Wednesday, October 25

Massive Monthly | October

In an effort to keep BLYGAD readers in the AFH 'know', I'm rolling out the Massive Monthly, a monthly Architecture for Humanity news update that will usually correspond with the AFH monthly newsletter (of course, you could always just go straight to the source and sign up for the newsletter). So, with little time to waste, and a massive amount of news to cover, let's jump in:

We're happy to welcome three new AFH local chapters to the family: Venice Beach California, Ames Iowa, and Austin Texas. In other chapter news, AFH San Francisco has a new website and is recruiting members. And, as always, You can find links to all of the AFH Local Chapters with a web presence in the sidebar to the right.

The Open Architecture Network is an idea on the grandest scale, it's also quite a mouthful to try and describe so I'm going to leave it up to the man behind it all, Cameron Sinclair:

"Since winning the TED Prize in March we've been working with a number of technology companies to develop a new community and gathering place for those interested in improving the built environment to collaborate, implement and research sustainable innovative projects and practices around the world. Architects, community groups, international NGOs and others could post their own projects, search and review the work of others, contribute to shared resources, collaborate with each other and access project management tools to help implement projects in the field. As a place that helps turn ideas into realizable projects, we are also looking into building user-generated content, materials, technologies, building codes, contracts and other resources. Coupled with this is an open licensing system developed through Creative Commons. We imagine a site that not only helps create, support and implement ideas, but also a place that fosters sustainable, replicable, adaptable and scalable design solutions. The network has a simple mission; to generate design opportunities that will improve living standards for all. We want to launch in 2007 so help us get it done."

And on the hush-hush, we've learned that a new AFH International website is in the works. And with it, a new graphic identity for AFH International. The new site will allow humanitarian designers and community groups to interact in new ways as the community expands, as well as offer a better showcase for all of the great projects going on across the world.

Some of the hottest design world news at the moment is the release of's new book, aptly titled WorldChanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century. It has a forward by Al Gore, and introduction by Bruce Sterling, and collection of ideas and writings from some of the smartest designers around the world, including AFH's own Cameron Sinclair.

The perfect companion piece to the WorldChanging book is of course the AFH book, Design Like you Give a Damn. And it has just entered it's second printing! Why I haven't mentioned the book here before is inexcusable, so if you haven't heard about it yet, do check it out, it's a beautiful book. With gift-giving season right around the corner, these are two great books to keep in mind for the socially conscious designer in your life.

The Royal Institute of British Architects - USA announced a new international competition called 'Building A Sustainable World: Life in the Balance.' The competition brief calls for

"...a concept for a maximum capacity sustainable community or
an urban subdivision to address shifts in global climate, that have been so vividly demonstrated by increasing numbers of flooding and drought catastrophes."

The First Prize is $10,000. Download the full Competition text here.

Just one event to note at the moment. In support of the WorldChanging Book Tour, AFHMN will have some sort of presence at the Minneapolis tour stop. The event takes place on November 8th at the Kingman Studios in Northeast Minneapolis. It looks like it will be a great time.

"There'll be DJs. There'll be snacks and drinks. There'll be chances to meet and mingle with other folks doing worldchanging work in the Twin Cities. There will even be some surprise guests. In fact, we expect that this may be one of most enjoyable events of our entire tour. We hope you can make it!"

Check out the WorldChanging Tour: Minneapolis website here. For information on all WorldChanging Tour stops, check here.


Now that you're in the know, we'll return to our irregularly unscheduled content shortly.

Thursday, October 12

The Global Rich List

So just how rich are you?

If you're like me, you might not be used to thinking of yourself in those terms. And admittedly, it's not always that easy to do when some months you feel like you barely have enough to pay your bills, much less buy groceries, and much
much less go out for a drink or two on the weekends.

Well, since we all need a wake-up call now and again, Poke, a London based interactive media firm, created the Global Rich List. They write...

"We are obsessed with wealth. But we gauge how rich we are by looking upwards at those who have more than us. This makes us feel poor.

We wanted to do something which would help people understand, in real terms, where they stand globally. And make us realize that in fact most of us (who are able to view this web page) are in the privileged minority.

We want people to feel rich. And give some of their extra money to a worthwhile charity."

Go ahead, give it a shot... just how rich are you?

Friday, October 6

Friday Photography | USA by Air

This online photo journal documents a flight from California to Oshkosh, WI and back for the 2006 Oshkosh Airshow back in July. There are some truly fascinating photos here that really show the geography of the US in an unparalleled way.

See some interesting examples below, and just for kicks - I've keyed each geographic location or point of interest to it's corresponding Wikipedia page. Click the pictures to see a larger version.

The Great Salt Lake Desert (crossed in 30 minutes).

The Great Salt Lake... ever wonder what gives it that odd color? Just ask Wikipedia!

"...Dunaliella salina, a species of algae which releases beta-carotene, and halophilic bacteria which together give the water an unusual reddish or purplish color."


A massive coal fired power plant.

The mighty Mississippi River. This picture can't be taken too far from AFHMN's very own Twin Cities.

On the way back: Devils Tower.

And of course, what cross-country aerial adventure would be complete without a fly-over of Mount Rushmore? What an amazing photograph!

See the whole trip here, and have a great weekend!