Gender in hospital architecture

Annmarie Adam's book Medicine by design (2007) examines how hospital architecture shaped and responded to changing ideas about medicine and its place in the urban realm.  It uses the development of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal (1893–1943) as its central case study.

Progress in treatment with antibiotics

In our class on Design & Society, we discuss the so-called dilemma of progress.  With any design whose introduction poses potential risk, there is a decision to make on how to regulate it.  In simplest terms, there are two possibilities:

What is a hockey arena?

An enduring theme in design is the relation between form and function.  For example, is there an ideal form that corresponds to a given function?  How do form and function relate and develop over time?

Is parking unjust?

John Metcalfe of CityLab points out an interesting video shot on a street in New York City recently.  The video is a time-lapse recording of activity at a City Bike dock featuring rentable bicycles and curbside parking across the street.  Voilà!

The point, says videogrpaher Luke Ohlson, is that the bike dock is much busier than the car parking. 

Stickers for the bottom of your feet?

Rich Haridy points to a new item on Kickstarter called "Nakefit".  Rather than wear flop-flips on the beach or at the pool, wouldn't you prefer foot-shaped stickers for the bottom of your feet?  The makers of Nakefit think so.

As Rich points out, this idea seems to be in tension between "why?" and "of course!".

Guerilla apps from IranCubator

An NGO called United for Iran has undertaken a project called IranCubator.  The purpose of IranCubator is the development of apps that provide Iranians with relevant information that they may otherwise find hard to get given government censorship.

IranCubator takes the form of an ongoing contest in which app developers consider suggestions for app designs and implement the ones that they like best.  The effort has resulted in several recent app releases.

Political campaigning and culture

A piece by Mark Scott in the New York Times states that efforts by the American alt-right to support Marine Le Pen's campaign for President of France have fallen flat.  Tactics that worked in the American campaign for Donald Trump do not "translate."

One tactic has been to spread memes, that is, posters featuring a picture, often of Emmanuel Macron, Ms. Le Pen's rival, and a clever caption.  Such efforts have encountered two problems.

Emoji architecture :) or :(

In a Wired article, Sam Lubell describes a building that incorporates emojis into its exterior.  Dutch architect Changiz Tehrani decided to enliven the facade of an apartment building in Vathorst by having emojis molded in relief in intersections of its surface elements.

New book: Design and society

My new book is now out!  The full title is, "Design and Society: Social issues in technological design."  The book was written for the STV 202 course but is also suitable for a general audience since it is non-technical and assumes no previous familiarity with the topic.  It is also brief, at under 250 pages, and contains numerous, practical examples of concepts discussed.

Ethics in technological design

The theme of CSTV's Design & Society course is "good design".  When I ask students what this expression means, they tend to think, first of all, about technical matters, e.g., efficiency, cost, usability, and so on.  However, as the course progresses, we come to ethical issues, e.g., is the design "good" for people, and in what sense?

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