Page 1

Exploring the Future of American Cities


01

02

Scope Cities x Design is a book, with a companion DVD and media portal, that demonstrates how investing in creativity and design can change perceptions, boost tourism and create unique places in the United States. This book looks at design within the framework of American cities and highlights the various roles that designers play to foster positive change. It works across boundaries by bringing together several fields of study that are usually presented as separate entities. By articulating the connections that exist between design, designers and cities, and focusing on practitioners at all levels, the book aims to promote the social, economic and

cultural dimensions of design methodologies without being overly academic. Co-authored by experienced international experts in design and cultural policy it is conceived like a guide and intended to be casually read by designconscious people, individuals interested in learning about design practices, and those who are curious in visiting and experiencing interesting ideas taking shape in US cities. The book presents, during a time of economic questioning, over 70 case studies, interviews, and best practices on how investing in design can change the way we view, work and live in American cities.

03

04

1


05

06

07

08

1. Appetite Engineers, San Francisco, CA 2. Interview and filming, Denver, CO 3. Road sign, New Mexico 4. Tabard Inn, Washington, DC 5. GM Technical Center, Detroit, MI 6. North Beach, San Diego, CA 7. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MI 8. University of Iowa, Center for the Book, Iowa City

Š Cities x Design - Exploring the Future of American Cities

-2


01

02

03

3

1. 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville, KY 2. Tim Bessell, San Diego, CA 3. Marlen Grove, Phoenix, AZ 4. The Steel Yard, Providence, RI

04


Research Methodology On July 1, 2009 we set out on a 30-city US tour to better understand the role that design plays in building communities, promoting sustainability, redeveloping cities and defining places. To organize the research trip, we based ourselves on our body of work in the field of design, international development and the UK creative industries movement (see full CVs). The preparation also involved an additional research period of 3 months that focused on identifying the 30 mid-sized American cities (1) to be visited and researched and establishing contact with the potential interviewees. This book deliberately excludes America’s two largest cities, New York and Los Angeles, because of the scale of both cities in terms of design-related content. We plan to work on a follow-up publication dedicated to New York and Los Angeles in the near future. During the journey, we identified the subtle connections between mid-sized cities, creativity and people in the United States through the lens of design by meeting local individuals and by observing social, economic and cultural aspects of each city. At each stop we sought to understand which of the 26 disciplines of design (2) were present within the city. We also analyzed each destination in terms of it’s cultural heritage content according to the United Nation’s definition of cultural heritage (3).

The final book will be a compilation of introductory city profiles, case studies and over 70 interviews of people* encountered during the trip (i.e: educators, design practitioners, organizations, city officials, developers, business owners, students, amongst others) in 30 American cities. Photographs of unique places and images of design projects will be compiled to illustrate the issues and ideas discussed. (1) The cities were selected for their size and potential of being classified as a creative city. We based our selection on several books and research documents that are linked to the creative industries and creative city movements. (e.g. Richard Florida, Charles Landry, American for the Arts). (2) See document “26 disciplines”. Design, in this context, is viewed as an expansive field that comprises 26 disciplines and that touches on many different sectors. (3) We developed a cultural heritage checklist based on the UN definition of culture, which lists 20 aspects of cultural heritage in order to better understand a city’s cultural assets. This definition was developed by the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, in 2002 for the International Year of Cultural Heritage.

During the past 4 months, we have produced over 70 video interviews and have written over 100 short articles that are published online in the form of blog posts and rough cut format video excerpts. The online content will work as an evolving complement to the book and DVD. It is anticipated that regular news updates and more videos will be added during the promotional book tour.

© Cities x Design - Exploring the Future of American Cities

-4


Co-Authors Jay Corless MA, London College of Communications, UK Born in Miami, Florida and raised as a cultural nomad, Jay has recently returned to the USA after 15 years of living abroad. He held several positions with UNESCO in Paris, France, including web development, communication and the cultural diplomacy fields. He has most recently provided business and expansion consulting services to the London Design Festival, DesignPhiladelphia and Design Miami, and his 2007 MA thesis Creative Revolution, How British Creative Industry Policy is Changing the World received a distinction of merit from the UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Sali Sasaki MA, Royal College of Art, London, UK Born in Yokohama, Japan and raised in Paris, France. Sali is the former manager of UNESCO’s Creative Cities, an international network of 19 cities, from 14 different countries. She has international experience as a design researcher and practitioner has worked with design institutions such as ICOGRADA, INDEX:, Art Center College of Design and the International Design Center in Nagoya. She has written numerous papers for city governments and design organizations and has previously organized international design workshops on social design.

