Artful Impact: The Let’s Colour Project brightens up communities

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I’ve always felt the Spanish nailed it with the bright colors in their architecture.  It adds such vibrancy to a neighborhood.  Well, the Let’s Colour Project must agree, since they are on a mission to launch a color movement across the globe.  From their website:

Grey is out. Gloom is gone. It’s time to live our lives in colour.

The Let’s Colour Project is a worldwide initiative to transform grey spaces with vibrant colour. A mission to spread colour all over the world.

We are working together with local communities across the globe, rolling up our sleeves to paint streets, houses, schools and squares.

Check out some beautiful community transformation in time lapse:

On the film:

This 2 minute global film was shot by multi-award winning director Adam Berg over four weeks in Brazil, France, London and India. Every location is real and they remain transformed by a palette consisting of 120 different colours. The people in the film are not actors, they are real people who rolled up their sleeves to transform their community with colour.

[Props: Nerdcore]

Posted on June 1st 2010 in Artful Impact

Are we there yet?

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An interesting discussion emerged recently after Ryan Avent argued that regulatory hurdles are preventing any innovation in the automobile sector.  Since carmakers face strict safety requirements, among many other constraints, they are effectively pigeonholed into creating cars of a certain size and weight.  Avent proposed creating the space for innovation by making separate lanes free from traditional car traffic, thus freeing carmakers of some of the traditional regulatory constraints and opening the door to genuine innovation, such as smaller, lighter single-passenger vehicles.

James Joyner was quick to dismantle Avent’s imaginary cars on practical grounds.  Megan McArdle reaffirmed that safety concerns necessitate bigger, stronger and thus heavier cars and also reminded us that most Americans need storage space for groceries and such.  One of her readers pointed to the Smart Car as experimental evidence of these arguments.

Most of Avent’s critics made valid points, but I believe his ideas were mostly appropriate for urban users that have become adept at dealing with space constraints, and it rings true to me that creating the space is a crucial element.  In the same way that bike lanes bring more bikers out on the road, a safer space could bring all kinds of interesting transport devices out in the open.  Readers following the discussion at The Daily Dish pointed to the Myers Motors NmG and to Segway’s P.U.M.A as examples of what we can expect to see.

Notwithstanding all the holes and hypotheticals, it actually seems to me that the industry is taking significant steps in the right direction on fuel-efficiency.  Consider some recent news.

First came the enormously symbolic death of the Hummer, after its proposed sale to a Chinese car company fell through.  Then, Porsche unveiled its 918 Spyder Hybrid, capable of 198 mph top speeds while getting an impressive 78 miles per gallon.  Mercedez Benz officially entered the luxury hybrid market.  And Volkswagen announced it wants to be the market leader in electric vehicle sales.

In his final post on automobiles, Avent imagined the day when small innovative vehicles might retail at around $2,000-$3,000.   India’s Tata Motors, which rocked the auto-world in 2006 with its $2,000 Nano, may have brought that day closer with the release of an electric version, and is meanwhile planning on entering the U.S. market.

Abandoning wasteful excess.  Hybrid high-powered sports and luxury vehicles.  Making it affordable.  I don’t know, I may be optimistic, but it feels like we are reaching a critical point on the road to mass adoption of energy efficient vehicles.

For more, check out GOOD’s 15 most energy efficient vehicles of 2010

Posted on March 10th 2010 in news

Artful Impact: If Manhattan ate strictly local

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I prefer my videos with a little music, but this silent film created by MVRDV is pretty damn cool.  It demonstrates the spatial implications if Manhattan were to attempt to grow all of its food on the island of Manhattan.

Money fact: growing it all in a single building would require a 23 mile-high skyscraper.

[Props: good]

Posted on March 7th 2010 in Artful Impact

Commuting patterns by city

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The Infrastructurist put together the cool graphic below, which breaks down the different modes of commuting in some of America’s big cities.

Money facts:

  • NYC, naturally, has the highest proportion of public transportation users
  • DC puts forth the biggest chunk of walkers
  • Houston may have the highest proportion of drivers, but it also has the highest proportion of carpoolers

[Image source: The Infrastructurist]

    Posted on February 22nd 2010 in news

    OrgWatch: ShotSpotter targets gunshots with acoustic sensors

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    ShotSpotter does pretty much what it’s name implies, but spots via sound.  It’s pretty impressive:

    I was originally introduced to this idea by someone at Tactical Philanthropy, who was investing in the technology and spoke about it at NYU’s 2009 Annual Satter Conference on Social Entrepreneurs.

    People will claim that, even with these sensors to identify the location of gunshots, the shooters will likely have fled the scene before responders can arrive.  The National Institute of Justice concedes in a report that it is unlikely to lead to more arrests. However, there have been a success stories here and there.

    The real long-term benefit, though, is strategic.  Aside from the potential to have quicker response time and even arrests in a few cases, the data itself might help to give a much realer picture of the level of crime some of our cities are facing.  The aforementioned report states that only a dismal 23% of gunshots are ever reported.  Getting these things down on maps and into data models will be a good step towards better law enforcement.

    My biggest concern is that police, knowing that a gun is in their vicinity, may get itchier trigger fingers.  But that is an issue of management and discipline, and one we should be constantly perfecting nonetheless.

    Posted on January 21st 2010 in OrgWatch
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