golden Age of Alpinism. It was made in 1865 by a party led by Edward Whymper and ended tragically when four of its members fell to their deaths on the descent. The north face was not climbed until 1931, and is amongst the six great north faces of the Alps. The Matterhorn is one of the deadliest peaks in the Alps: from 1865 – when it was first climbed – to 1995, 500 alpinists died on it."

The Golden Age of Alpinism was not lead by Swiss or French people, who lived in the valleys and Villigas surrounding the peaks, but it was mainly English climbers and explorers who fueled and pushed alpinism. It is the period between the ascent of the Wetterhorn in 1854 and Edward Whymper's ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. Its start predates the formation of the Alpine Club in London in 1857, the Golden Age was dominated by British alpinists accompanied by their Swiss and French guides.

BBC run a series on this topic with a group of mountaineers retracing some of the most famous routes. Also Britannica Online has a extended blogpost on the Golden Age, the Matterhorn and Eduard Whymper.

All this started more than 150 years ago and it is still to this day acting as a deining element for a wider region, a range of brands and as icon. This is not to say that it hasn't already fulfilled such a role earlier. THe mountains do in fact as we all know very much so play an important role in old stories and myths. THey are definitely a strong source of identity.

In his stopMotion animation Willem van den Hoed plays with this subject of the Matterhorn as the focal point of a place and illustrates this poetically from different angles. Very much a nice clip and a good portrait of a mountain representing an age, a region and a dream.

The film was also part of the "Film in de buurt - Festival" in Rotterdam (2007) and shown at the Willem van den Hoed - exhibition, "Glass" at Galerie Litfasssaeule in Munich until the 11th of November 2007. Also shown at the Raiffeisen open Air Kino Zermatt (2008).

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Book - Towards a New Kind of Building


Buildings are generally thought of being static structures playing a dual role in hosting and defining spatial context. The different types of buildings are adjusted to different activities and usages serving as platforms for interaction and communication.

A building live span is usually beyond the human live span and types are developed over generations of buildings adapting to chaining conditions such as context usage or activity, but also material and performance. The context has a very strong influence. Historically even more so as the direct surrounding and conditions shaped the resulting building directly via ground conditions, available materials near by and climate conditions.

The saltwaterpavilion
Image taken from DotCalendArt / ONL Saltwater Pavilion, Neeltje Jans, 1997. "The saltwaterpavilion has evolved from the very beginning of the design process as a three-dimensional computer model. We kneaded, stretched, bent, rescaled, morphed, styled and polished. He delineation of the form is laid down in the digital genes of the design that hold the germ of life. The first idea is the genetic starting point for all subsequent steps in the development. We no longer accept the domination of platonic volumes, the simplistic geometry of cube, sphere, cylinder and cone as the basic elements of architecture. That resolution is much too low. Our computers allow us to command millions of coordinates describing far more complex geometries."

Along these parameters local and very specific building cultures have developed. And all of them are tightly entangled with everyday culture and practice and form a very important part there of.

Todays conditions have changed, with possibilites to source materials from around the globe and buildings being developed for less specific usages but the connections and context relevance are still very similar. Even if architects planners and especially developers are trying to denying any of this with some of the building they put up, building are still placed in context with adjoining developments.

In his new book 'Towards a New Kind of Building - A Designer's Guide for Nonstandard Architecture',published by NAi Publishers in 2011, the Dutch architect Kas Oosterhuis discusses the paradigm shift in architecture thorough the aspects of shifting design, production and manufacturing processes, highlighting the changes. He uses his own architectural work both with his office ONL and with the Hyperbody research group at the University of Delft as a reference and discusses these shifts in a wider social context.

Car showroom and workshop for BMW
Image taken from ONL / Car showroom and workshop for BMW dealer EKRIS. "Architects must learn from the evolution of car bodies. IN the thirties cars were still traditional coaches on top of a chassis, much like buildings are a loose set of components on top of a foundation structure. Car evolved in the forties and fifties into monocoque structures, self-sufficient structural monocoque shell, preciously folded and perforated as to integrate a variety of organs, wiring and cladding materials. Now it is the architects turn to design and build monocoque structures, coherent enough to actually pick them up and displace them without losing its structural integrity."

