Citizen Building Block #19: Walk 30 Minutes Every Day
Alissa Walker wrote in Building Blocks Of Citizenship and Transportation

Walking is an easy way to improve personal health and build stronger cities. Just 30 minutes a day spent walking can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease by lowering body fat, bad cholesterol, and blood pressure. And regular walking can increase energy, helping to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Plus, walking connects us to our neighborhoods, creates equitable communities, and promotes economic development. For those who are physically able: Incorporate more walking into your commute or explore a corner of your city as a pedestrian. Go ahead, get out there on foot for at least a half hour a day—you’ll be glad you did.

How to Improve City Life [Video]

How to Improve City Life [#Video] #cities

At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, a group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders were asked to predict the future of livable, walkable cities.

“If I could have one wish for people who live in cities, it’s that we find ways to connect back to nature, to remind [people] that nature isn’t out there—outside the cities—but right in their homes where they live.”M. SanjayanConservation…

View On WordPress

Made with WordPress
GOOD Ideas for Portland: A Wrap-Up

We will ask a lot of questions. We may come up with some answers, but more than likely we will uncover more questions. We will read, we will research, we will write, and we will talk. We will collaborate with each other, take walks, go on field trips and learn to see the world around us through a new lens. We will engage in inquiry and exploration.

Design exists in THE WORLD, and so it would be a disservice to all of us to stay inside a classroom the whole term. We will be using the world around us as a living learning laboratory. 

The purpose of this class is to think critically about the practice of design. You are studying to be a graphic designer, and in order to make successful and relevant work, you must THINK as well as MAKE. This class is intended to make your brain explode. 

In a good way.

—Excerpted from Design Thinking syllabus, Winter Term 2012

On March 16, five teams of students gathered at a community workspace in Portland’s Southeast Industrial district to present their ideas for a better Portland. The evening of public presentations was the culmination of their final project for Design Thinking, a course I taught last term within Portland State University’s graphic design department. We named the event GOOD Ideas for Portland, a twist on GOOD Ideas for Cities, the amazing initiative we partnered with to make this project happen. As the audience started filing in, we quickly realized we didn’t have enough chairs; the snacks went fast and the wine went faster, and by the time Alissa Walker welcomed the crowd, there was standing room only.

Keep reading

Two Amazing Years of LosAngeles/CreativeMornings

Two years ago this month we started a Los Angeles chapter of CreativeMornings. It’s been two years of meeting great people, two years of being inspired and being surprised. I wanted to showcase the diversity of creativity going on in this great city and I feel we’ve done that, and are continuing to do that. I am so thankful that Tina allowed me to do this. It’s an honor to, not only be running the chapter, but to be involved with something Tina has created. 

We were the third chapter starting a month after Zurich who was the first non-NYC chapter. Tina flew out to kick it all off and our speaker was Zach Frechette from GOOD Magazine. Two years later and more than 25 events later we’re still kicking.  I still remember talking to Tina in my studio in DUMBO back in 2010. When I asked her if I could start a chapter in LA she was all for it and said, “when we announce the LA chapter every city out there is going to want one.” She was right. Two years later and there are 38 chapters. Wow…

There have been so many people and places that have helped make CreativeMornings in LA a success. I wanted to thank some of them now.

First and foremost I want to thank (mt) Media Temple. Full disclosure - I am the Creative Director at (mt).  Media Temple kept CM going here in LA and specifically Lilly Ngo Crick. After (mt) sponsored one event Lilly reached out and said they’d like to do it again sometime. When I was having a ton of trouble finding sponsors I called up Lilly and she said they’d love to sponsor it every month. I am indebted to them for doing this.

I also wanted to thank Willard Ford and his crew at 722 Figueroa. When I first tried to get the event going here I couldn’t find a venue who wanted to open up that early and for free! Willard was more than happy to and it’s still my favorite place to do events. His employees embrace CM and it’s almost turn-key at this point. 

I also want to thank all the sponsors and hosts: Something Massive, Boxed Water, HUGE, The Dieline, Proxart, Cool Haus, Roxanne Daner, IndiePrinting, The Fox Is Black, LA I’m Yours, LOMO, Downtown LA Artwalk, Mosaic, Handsome Coffee, LaunchpadLA, Fundamental LA, AIGALA, Affordable Art Fair and Atwater Crossing Kitchen.

