Thursday, January 26, 2006

Design Challenge in Philly

BLDGBLOG reports today about contributor Nicola Twilley’s project at the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, the Ben Franklin Coffeehouse Challenge. If you live or study in the greater Philly area, you can recommend a cool little civic improvement project, and winners get a little grant from the Starbucks corporation to help make it happen. Ms. Twilley appears to be serving on the jury, and BLDGBLOG describes the project in part as designed to “get more people thinking about urban design, sustainability, quality of life, public transport, pedestrianization...” and so on. Sounds like a great idea.

It is a shame the deliberations for the grant(s) aren’t televised. DYWSC? was speaking with a friend recently whom felt pity for the contestants for the Bravo show “Project Runway.” – a show where up-and-coming fashion designers charette for a jury of models and magazine editors. It was too raw a reminder of the humiliation prone to school juries.

There are pedagogical reasons that juries are held in a public forum though… Too bad “Project Runway” only exposes a debate about nice clothing and beauty. Televising Ms. Twilley’s debates as “Project Sidewalk,” has the ability to deliver discussions about livable cities, responsible urbanism, the expanded role of 21st Century public space, you name it. Is it too much of a pipe dream to hope that edutainment could bring such concern to the masses?


Blogger J said...

Here's hoping the Starbucks higher-ups are taking a look at the project with the interest to make it a national campaign. Of course, everyone should write Starbucks a letter as soon as possible to encourage this. (The reality-TV show might be a pipe-dream. Baby steps.)

Its wierd how we're petitioning our national corperations for civic improvement money -- instead of out government. There are a lot of private organizations dedicated primarily to directly improving civic space. Almost every business improvement district (BID) in America are a good examples of private business owners banding together to compete with the malls that present clean, safe, well lit shopping environments out there. But still... hmmm. Isn't this wierd?

10:14 PM  

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