The book is structured along the process Oosterhuis is proposing with 'Tag - all components will be tagged as to process information', 'Shape - the point cloud is organized by power lines to shape the body', 'Move - building components are actors in a complex adaptive system', Evolve - the building body is a personal universe living inside evolution'.

The talking is of parametric design. Using the digital design tools the design process has shifted from individual blocks and pieces to mesh surfaces, continuous and flexibel materials strapped over point clouds and adaptive algorithms. Oosterhuis is also putting lot of emphasis on the changes and shifts leading from a top down to a bottom up planning process. He proposes this as a result of the shifting processes. What he puts forward he summarises with "From mass production to mass customisation".

The book is not the first one to do so but probably is the most direct and open about making the claim for a new architecture style that is radically different from anything been here before. However, Oosterhuis gives it another 50 years to be fully established and common practice world wide.

Towards a New Kind of Building: Book Spread
Image taken from Modern Journal / Book Spread showing the Al Nasser Head Quarter Project by ONL.

Leading architecture school all haven been for a number of years participating in this field of parametric design with dedicated units and courses to the topic. The AA, the Bartlett, TU Delft (Oosterhuis' lab), or at Yale to have only a few examples. Digital computing in architecture, especially in schools is common practice and firms like Zaha Hadid and Frank Gerry are other companies heavily using and developing such technologies.

Oosterhuis brings together in his book a well structured and comprehensive presentation of the changes brought along by the new technologies and methods and also outlines the process he has developed over the years as a 'workflow' or better probably a methodology. The presentation, as it starts in the introduction and spans right to he conclusion (which is actually already featuring in the introduction), is dominated by a very personal presentation of facts and points. This is on one hand irritating, probably because one would expect such proposal to take an objective position. On the other hand this provides space for a wealth of examples and experience presentations otherwise not possible.

Spaceport for Spaceship II
Image taken from ONL / 2012 Space Xperience Curacao [SXC], Curacao, Spaceport for Spaceship II. "The ambition of the initiators Harry van Hulten and Ben Droste *) of the Space Xperience Curacao© BV [SXC], supported by the Curacao authorities and their entrepreneurs, is to create a major touristic attractor for the Caribbean, hosting the future operator for Galactic Travels, and offering a venue for international scientific space research. The SXC landmark building, designed by the internationally renowned Dutch design studio ONL **), will be built as a spaceship, applying maritime and aviation techniques on the building body of the SXC. The SXC will be an inspiring venue both for the international scientific community, the future astronauts and for the tourists who will bring home a memorable Experience from the Space Xperience Curacao."

To some extend it also stands opposed to the process and the method being generally understood as objective, algorithmic, in the sense of digital evolution with little conventional design elements, and therefor rather absolut. The presented personal standpoint in this sense helps to brake this up and develop a rather subjective understanding of the method.

There is a lot of presentation and a clear structured text with a wealth of practical examples supporting the case. The proposition of a change a paradigma shift in architecture, or parts of the architecture world, is on one hand overdue and on the other already superseded by itself. The field is moving very fast, but is still in development and this makes it extremely difficult to comprehensively bring the fundamentals and extend of a new kind to the point. Nevertheless, this book brings together a experience and development background of about 30 years in the field and at least bring this to the point. A very good start for a new kind of building.

Towards a New Kind of Building: Book Cover
Image taken from Modern Journal / Book Cover.


Oosterhuis, K., 2011. Towards a New Kind of Building: A Designerʼs Guide for Non-standard Architecture, Rotterdam: NAI Publishers.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Drawing New York


Nike is one of the very big brands managing to cleverly connect to their customers through both very good marketing and a product range always catching and inspiring the trends. So they were very early to offer an iPod extension to connect their sport equipment with a lifestyle gadget.

Since these early days of the Nike iPod marriage a lot has changed, but the basics are stil, you can listen to your favorite music and mange your training data. Nike+ offers a platform for managing the training data based on distance, pace and route and track performance over time. It also comes as an app for the iPhone including the GPS tracking.

1000 New York Nike+ runs
Image taken from cargoCollective / The 1000 runs of New York as a sample of Nike+ training data. The activity data redraws the geography of Manhattan including many of the streets.

Cooper Smith, a interaction designer, worked with a 1000 runs taken from the Nike+ data store and produced a series of amazing graphics focusing on New York. What he is working with is really the GPS tracks and the contained time and location data. He has been using the Google Refine for data cleaning and processing for the visualisations.

