People in Beta

April 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

How are coworking spaces an extension of the environment often found in universities? How does competition fare vs. collaboration in a coworking space? Why is coworking a better alternative for freelancers who usually work at home? “People In Beta” begins a conversation on these topics and invites your participation (twitter: #peopleinbeta #futureofwork). KS12

Finally, some documentation about what is happening in the co-working scene in Berlin. It would be also great to know what is happening in another co-workers spaces around the globe. One thing is for sure, collaborating we build together our society and its future, one that has a little bit from each one of us.

KS12 is developing a conversation between intervies so that the documentaries have another sense of continuity, and making the process more collaborative. They call it Mad Hatter’s Tea Party technique

This created a high level of continuity in the interviews as people responded to and iterated on each other’s answers… In many ways the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is like a performative brainstorm.

Check more of their work at KS12

Human Planet

March 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

The city is where civilization happens; but what is civilization now days?
People travelled to other countries bringing -civilization- and colonizing them to impose their culture, is that still happening?
Many say that cities and urban spaces are the ideal place for human beings. The place where communication happens, the place where society lives, where innovation is fostered. But others say that cities as the only solution to the problem of the cities (West, G. 2010) When we take in consideration the development that we are achieving, we should look at the big picture in order to best understand the Human being, and its environment. Because it seems that as population growth, every thing that is related to human society, growth by the same percentage.

There is, of course, a very good reason that animals slow down with size: All that mass requires energy. But the superlinear growth of cities comes with no such inherent constraints. Instead, the urban equations predict a world of ever-increasing resource consumption, as the expansion of cities fuels the expansion of economies. West illustrates the problem by translating human life into watts. “A human being at rest runs on 90 watts,” he says. “That’s how much power you need just to lie down. And if you’re a hunter-gatherer and you live in the Amazon, you’ll need about 250 watts. That’s how much energy it takes to run about and find food. So how much energy does our lifestyle [in America] require? Well, when you add up all our calories and then you add up the energy needed to run the computer and the air-conditioner, you get an incredibly large number, somewhere around 11,000 watts. Now you can ask yourself: What kind of animal requires 11,000 watts to live? And what you find is that we have created a lifestyle where we need more watts than a blue whale. We require more energy than the biggest animal that has ever existed. That is why our lifestyle is unsustainable. We can’t have seven billion blue whales on this planet. It’s not even clear that we can afford to have 300 million blue whales.”

What we do in our homes and streets have an effect for the entire planet. Of course we have already realize that there is some things that we need to change if we want to continue to enjoy this planet. There are master plans for cities with 0 emissions and 0 waste, the state of the art in technology!  But we have seen master plans before. So well design, taking every little design in consideration, … Less the fact that is humans who make the cities. As Jane Jacobs insisted, the city isn’ t a mass of buildings but rather a vessel of empty spaces, in which people interacted with other people.

In essence, they arrive at the sensible conclusion that cities are valuable because they facilitate human interactions, as people crammed into a few square miles exchange ideas and start collaborations. “If you ask people why they move to the city, they always give the same reasons,” West says. “They’ve come to get a job or follow their friends or to be at the center of a scene. That’s why we pay the high rent. Cities are all about the people, not the infrastructure.”

We need to understand better what human beings are about, the deep structures in the cities. Even more important, the citizens have to realize what impact have our actions, and that it is up to us where we take it from here.

There are some new challenges and changes coming ahead, and some are strugling because it is difficult to forecast what is what is happening. But as Ben Hammersley says, ” the pain isn’t coming from the change, the pain is coming from the struggling agains the change”.
Maybe the solution is not to have the master minds designing the perfect cities, but to encourage the citizens to design them by them self, to encourage governments to be totally open, so that we all see, and understand what is happening. Maybe designers, architects and policy makers should stop taking the initiative in creating the solutions, but rather couch and help citizens, so that they can make knowledgeable choices.

Review: SESSION 10 / Designing Public Space

March 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

At our last session (SESSION 10 / Designing Public Space / Feb 27) we set our self to engage citizens in the designing and shaping of the public space.

Here is a video with a taste for the session and the four concepts that came out of it.

Max Kohm Rahel Kraska

Katharina Galla Vitorio Benedetti Robin Resch

Neil Clavin Valentina Catena Francesca Lavigna

Lea Kolling Bas Kools Anna Kostreva

Pedro Pineda Regis Lemberthe Sam Muirhead

And here are some of the participants which develop them. Thanks a lot guys!!

