Researchers and designers at Columbia University's Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL) have gathered hard-to-access data on inmates and their last residential address to combine an innovative graphic tool. Million dollar blocks illustrates blocks in 5 major cities where the combined cost of incarcerating residents of specific blocks costs more than $1 million per year. At a time when more than 2 million Americans are incarcerated, this is a compelling illustration of a critical issue! To see the work, click here.
This New Yorker piece, by renowned scientist E.O. Wilson, is absolutely captivating. Especially when we consider that it basically tells the story of a colony of ants, faced with demise after its Queen has died and another colony has come to attack it. But the writing is so eloquent and paints this picture with such clarity and purpose, it comes across as the tale of a town confronting its own dark future. Well done. See it at http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2010/01/25/100125fi_fiction_wilson.
A week ago Carmen and I were invited by our friend, architect Federico Vidargas, to attend a conference in SMA. Federico, who is from San Miguel but has lived and raised family here in Chicago for many years, was concerned about how the city is growing, some poor developments have been allowed in recent years, growing traffic, and water quality, affordability and availability. The conference he put together, called SMASH, was an intriguing model for a convening meant to target specific issues and produce concrete suggestions and action steps. Federico secured funding, convened a great group of people (majority from SMA, a number from the U.S. and other countries) and set up an itinerary meant to shed light on critical issues and to address them. Along the way, we got to meet (in addition to numerous other outstanding people) his brother, sister and mother - all very committed to the city. We'll write more here when the conference web site is loaded with photos and video.
Interesting piece in Nature Reports on the sociology of climate change - what urges people to take action at the community level, the household level, etc. Has ramifications for policy makers at various levels, as well as for advocates and targeting media campaigns. See the story at http://www.nature.com/climate/2009/0908/full/climate.2009.73.html.
Chicago's Free Spirit Media has just posted its latest video piece, done in collaboration with UMOJA, online. It's at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM7t132j0Hg. This 10-minute piece explores the issue of lack of affordable, healthy food and includes a community survey, interviews with experts, conversations with people on the street. Well done all around.