Interesting research, based on studying 26,000 Europeans, indicating that “the effect of bird species richness on life-satisfaction may be of similar magnitude to that of income.” The researchers note:

“An increase in bird species richness by 10% is related to a raise in life-satisfaction approximately 1.53 times more than a similar proportional rise in income”.

Obviously the usual causation and correlation issues apply, particularly with something as slippery (flighty?) as researching the presence, range, and impact of bird species across spatial dimensions. But even if species richness is a proxy, “it may prove that managing for bird diversity is a win-win strategy, with both humans and birds benefitting from management actions that promote a high diversity of natural landscape features.”


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The ‘one-minute city’ idea I’ve been developing, as part of the backdrop to our Streets mission here in Sweden, is featured in Bloomberg CityLab. Zooming into the currently en vogue (though ancient, timeless) 15-minute city idea, the one-minute city focuses on the immediate streetscape, exploring models for co-designing, caring and maintaining the street together, and thus shifting systems and cultures around mobility, biodiversity, culture, conviviality, and so on. It draws inspiration from numerous sources, as Feargus O’Sullivan notes, which I unpack a little across various Slowdown Papers — such as Ron Finley’s gardens with LA parking lots, Linda Tegg’s Infield meadow at ArkDes, Michael Sorkin’s ‘Sidewalks of New York’ model, Nordic cooperatives and public luxury, Arup’s ‘Daylighting Melbourne’ adaptive strategy approach, and ultimately Small pieces, loosely joined, post-traumatic urbanism patterns. More to follow: I’ve been documenting all this for sharing soon.

Make way for the one-minute city (Bloomberg CityLab)


“The G.E. machines will have a generating capacity that would have been almost unimaginable a decade ago. A single one will be able to turn out 13 megawatts of power, enough to light up a town of roughly 12,000 homes.” This is interesting for a number of reasons, not least the sheer scale meaning it covers district-level energy needs—if it’s combined with energy efficiency measures. The simplest way to a zero-carbon future involves shifting our wasteful habits; yet it’s seen as the hardest thing, from a policy or commercial perspective. That is a little cowardly. After Fukushima, the relevant Japanese prefectures managed to reduce demand significantly through simple energy saving measures (“setsudan”), unlocking a far more diverse energy future. Why no mention of shifting energy behaviours, alongside these supply-side switches? …


If Apple is seriously considering producing a car, it is further evidence that Silicon Valley is interested only in capitalising on the last century’s ideas, rather than genuinely addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow. Apple has made a success of waiting until a linked bundle of technologies mature before producing their most polished incarnation—but surely this particular product is done. It’s not that the car isn’t useful for many; clearly, after several generations of exclusionary policy, hard-coded into infrastructure, it’s not going anywhere fast. It’s just done, in terms of innovation, and declining, in terms of relevance. As I’ve said before, the car is like the horse—something for the weekend, but not a meaningful mobility technology anymore. (Here’s what to do instead.) …


“This studio gave us the opportunity to bring to cross-laminated timber (CLT) what steel and concrete already benefit from: boundlessness.” A good write-up of a spring 2020 Harvard GSD studio…


This approach to small care homes could be yet more evidence to support the ‘small pieces loosely joined’ design patterns. I featured these patterns in Slowdown Papers, amongst others, discussing…


This is wonderful: The Social Life of Plants, in the New York Times, profiling Suzanne Simard. Following (and preceding) Wohlleben, The Overstory etc, and many echoes of the themes of…


My Spotify Top Songs 2020 for your listening pleasure. I’d love to know more about the specific algorithms here – there are some surprising choices and sequencing. But it’s often…

About

Dan Hill

Designer, urbanist, etc. Director of Strategic Design at Vinnova, Swedish govt’s innovation agency. Visiting prof UCL Bartlett IIPP + Design Academy Eindhoven

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