Knowledge Economy and Cognitive Cities

February 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

metropolis-1 gran

(c) Jordi Sábat

In the magazine Barcelona Metropolis, P. Monràs writes about the knowledge economy and cognitive cities. Monràs writes:

La economía del conocimiento no es otra economía, sino la que añade máximo valor a todo lo que hay, mediante el aprovechamiento de la materia prima más extendida, la del propio cerebro con todas sus propiedades. (Barcelona, ¿ciudad del conocimiento?)
-The knowledge economy is not other than that one which adds the maximum value to everything that is there, through the use of the most widely available raw material, the brain it self with all its properties- (translation)

Written by Pere Monràs. Vice president of the Fundació Cercle per al Coneixement. President of Hèlix, SL

A cognitive city will foster individual talents, nurture a ground for creativity and facilitate connectivity and sharing. But as Monràs describes, we need to stop thinking from the ‘Object’ position to start thinking from the ‘Subject’ position. On TED’s talk “Squatter Cities” Stewart Brand shows how there (in the squatter cities) its citizens have an active role in shaping their environment. They are the ‘subject’. As there is nobody to solve their problems, they can afford to simply be an object.  There it citizens have to take the action. They are still regarded as humans with resources, and not simply human resources.

One of the biggest challenges we are facing is the change in paradigm. We still trying to solve problems of the 21st century with 20 century models. Many are still thinking in how to adapt business, education and politics to the current demand, without realizing that the demand has change completely. What was a solution before, it is not longer applicable.  Pere Monràs describes it like this -The best company building carriages broke down because they were the best building carriages and not transporting people- (translation from article).  This happened at the beginning of the industrial revolution, but still today the best companies making cars might also broke down, the same that the best music producers are struggling. Their focus is not ‘Be the best transporting people’ or ‘Be the best creating and facilitating music’. It is not about to change a part, it is about to change the whole, it is about a change of mind. A new state of mind which realizes the challenges we face, the opportunities that have emerge and the  tools we have.

Decimos que tenemos un reto delante, poco hablado y menos comprendido, a enorme distancia todavía de los comportamientos necesarios. Requiere un reconocimiento del nuevo paradigma en el sentir, en el pensar y en el hacer. (Barcelona, ¿ciudad del conocimiento?)
-We say that we face a challenge. Over which little has been spoken, and even less understood, still far away from the necessary mind sets. It requires acknowledgement of the new paradigm in the way we feel, think and do- (Translation).

To Feel through our I; to Think without dividing sciences between different knowledges; to Do collaborating with others so that we all win. Acting together without waiting for a ‘savior’ but aspiring towards a transformation of each individual being, and of the community as a whole.

SESSION 10 / Designing Public Space / Feb 27

January 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

Rooftop graffiti by K!WA , Berlin. Photo by Loso

Although commonly used, public space is little considered as commonly owned. Everyone unconsciously shapes it. What we buy, what we do, where we go… but most still wait for local governments to take care of the general planning and design.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” Jane Jacobs

If we want to own the space, we ought to actively shape it. We see cities, or at least would like to live in cities resembling living organisms. Cities where things constantly develop and morph according to the needs of its inhabitants. And only through collective action can we achieve these goals.

At the Cognitive Cities Conference, we will run a workshop that seeks to explore the ways in which citizens interact with the city by drawing possible futures and co-designing public furniture.

Only 20 places are available, book yours in advance: info(at)enableberlin(dot)org

Hardware Open Source

January 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Open Source Ecology are running Factor e Farm in Kansas City. They have set out to develop a basic set of tools to create the entire infrastructure for living and thriving from local resources, Open Source!

This project is demonstrating the full potential of Open Source being applied to solve human challenges in the physical space. If you like might be called Open Source Hardware.

The essence of the Open Source is an open collaborative development of various critical infrastructures which instead of being patented are being published for the public. Ultimately this movement is creating distributed economic systems where all individuals benefit from the new inventions, and where all individuals can add to it. The profit is therefore the benefit for all and we set to create the best solution which we can always adapt to our local needs and possibilities.

- How do we apply Open Source to solve all our needs?
- Can we create a pool of resources which could be improve by everyone of us for all of us?

Are you addicted to Brain cracks? Let your ideas flow into the world!

January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment


Zefrank: on Brain crack

A friend shared today with us this video, and we find it very inspiring. We definitely do not want to be addicted to brain crack and want to continue prototyping our ideas.
Next session will be in Transmediale Berlin. Hope to see you there

  • We are always looking for new challenges;

    If you have a challenge where collective thinking & participatory design could help, let us know! We are happy to design new sessions with you.

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