The data nicely draws out the geography of New York, especially Manhattan and shows a runners map of NY of sort. It is an individuals map with a collective presentation of spatial activity. Different patterns are showing as Smith is experimenting with different visualisation and processing parameters.

1000 New York Nike+ runs
Image taken from cargoCollective / Smith explains the distance parameters: "Not surprisingly, longer runs tended to be more prevalent in areas that runners could get to stretches of uninterrupted running trails, such as Central Park, the bridges, and the West Side Highway. Landlocked areas where trails are replaced by streets tended to see much shorter runs. I was surprised to see that most of the runs originating from the Upper East Side and Upper West Side were short runs, given their proximity to Central Park. It appears that people who begin their runs in Central Park tend to go for longer runs, while those who start outside of Central Park and run into it tend to go for shorter runs".

The full animation of the data shows the patterns over a 24 hour period, superimposing the tracks in time. There seems to be more activity after work, but already in the morning is quite a peak. Nevertheless NY seems to be running all day. At least this was the picture back in autumn 2010.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Book - Urban Regeneration in the UK


Urban regeneration in the UK appears to be mainly driven by speculation developer dominated investment projects thought and planned isolated as unique pieced dropped in a pool of likeminded, but distant relatives. As it looks cities, especially inner cities are suffering from identity loss with globalisation of characters and increasingly fragmented spatial configurations.

This is of course not a objective but a very subjective view on what is happening and how these changes feel. To be fair earlier changes in the seventies and eighties were worse. In this perspective a lot has changed and the nineties and the beginning of the 21th century projects have become a lot more sensible to a little bit wider context, maybe up to the pavement, and pretend more of a respect for environment and society.

The Public, West Bromwich
Image taken from Wikimedia / A view of the Public in West Bromwich. "The Building is lovely to photograph, though looks somewhat less impressive when actually standing in front of it. A financial disaster, the scheme has yet to prove its value in attracting investment to this run-down part of the West Midlands.

Phil Jones and James Evans have published in 2008 with Sage a reader on this topic, 'Urban Regeneration in the UK: Theory and Practice'. It a classical text book with all the features 'Overview' at the beginning of a chapter, 'Key Points' at the ed of each chapter, a 'Further Reading' section and very helpful a chapter by chapter bibliography. This is not to to say it is dumb or boring on the contrary it is very helpful and allows for quicker orientation, skipping and finding of specific information.

Finding thing is really what you what with this type of book. It is not about discovering and becoming immersed in new thought, its clearly to get the facts on the tabe. An this it does along the topics of 'Policy Framework', 'Governance', 'the Competitive City', 'Sustainability' and 'Design and Cultural Regeneration'. Within this framework the book makes use of studies to present the cases and points. It is great to have such a practical focus.

Drake Circus
Image taken from geograph / A view of the Drake Circus shopping centre in Plymouth finished in 2007. It replaced a completely run down previous shopping mall. However, in stead of solving the identified problems of its precessor it presents a whole new set of complication to the city and the public. This includes its expression on the outside, connections for access, dead spaces and frontages as well as the very problematic roundabout at the north end of the development.

However it is important to point out that this is not a practical 'how to do urban regeneration guide'. This is probably to be found in the CABE reading list or somewhere around there. This book is set in an academic context focusing on state-of-the-art research. In this sense the publication is providing the theoretical background and the discussion to the topic.

It an important topic and compared to many of Europe's other large cities the quality of building in urban centres is really poor, actually dramatic. This publications provides some insight on the mechanics and the policies behind the processes leading to such a state. However it does not explain the spectacular failings. Project such as 'The Public, West Bromwich' or the 'Drake Circus' shopping centre and regeneration in Plymouth are on a two examples (see images above).

Drake Circus
Image taken from surreylibraries / 'Urban Regeneration' book cover.


Jones, P. & Evans, J., 2008. Urban Regeneration in the UK: Theory and Practice, London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Justin Bieber across the Mountains - Twitter Networks


How does the social network link location as people communicate? It would be very interesting to see how communication pattern link to location and context.