Of course, there wouldn’t be an event without our amazing speakers: Zach Frechette (at the time GOOD), Bobby Solomon (The Fox Is Black), Alissa Walker (GelatoBaby), Andrew Gibbs (The Dieline), Katie Kirk & Nate Strandberg (Eight Hour Day), Scott Flora (Blik), Michelle Mcilroy (LOMO), Ryan Honey (Buck), Josh Nimoy, David Trubridge, Ted Vadakan & Angie Myung (Poketo), Brad Swonetz, Sharon Lee (Culture Brain), David Lai (Hello), Roger Gastman, Justin Gage (Aquarium Drunkard), Edward Boatman (The Noun Project), Paul Scrivens (Drawar), Shannon Flaherty (Hustle Up), Steven Harrington & Justin Krietemeye (National Forest), Sonja Rasula (UniqueLA), Dan Kuhlken & Nathan Goldman (DKNG), Nguyen Tran (Starry Kitchen), Victoria Davis (SpaceDog Books), Josh Rose (Weber Shandwick), Clare Crespo (Yummy Clare), Nabil Elderkin, John Ross Bowie!

LA/CM is not a one man show. I could never do it alone so thank you to all the various volunteers , especially Maggie Tielker, Levi Obery and Sarah Mick.

Finally, it’s not an event or a community without an audience. So! Thank you to anyone who has ever dragged their ass out of bed early, traveled down the street or across town to attend one of our events. Big thank to our regulars - you know who you are.

Here’s to future!

Elon Musk Is Working on Some Kind of Self-Driving Bus
Sure, an affordable electric car can go a long way towards helping the US achieve energy independence and wresting its citizens away from fossil fuels. But if Elon Musk really wanted to solve our transportation problems, he’d be designing an electric bus. If his comments at a conference today are true, Musk is doing exactly that.
By Alissa Walker

Ryan and I recently took a trip to LA for some fun, sun, and work. While there, we met up with Alissa Walker for an in-person interview and, at her suggestion, we met at Urban Light, the large-scale assemblage sculpture by Chris Burden, which stands in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on Wilshire Boulevard. After snapping a few photos, we walked over to LACMA’s Stark Bar for a drink, where we talked with Alissa about her path into writing, the solo trip to Europe that led to her “aha” moment, why she ditched her car and became a walker in LA, and her thoughts on long-form writing on the web. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with this enthusiastic Angeleno about her life, her city, and the community she is a part of. As you read this interview, may Alissa’s excitement for her community challenge you to join in on the story of your city as it unfolds in front of you—because no matter where you are, an adventure awaits! —Tina

Read the interview →

Photo by Ryan Essmaker

photo and link via Gizmodo: “Here are the Water Restrictions California SHOULD have Passed Today”

The more I think about it, the more two particular things piss me off about our current drought situation here in California:

1 - That it isn’t being taken seriously, either by those on top or the regular folks who waste water.

And 2 - that viable scientific solutions aren’t being explored. Whilst we should avoid environmentally harmful options like cloud-seeding, now might be a good time to look into desalination and/or giving the OmniProcessor a try. Hell, I’d be happy if some of that “record-breaking East Coast snow” were trucked across the country and dumped in our reservoirs.

Seriously, there have to be other options than reacting to the drought with “Ignore it and hope for the best” or “We’re screwed, just deal with it”.

Guy Horton behind the scenes at the 2015 AIA Los Angeles Design Awards

Guy Horton behind the scenes at the 2015 AIA Los Angeles Design Awards

External image

Gold Medal recipient Steven Ehrlich speaks to the crowd about the power of collaboration, which he first learned in Africa.
(David Lena Photography)

Going to the AIA/LA Design Awardsis a totally different experience when you’ve been on the jury, as I was this year. For one, you get to see the entire spectrum of the awards program, the behind-the-scenes production and the staging of what seemed…

View On WordPress

Made with WordPress

Here’s the press release for the March 14 event! Share it all over! Invite your friends, invite your classmates.

For immediate release:

Portland State University’s graphic design program is proud to present GOOD Ideas for Portland, an evening of ideas to improve our city presented as part of the GOOD Ideas for Cities initiative. The evening will also feature a lecture from Alissa Walker, design writer and host of GOOD Ideas for Cities.

WHEN Wednesday, March 14. Doors at 6:30pm, event at 7pm.
WHERE ADX, 417 SE 11th Ave. Portland, OR 97214

Students in the Design Thinking course at PSU have worked to identify, research and tackle pressing urban challenges specific to Portland. Alissa Walker will join the evening as moderator and will also lecture on her work. A panel of urban leaders, local journalists, designers and creative professionals will offer live feedback on the students’ ideas.