7

Contact sali@salisasaki.com

Credits All photos, design, illustrations Š 2009 - 2010 Cities x Design www.citiesxdesign.org


01

04 Individuals from different cities discuss why design can make a difference: 1. Katie Jain and Joel Templin, principals at JAQK Cellars, in San Francisco, talk about their newly launched wine label that revolves around the theme of poker. 2. Andrew Blauvelt, design director and curator at the Walker Art Center, in Minneapolis, likes to look at design as a cross-disciplinary field that affects society at large. 3. Sasha White, owner of Vanilla Bicycles, in Portland, describes his passion for cycling and the craft of custom-frame building.

02

4. Danny Abshire, CTO at Newton Running, in Boulder, is behind a revolutionary concept shoe that alleviates the negative physical impact of running on the human body.

03

Š Cities x Design - Exploring the Future of American Cities

-8


02

06 01

PORTLAND OR Portland is a city at a human scale that shows outstanding sustainable habits and retains a fresh independent spirit that is perhaps best reflected in its coffee culture, countless microbreweries, and bicycle-friendly streets. It is a city that is open to differences, attracts hip crowds and is very affordable. Across its neighborhoods, Portland shows a creative flair and interest in design in shops, restaurants, markets, museums and hotels. Sustainability in Portland is derived from a strong sense of community and traditions in DIY culture. Portlanders are concerned about the quality of life in their city and they like to be involved in the process of making things. Urban farming is expanding, pop-up restaurants offer tasty healthy

Sample page 1

03

food, DIY markets are often part of a family week-end ritual. Portland feels like a city made by individuals and not corporations. It is a humanized urban environment that connects people very naturally and which proves that there are promising new ways of living in an American city.


05

06

04

1. Sixth Ave., Downtown Portland 2. Ace Hotel 3. Stumptown Coffee 4. Zupans Market 5. Museum of Contemporary Craft 6. Voodoo Doughnuts 7. Old Town

07

Š Cities x Design - Exploring the Future of American Cities

-2


COMMUNITY The people are behind Portland’s unique character and they make the city work in eccentric ways. A great city is a place where locals can find comfort and inspiration in their own city. It is also a place where visitors find new authentic experiences. In that respect, Portland is both a great place to live and a unique place to visit.

HOTEL / CAFE / RESTAURANT Ace Hotel On Stark Street, this hotel serves as headquarters for curious travelers and as workspace for local residents in search of inspiration acehotel.com Stumptown Coffee The Ace hotel lobby extends toward Stumptown Coffee where each single cup of coffee is literally made to perfection, stumptowncoffee.com Clyde Common On the other end of the hotel lobby this stylish restaurant serves foreign and domestic cuisine cooked with local ingredients. clydecommon.com

Sample page 3


LOCAL BREWERIES Portlanders like to have discussions about their favourite micro-brewed ale. Here are a few pubs to get started in the local conversation: Deschutes Brew Pub deschutesbrewery.com Bridgeport Brewing Co. bridgeportbrew.com Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. luckylab.com Full Sail Brewing Co. fullsailbrewing.com

INDEPENDENT RETAIL Reading Frenzy is an “independent press emporium” or in other words a very unconventional bookstore and publisher that sells artist’s books of all kinds. Mostly crafted and handmade, these books are little collector’s pieces like no other. readingfrenzy.com Lark Press is a letterpress studio and shop that is dedicated to bespoke paper goods and old school craftsmanship. larkpress.com Stand Up Comedy curates all things design from fashion to products and graphics. It is a compilation of the most cutting edge design works from around the world. shopstandingup.us

© Cities x Design - Exploring the Future of American Cities

-4


SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability in Portland is streamlined in all aspects of everylife like housing, products, food and transportation. Local designermakers such as Studio Gorm introduce poetic ways of establishing a sustainable lifestyle at home, while the Museum of Contemporary Craft and The Oregon College of Art and Craft adapt craftsmanship in a 21st century context.

CYCLING Bike Portland This website was founded by photographer and journalist Jonathan Maus in 2007. Very quickly this site has become one the most important and influential news source in the United States. It mainly focuses on Portland’s bike scene and advocacies issues related to America’s most bike-friendly city. bikeportland.org Sweet Pea Bicycles Natalie Ramsland is a designermaker who creates custom bicycles for women. According to a line in her manifesto “Every woman is different. Every bike should be too” sweetpeabicycles.com Vanilla Bicyles See interview with Sacha White Sample page 5


CONTEMPORARY CRAFT The Museum of Contemporary Craft Founded in 1937 by a group of women who were interested in retaining artists who came to Portland, it was initially called the Ceramics Studio See interview with Namita Gupta Wiggers museumofcontemporarycraft.org Oregon College of Art and Craft This school remains one of the few accredited crafts programs in the United States. It was founded by Julia Hoffman in 1907 to promote the value of arts and crafts in daily life. Today the school seeks to teach the next generation of craftsmen about the relevance of handmade objects in the 21st century and prepare them to become creative professionals in their chosen field. ocac.edu Studio Gorm John Arndt and Wonhee Jeong met at the Art Academy in Eindhoven before setting up this design practice in nearby Eugene. Their products are smart, playful, conceptual and beautifully combine design with craftsmanship and sustainable thinking. studiogorm.com

Š Cities x Design - Exploring the Future of American Cities

-6


Vanilla Bicycles A shop, led by Sacha White, where painters, wood, leather and metal workers collaborate to deliver handcrafted bicycles that reflect Portland’s unique character.