There is already quite some good stuff on this topic. Only recently John Reads defended successfully his PhD on a topic in this field. He was looking at telecommunication patterns in the South East and London region base on land line connections. He found some interesting patterns of linkages and hubs and was able to identify regions according to dominant trades. Also some landscape features showed up. For example the Thames was acting as a barrier even in the realm of phone call connections.

The TwitterNetworks of London, San Francisco or Munich generated from the NCL datasets are quite interesting where we can see how individuals are connected via interaction on te Twitter plattform using @-tweets and RT-tweets. The networks are built establishing the edges using these two direction indicators. Other networks based on twitter data have been focusing on institutions and text as with the 'Why Mediate Art' project.

NCLn_CH_networkUA
Image by urbanTick for NCLn / Circular graph showing the connection between the data sets collected for different urban areas in Switzerland. No connections between them exist, each one operates separate.

Recently the NCL network ha been looking at areas in Switzerland and mapped out the four large urban areas Zuerich, Geneva, Basel and Bern. Overall it is quite visible that Twitter is not as popular as it is in other parts of the world. It is still sort of seen as a time waister and something for nerds. This was aso reflected in the language settings with foreign languages dominating the fields. It seems quite popular with people to keep in touch with other parts of the world.

Switzerland is quite small and the linkages between the cities are well established. This is supported by a perfect public transport network and a wealth of political mechanisms to ensure equality and exchange. However socially of course the different languages to separate different communities. French is spoken in the West, German in central and North and Italian in the South of Switzerland. In the middle of sorts there is the dominating geographical landscape feature, the alps acting as barriers.

This complicated setting of barriers and ties makes Switzerland an interesting study object for social networks. It would be great to see how the different urban areas connect via individuals on social networking platforms.

Regarding our Twitter data we have two data sources. One is the individual records for each urban area over the period of one week, the other is a week long record of location based tweets sent across the whole of Switzerland including the south of Germany and the north of Italy with Milan.

NCLn_CH_overviewNetwork
Image by urbanTick for NCLn / Showing the social connections as found on Twitter within Switzerland. Data based on a location based Twitter record over the period of one week.
The alps in the centre act as barrier with only a few connections crossing them, either via a celebrity Twitter account, in this case Justin Biber and Jessica Alba or physical travel.


Looking at the first data set with individual records for each urban area, the networks separate out each city with no established connections between them. It was sort of expected, since the sample is small and the parameters are tight with only location based tweets.

Looking at the second dataset where the whole area was simultaneously recorded the big barriers show up clearly and there is a well established separation between North and South showing the alps as mountainous Twitter blockers. Interesting however, are especially the links across this barrier and there are some. Three links connect the norther part consisting of Geneva, Basel, Bern, Zuerich and southern Germany with the southern part consisting of Milan, Como and Turin. They represent different types.

The first type is the link via a common third party that is not necessarily in the area. This is most likely a very active and popular twitter acount. In this case there are three celebrities that establish the connections. They are Justin Biber, Jessica Alba and some guy Kenny Hamilton. These are the hubs that individual Twitter users from both sides of the mountains tweet at and establish a sort of second grade connection.

There is also the other type of first hand connections. this is established by an individua traveling around and tweeting both to connections in Milan, the southern part and users in Zuerich, the northern part. The fact that the individual has actually physically traveled between the two parts enforces these connections.

NCLn_CH_overviewGeography
Image by urbanTick for NCLn / Switzerland with the locations of recorded tweets. This has been collected over a period of one week. The purple line shows the route travels by one individual users tweeting along the way and interacting with other user from both sides of the mountainous barrier.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Book - Improvisation and Urban Practice - ReplayCity


Space in the city is subject to transformation on different time scales. It is being built and rebuilt constantly and not only by diggers and cranes, but also though the decisions and makings of individuals programming the space.

Theories and practice on this have been neglected for some time and it has been deemed old fashioned to pick up on them. However, more and more the discussion around the production of space and the making capacity of individuals also regarding the conception of space, has gained momentum. A number of aspects probably have lead to this, including the availability of new technologies which requires more dynamic and more subjective conceptions of space.

Fun Palace
Image taken from SLCL.CA / Cedric Price 'Fun Palace' diagram. "Automation is coming. More and more, machines do our work for us. There is going to be yet more time left over, yet more human energy unconsumed. The problem which faces us is far more than that of the ‘increased leisure’ to which our politicians and educators so innocently refer. This is to underestimate the future. The fact is that as machines take over more of the drudgery, work and leisure are increasingly irrelevant concepts. The distinction between them breaks down. We need, and we have a right, to enjoy the totality of our lives. We must start discovering now how to do so." – Cedric Price (From Agit-prop to Free Space: The Architecture of Cedric Price).