This event is presented as a component of the GOOD Ideas for Cities initiative, a partnership between GOOD and CEOs for Cities, generously supported by ArtPlace. Additional partners include PSU.GD, the Friends of Graphic Design student group, and ADX.

The event is open to the public and free to attend. Refreshments will be provided, and other city-based student work from the design department will be on display.

For more information, see

Questions? Contact Nicole Lavelle at

Alissa Walker has a great piece over at Gizmodo on the people you commonly see in architectural renderings:

At one point in architectural history, renderings were as beautiful as the buildings they would become. Architects hired illustrators to take their blueprints and romanticize them. Frank Lloyd Wright’s drawings, for example, were legendary for their lush, Japanese aesthetic (which were almost all created by one woman, Marion Mahony Griffin).

Slowly, these watercolors and pencil drawings began to include people, but even then, it was often in these unnaturally posed, highly stylized ways. People were added as abstract forms with the same look and feel as the building itself. Modernist project drawings, for example, might include geometric silhouettes.

See also: James Bridle’s Render Ghosts project.

The General Theory of Walkability explains how, to be favored, a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. Each of these qualities is essential an none alone is sufficient. Usefulmeans that most aspects of daily life are located close at hand and organized in a way that walking serves them well. Safe means that the street has been designed to give pedestrians a fighting chance against being hit by automobiles; they must not only be safe but feel safe, which is even tougher to satisfy. Comfortable means that buildings and landscape shape urban streets into ‘outdoor living rooms,’ in contrast to wide-open spaces, which usually fail to attract pedestrians. Interesting means that sidewalks are lined by unique buildings with friendly faces and that signs of humanity abound.

Jeff Speck, “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

Why Don't Architects Have Better Websites

Notes from Discussion with Alissa Walker, aka GelatoBaby

Why Does It Matter?

 1. Client need to see your work

2. Employees need to see your culture

3. Journalists needs see your personality


DS + R  - cool looking, but no way of taking images and sending to someone else*
Key is to share instantly…
OMA - optimized to be too large
Morphosis - 2 sites
SANAA - no site - just email
Foster - good site with nice photos
Rogers - good pictures, own URL, clear mission statement***
Zaha - improved site

What Every Architect Needs

Mission statement

Up to the minute newseach project on a page (large)

Downloadable images

Contact information everywhere (no info@… a real email to a real person)

Twitter and Facebook

Should give spirit of the project! - needs to come from the heart
Inspiration - Good Sites

IDEO***frogdesign.comfuseproject - homepage as blog - subscribe to rss feed… *

What Every Architect Needs to Do 

Be memorable

Show me photos

Make project videos*

Tell good stories, often

Use your social networks

Join other communities (architizer)

Coordinate events

Make it personal

Smaller firms That do Good Job

Brendan Ravenhill - industrial design - CARGO*

Fastcodesign - i co. design - Oyler Woo Designrampcreative - articles sharing what learned in process

MLAGreen - facebook

Yves Behar - Twitter

Architizer - events - speaking about work, tours - Stuart - MdR

Studio Gang Architecture - Interesting UI, excitement, also works on

iPhone Chronologically telling story (MacArthur Fellowship Recipient)

GOOD Ideas for Portland: Bags of Fun

For their final project in Nicole Lavelle’s Design Thinking class at Portland State University, student teams identified, researched and designed solutions to urban challenges unique to Portland. In conjunction with GOOD Ideas for Cities, the students presented their solutions at a public event called GOOD Ideas for Portland. This series of posts documents those presentations. Find more information about the project and event here!

Team: Bags of Fun
Members: Andy Moser, Doug Sherwood, Devin Courtright

Challenge: Many communities have worked hard to outlaw single-use plastic bags, yet people are still using them. Just one person reusing a bag for their lifetime could keep 22,000 plastic bags out of the landfill. Changing habits is hard. How do we help people shift their behavior and reuse bags?

Solution: Bags of Fun approached their challenge with humor, engaging audiences of all ages. In order to instill good habits in youth, the Bags of Fun team created a campaign based on Bagman, a super hero with a bag for a head. Bagman encourages kids to bring bags with them when they leave the house, and to nag their parents to do the same. The team developed games for kids to pick up trash, framed under the guise of destroying the evil Dr. Plasto and his plastic bag minions. Partnerships with local elementary schools to offer parents and kids incentives rounded out the proposal.

Presentation: See the complete presentation after the jump!

Keep reading