One of Jane Jacobs’ most valuable contributions to the understanding of cities was her faith in the wisdom of the urban dweller. She argued that the physical city—and any approach to city planning—could not be separated from the wisdom of each individual inhabitant, “People who know well such animated city streets will know how it is. I am afraid people who do not will always have it a little wrong in their heads, like the old prints of rhinoceroses made from travelers’ descriptions of rhinoceroses.” The complication arising from Jacobs’ argument is simple though difficult to solve; how can we plan a city when planning is one part abstraction and abstraction removes us from Jacobs’ precious “real life” mentality?
A step towards solving this contradiction is sfbetterstreets.org, a website launched last week by the City of San Francisco. Developed by the San Francisco Planning Department in conjunction with other city agencies, the website is part of the city’s larger, “Better Streets” initiative. The legislative concept, described in San Francisco’s Better Streets Plan, is to create streets “designed and built to strike a balance between all users regardless of physical abilities or mode of travel… maximizing features for the comfort, usability, and aesthetics of people walking.”
“The Energy Tour” is a music video and performance tour premiering at the AIA 2012 convention, happening now in Washington D.C. Produced by YKK AP America, the video introduces the new YUW 750 XT unitized wall system, part of the company’s enerGfacade product line.
Part advertisement, part SNL Digital Short, part amateur YouTube upload, the video features two Ohio State students in suits rapping about new YKK AP products, “Listen up the saving starts now,/ Come and roll with us and we’ll show you how./ To minimize costs and reduce heat gain,/ What they say is we’ll make it rain.”
YKK AP America has used YouTube before, including a “Building a Better Tomorrow, Today” video competition and another enerGfacade product release video, both in 2010. With a simple beat and scenes of dancing architects excited about energy efficiency, this new video is a novel, youth-oriented addition to advertising for the design community.