In his new book 'ReplayCity - Improvisation als urbane Praxis' Christopher Dell brings together an refreshed view on these practices and conceptions. The book is published by Jovis and is only available in German at the moment. The book is organised in three parts, the first one on the city and urban practice, the second on e on improvisation and space and the third part on music and space.

Dell is arguing that the cities have become more complex also because of size and number of people living together, but also has identified a shift in the questioning of the city. He points out that the question no longer is 'What is the meaning of city?' but now would be ' What produces the city?'

One of the topics for example that is discussed in the book as part of the improvisation and everyday negotiations in space is the aspect of the politics of space.Here it is the discussion around the use of order as structure, form and function of space as defined by individuals, groups or organisation. This does to some extend tie in with Hagerstrands three basic conceptions of space and time where he focuses on restrictions and constraints. This is a much more negative definition Hagerstrand proposes and its great to have it reformulated here by Dell.

The book sources the great thinkers of the past ranging from Kant, to Lefebvre, to the Situationists with Guy Debord and de Certeau. It however also features Peter And Alison Smithson with CIAM or Cedric Price and other great names of the architecture scene of the mid twenties century, very much related for examples to the publication 'Radical Games'.

ReplayCity
Image taken from metronature / John Cage's A Dip in the Lake is the exploration of a city by means of a 'random' soundmap that leads performers, listeners, or participants to places they may never have been before. The score identifies up of 427 locations within a city. The 'locations' are either very specific (such as the intersection of two streets), or more general (such as 'a park' or 'Lake Ontario'). Recordings are made at each of these locations, and divided into 10 groups of 2 (quicksteps), 61 groups of 3 (waltzes) and 56 groups of 4 (marches). These groups of recordings are then mixed live by the performers.

The discussion is cleverly organised and the improvisation terms as well as practice is used to discuss the wider questions of space and city ranging all the way to the design of cities. The book puts forward a very clear theoretical base and argues without loosing sight of the goal consequently along the activities and actions of citizens as the driving element of spacial production. Dell manages to bring the reader to think about the city as a dynamic pice that is constantly shaped and reshaped. This is not a new idea at all, but it has not been presented in such a consequent and updated form for the past thirty years. Dell would not put it this way but essentially what he talks about is the congruence of form and activity as Carl Stinitz put it in the Hypothesis to his article in 1968 'Meaning and the congruence of urban form and activity': "There is a high overall level of congruence between form and activity. Congruence is defined as consistency between the physical form characteristics of an environment and the attributes of its activities". And this is definitely an upcoming topic that will, as a concept, be extremely useful especially in connection with the available technology of distributed mobile computing and sensing.

ReplayCity
Image taken from pro-qm.de / ReplayCity book cover.


Dell, C., 2011. Replaycity: Improvisation als urbane Praxis, Berlin: Jovis Verlag.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Mediating Mediums - a Vision in 3D


The digital 3rd dimension is a long standing topic in many disciplines and together with augmented reality technologies has had a tremendous boost. Most smart phone platforms these days offer tools and applications to integrate and use AR style packages. However in most cases it is still quite quirky and lagging which probably has got a lot to do with the physics of the device, especially the small screen.

Floating1
Image by Greg Tran / The transformation of the existing with an overlaid digital vision. The beauty of emptiness and the secret lives of spaces after everybody else has left.

A number of visions have been produced besides the large scale cinema adaptations like 'Minority Report', where AR and real time 3d rendering play their magic. Three examples from architecture students were 'Domestic Robocop', 'Augmented City 3D' and 'ArchiMaton'.

Another more comprehensive examination of the topic now comes from a Master student Greg Tran at Harvard Graduate School of Design. The clip is basically his Master Thesis and examines as well as at the same time experiments the augmented 3D digital scapes potentially of interest for spatial manipulation and design.

ModelTransfer
Image by Greg Tran / Partly social networking partly 3D model development, physicality in its digital form.