Sample page 7


Sacha White

Owner, Designer, Custom frame builder

Can you talk to us about the bicycle culture in Portland how that might impact other cities? Portland gets a lot of play about what’s happening with the bicycle in our city and I think what’s special about what’s happening right now is that the bicycle has been accepted in the city. So when you are riding around on a bike its normal now, a person feels like they belong when they are on the street, so they are not getting yelled off of the street. I think there is probably a tipping point in any community where bicycles are on the fringe and then maybe they are less on the fringe and then they get to this point where they become socially acceptable and they become more normal rather than less normal and then I think everything just opens up from there. I think that’s where Portland is right now, and maybe we are a little ahead of the curve compared to other cities around the country but it seems like they are catching up pretty quickly and I’m really happy to see that happening. Can you briefly describe the process of designing a custom bicycle? The parts of design with a bicycle are fit number one, but then also how the bike is laid out underneath them and that’s going to dictate if the bike has a balanced ride and if its going to perform the way that it should perform for the type of bicycle that it is, so those two things go hand in hand but they are not the same. So fit and that final design. From there I will take all the numbers that I need to off my design, so that I know how long I need to cut the tubes and what angles my fixture that holds all of the tubing and what angles that needs to be set up at and all of that, so its a process of taking all that information off the drawing and then recreating that in metal. To me that’s what is special about a custom builder and that is what’s special about

a someone with experience is that they can go through those stages and create something as it was intended to be because small mistakes create an undesirable bicycle or something that doesn’t handle the way that it should. How do you balance the need for experimentation and the pursuit of perfection? I am not trying to reproduce something consistently there are other builders that do that and I really admire them because they are trying to perfect one form. For me, especially early on, and that would be the first five years, I was really experimenting a lot and really doing different things and different shapes here, really making a point of not doing the same thing twice. Because that would seem like having the same thing out there in the world some how seemed wrong to me. More recently though, I’ve been building for 11 years, so over that time there have been bikes that when all is said and done, they are just right, the overall shape is right, the colors are right, the components are right and everything to me, is just proper, is just the way this kind of bike is supposed to be. So over the years I’ve definitely found certain bikes that I would think of making as models rather than doing everything super custom and one of a kind, there have been bikes that I have said to myself I would like to make a thousand of those bikes. Would if be fair to say your new line, Speedvagen, is you pursuit of perfection in racing bikes? Speedvagen is an expression of that, taking those shapes and taking those geometries that produce certain ride characteristics, they are, as a limited production batch built bicycle, they embody the best of what I’ve found in my race bikes.

© Cities x Design - Exploring the Future of American Cities

-8


It’s now been almost 11 years of building custom bicycles for you, do you see yourself ever slowing down? For some reason it seems to be endlessly satisfying. I don’t know if there would ever be a point where, as a frame builder, or doing anything, in any pursuit of any discipline, I don’t know if anyone can get to the point where they would say: I’m done, there is nothing more that I can learn.

Sample page 9

vanillabicyles.com


Museum of Contemporary Craft A place with a 21st century vision in which craft takes on new dimensions and reflects on sustainability and locality.

Namita Gupta Wiggers Curator

What makes Portland such a unique design, crafts and arts community? Because we are a smaller city it’s also a community where you have to learn to work outside of those norms that you would get in other cities. We don’t have a big collector base, we don’t have a huge industry supporting a lot of the arts organizations (...) we have some, but not like what you would get in Philadelphia, New York or Chicago or places like that. So you have to come up with new models, (and) there is a really strong entrepreneurial spirit that happens in Portland and that has led to a lot of shoe designers moving out here, bike designers, the craft community has been huge here for decades. When you live out on the west coast and shipping in the 40s, for example, was incredibly expensive, worse than it is even today, you had to figure out how to make your own things because you had to some things on your table to serve dinner and so forth. This became a place where people learned how to do it themselves because they didn’t have the ability necessarily to get it from elsewhere. It also opened up a really nice way to define things for yourself because it’s a newer city and we are not beholden to a lot of the older traditions in some ways that other cities are, so Portland as a community has been able to look to Asia, to Europe and to the rest of the United States. But there is a lot picking and choosing that happens here, where you can really do things your own way. museumofcontemporarycraft.org © Cities x Design - Exploring the Future of American Cities

- 10

Cities x Design Project Description  

Cities x Design is a publication project about the role of design plays in 30 American cities.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you