In the clip Tran presents the current state of the art as well as the main problems with the confusions between 2D, 2,5D and 3D and beyond. He also focuses on the augmented reality aspects as well as materiality. In amazing scenes he shows how the building itself is transformed, extended or disolved.

Further more he also integrates social aspects and the social networking into the possibilities and with this links it back to his current practice as an architecture student. This makes it a very grounded and realistic vision for what a very 'cool' and visionary future of architecture could be.

The aspects of design and prettiness of course are a full feature of the technology. AR is not only a new tool with useful capabilities it is also dam well pretty. To some extend this prettiness is currently blurring the view on most applications of AR tom actually make them useful, but with such grounded and pragmatic visions such as Tan offers the field could make a move forward.



Find the full text script of the storyboard on scribd HERE.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Book - City of Collision


The conflict between Palestina and Israel is ongoing and has occupied the region for the past century or even more. There is usually a lot of broad discussion on political issues and strategic planning. There is very little debate in the mainstream media on spatial planning and urban planning and its effects on everyday live.

This is a very crucial topic since the spatial planning aspects are tightly interlinked with the political and military planning and to a large extend represent the implementation of such strategies with all the consequences for everyday live and the general population.

Ranging from placement of settlements to the management of building regulations and the steering of infrastructure down to the building of walls and fences this practice is what effects live in the region the most. In the 2006 publication 'City of Collision - Jerusalem and the Principles of Conflict Urbanism' published by Birkhaeuser the editors Philipp Misselwitz and Tim Rieneits bring together a large collection of essays examining the topic from a range of different angles offering a variety of perspectives on the entangled situation through he lens of planning and spatial organisation. The book is to some extend a precursor of the more recent 'Atlas of Conflict' by Malikit Shoshan. However, the City of Collision offers a range of different perspectives and addresses topics from different angles as a series of punctuated discussions.

The publication is organised in five chapters each with five or six essays and extended with a graphical essay. The list of contributors is long and includes for example Eyal Weizman from the Goldsmith University. The project was supported by different instituions and a such is a collaboration between Berlin University of the Arts, the International Peace and Cooperation Centre, the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, Department of Architecture and the ETH Zuerich, Institute dor Urban Design.

City of Collision 13
Image by Bas Princen taken from ETHZ Kees Christianse / A view into the hills of Sur Bahir.

Very interesting and informative are the maps section inserted between the chapters. In either digrams or maps a specific topic is graphically investigated and presented as a short visual essay. These sections are extremely helpful as they not only shed light on process details but also provide a comprehensive spatial context for a the text essays.

The five topic are 'Conflict and Urban Transformation', 'Hosh and Apartment', 'Mobility and Immobility', 'Fear and Assertion' and 'Growth and Decay'. Each section is highlighting the differences between the Israeli and Palestinian side. This is graphically represented in the use of two colours blue for the Israeli sie and green for the Palestinian side.

The first section 'Conflict and Urban Transformation' is dedicated to the timeline of spatial changes and the changes in power and ownership. In maps the transformation from Palestine, as the British Mandate (1917), to the Oslo Accords (1993) and the Road Map (2004). These changes are presente overall, but also in detail on the level of Jerusalem and an example of a village, Sur Bahir. This is then for the rest of the graphic essays the focal area. It is an example of an Palestinian village next to an Israeli settlement.

City of Collision 13
Image taken from unverzagt / Book spread page 202/203 graphical essay 'Mobility and Immobility' the road system Sur Bahir / Har Homa (2005).

The second graphic essa 'Hosh and Apartmet' is concerned with the building type and the building process. Here the traditions and practices are presented in detail and provide inside in the completely different mechanics of proceses of change between the two side.

The third graphic essay 'Mobility and Immobility' is concerned with the possibilities and impossibilities of travel and movement. Again focusing on the differences between the two sides. In diagrams and maps it is shown in detail ho route choices are forced and how travel times are influenced by the strategic planning and implementation of practice by the Israeli planning authorities.

City of Collision 10
Image taken from unverzagt / Book spread page 272/273 graphical essay 'Fear and Assertion' the sound Sur Bahir / Har Homa (2005).

The section on 'Fear and Assertion' is probably the most interesting as it starts to divert from the objective map making and entering the realm of the subjective perspective and perception. Stil the essay concentrates on representing spatial aspects. There is for example a graphical depict of how the two villages Sur Bahir on the Palestinian side and Har Homa on the Israeli side see each other. Further more this section looks at the soundscape, the lighting after dark and the graffiti's in both villages. This section manages to transmit a feeling for how live is different at a more substantial and subjective level.

The fifth section 'Growth and Decay' is focusing on the everyday changes of the urban landscape. Thus looking at urban transformation in terms of building stock, but also religion, wealth and ecology. Furthermore it also looks at family clans and changes in ownership as well as at decay and wast management or the absence of management.

As such the book has not lost any of its actuality since it is covering the ongoing conflict where little progress was achieved in the past ten years. Practices and mechanics are still largely the same. The discussion of course is specific to the location and puts forward vivid examples of the region, however it can reach out and provide insight for similar landscapes of conflicts from around the globe.

City of Collision book coverCity of Collision book cover
Images taken from tcdc receource centre / Book front and back cover.


Misselwitz, P. & Rieneits, T. eds., 2006. City of Collision: Jerusalem and the Principles of Conflict Urbanism, Basel: Birkhauser.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A Week on Foursquare and Twitter


The news papers are currently not only fueling the data mining trend, they are pushing it themselves. The New York Times is leading the way with the data viz lab, but also the Guardian with the data blog is very active. Now the Wall Street Journal is picking up on the topic and has just published a number of stories on Foursquare data analysis.

Just like the NYT or the Guardian, the people at the Wall Street Journal are not just writing about it they are collecting and processing the data themselves. It's almost like the return of the good old journalist days, where stories are entirely produced by news papers, just that it is digital, remote and massive this time.

A Week on Foursquare WSJ
Image taken from l2thinktank / The heat map showing Foursquare check-in activity in New York between 9am and 11am on a Monday.

The WSJ projet 'A Week on Foursquare' collected every single check in on Foursquare for an entire week, earlier this year. They recorded "Over 10.9 million check-ins — that's more than 1.5 million a day" which includes check-ins world wide. For New York alone there are 310,000+ check-ins and for San Francisco and the Bay Area 190,000+.

Comparing these numbers to the NCL Twitter data set that we collect for urban areas, this Foursquare data set seems to be quite good. With a low level access to Twitter we recorded about half the number of location based tweets that WSJ did on Foursquare. For the New York NCL map we collected 160'000+ location based tweets and 80'000+ for San Francisco NCL. However, there are a ot more tweets out there that potentially coud be draw in to a dataset. WSJ claims to have collected every single Foursquare check in, where with Twitter we are collecting about 1% of tweets. So there is some potential in terms of numbers. This is however not to say , that the quality of the information would be better. It might, but who knows.

A Week on Foursquare WSJ
Image taken from markwilliammann / A graph showing the popularity of the top 80 locations along percentage of check-ins. Blue and red show New York and San Francisco respectively. The list is clearly lead by the check-in at the office followed by home and coffee shop.

The people at WSJ have run all sorts of visualisation on the data, mainly focusing on the vis of distribution and rankings. With the check-in function Foursquare offers, the venues are a very obvious element to look at. They concluded "the distribution of venues world-wide showed that out of the 2,197,870 venues with a category assigned, and at least one check-in during the week, 44.5% had just one check-in. Just 2,500 venues had 100 or more check-ins. The most popular had more than 13,000 over the week, and the second most had almost 7,000. Venue popularity dropped off very quickly, but had an extremely long tail. The average number of check-ins per venues was 4, and the median was 2."

This one extremely popular venue in fact was not an actual place, but a fictional place in New York with the name Snowpocalypse 2011 and was related to the snowfall New York saw during the week the data was collected. Some 13'000 people checked in over the period of of two days. See the weather related details HERE.

On the man page you can replay the data on a map for the locations New York and San Francisco. The visualisation is based on heat maps overlaid on Google Maps. Interesting is the offering of three views, each showing the same location but with a one hour time shift. Using this its interesting to follow a build up of activity or at the end of the day the rather quick brake of in activity.

San Francisco New City Landscape

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / San Francisco New City Landscape - Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top right corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Explore areas you know close up and find new locations you have never heard of. Click HERE for a full screen view. The maps were created using our CASA Tweet-O-Meter, in association with DigitalUrban and coded by Steven Gray, this New City Landscape represents location based twitter activity.

Comparing the WSJ Foursquare heat maps to the NCL density maps that we produced using the Twitter data there are a lot of similarities. In fact mostly the maps overall pick up the same hot spots. Most notable is the difference in New York, where Brooklyn is almost not active on Foursquare, where on Twitter, Brooklyn is as active as Manhattan. Also the Financial District is on Foursquare is not quite as active and trails behind Soho. In San Francisco the overal pattern is again similar with the main activity area concentrated around the Market Street. However, interestingly there is quite some activities around the Golden Gate Park especially after work between 5pm and 9pm.

These data sets will increasingly play an important role in spatial analysis, simply because they seemingly deliver the facts to activities and places. However, looking at the stats of both Twitter and Foursquare it shows how little of the population is represented in these data sets. WSJ makes it quite clear in their blog post that "a survey last year showed that fewer than 5% of Americans had ever used Foursquare or its rivals, and only about 1% used such a location-based service on a daily basis." As such, beside the visualisation there is currently little that can be finally concluded on a general level. Nevertheless, there is a quite a lot o potential for projects looking at the sample as such, inventing a constrained context. There are enough details that can be investigated limited to the sample.

New York New City Landscape

Image by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / New York New City Landscape -Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top right corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Explore areas you know close up and find new locations you have never heard of. Click HERE for a full screen view.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Material Revolution - From Technology to Process


Sustainability as a concept applies to a range of scales and has to be implemented in each step from planning to production to building, use and recycling. Only overall a maximum of impact is archived. For individual steps this might not make the difference but for the project of a whole this is important. In this sense taking on a global view and develop the project in a wider context is important in order to mange the palette of wide ranging impacts from source to production and recycling of a single project.

Material are playing a mayor part in this since they are the very substance each of the project steps is taking shape through the application and transformation of material. In this sense material can be seen as the very practical and central element of sustainable design.

solid poetry concrete
Image taken from traces / Solid Poetry developed this moisture reactionary concrete. Customised patterns are possible on a range of cales to appear if the concrete surface ges wet. Flowers grow as it rains or footprints emerge from pool splashes.

A lot of material innovation have changed the way products are being not only designed but also used, loved and recycled. In a new Birkhaeuser publication by the author Sacha Peters these changes in the material world are being presented. The book 'Material Revolution: Sustainable Multi-purpose Materials for Design and Architecture' focuses on the latest innovations in material design as well as production. The publication presents materials as tightly interwoven with products and makes good use of product examples to demonstrate and especially illustrate the potential of a specific type of material. Also the production process is especially highlighted as part of the sustainability aspect of a material. However the recycling of the material is not discussed as a material property. This would have been an interesting aspect.

The book is structured in eight chapters grouping together materials based on properties such as Bio-Based, Biodegradable, Recycled, Leightweight, Shape-Changing, Multifunctional, Energy-Generation and Light-Influencing. These groups might not make sense as such, but are perfectly fitted with the examples they put forward. This ranges from concrete that reacts to moisture by SolidPoetry or fabrics that have a built in shape memory.

Max Schäth shape-shifting hood
Image taken from vicinteractivesurface / This is an expressive shape-shifting hood that references the senses and feelings of a person in an abstract way. It subtly transforms and changes shape via shape memory alloys. The project was developed Max Schäth.

Each material is discussed along the same three structural elements of 'Concept and Properties', 'Use and Processing' and 'Products'. This provides a good guidance for the reader and makes it easier to compare the different material and their properties. The publication discusses a very large range and number of different materials, so many in fact that is becomes almost a material catalogue. This leaves only little room for each individual material and the provided information is rather limited. In this sense the book is a good starting point, providing an overview and basic comparison.

Interestingly there is a lot of discussion about sustainability of materials and the importance of the concept, but in the end little of this comes down to the actual material and on the leve of the material sustainability is not present, only really in the book concept. This is a shame since the importance would be for the perspective this book has chosen on each material property against its sustainability value.

Nevertheless a good catalogue for designers and architects with great product examples also as a source of inspiration, providing an overview of the latest available and upcoming materials for specific product purposes.

Image taken from Birkhaeuser on issuuu / Book preview.


Peters, S., 2011. Material Revolution: Sustainable Multi-purpose Materials for Design and Architecture, Basel: Birkhauser.