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Opinion | To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library - The New York Times
"Is the public library obsolete?

A lot of powerful forces in society seem to think so. In recent years, declines in the circulation of bound books in some parts of the country have led prominent critics to argue that libraries are no longer serving their historical function. Countless elected officials insist that in the 21st century — when so many books are digitized, so much public culture exists online and so often people interact virtually — libraries no longer need the support they once commanded.

Libraries are already starved for resources. In some cities, even affluent ones like Atlanta, entire branches are being shut down. In San Jose, Calif., just down the road from Facebook, Google and Apple, the public library budget is so tight that users with overdue fees above $20 aren’t allowed to borrow books or use computers.

But the problem that libraries face today isn’t irrelevance. Indeed, in New York and many other cities, library circulation, program attendance and average hours spent visiting are up. The real problem that libraries face is that so many people are using them, and for such a wide variety of purposes, that library systems and their employees are overwhelmed. According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, about half of all Americans ages 16 and over used a public library in the past year, and two-thirds say that closing their local branch would have a “major impact on their community.”

Libraries are being disparaged and neglected at precisely the moment when they are most valued and necessary. Why the disconnect? In part it’s because the founding principle of the public library — that all people deserve free, open access to our shared culture and heritage — is out of sync with the market logic that dominates our world. But it’s also because so few influential people understand the expansive role that libraries play in modern communities.

Libraries are an example of what I call “social infrastructure”: the physical spaces and organizations that shape the way people interact. Libraries don’t just provide free access to books and other cultural materials, they also offer things like companionship for older adults, de facto child care for busy parents, language instruction for immigrants and welcoming public spaces for the poor, the homeless and young people.

I recently spent a year doing ethnographic research in libraries in New York City. Again and again, I was reminded how essential libraries are, not only for a neighborhood’s vitality but also for helping to address all manner of personal problems.

For older people, especially widows, widowers and those who live alone, libraries are places for culture and company, through book clubs, movie nights, sewing circles and classes in art, current events and computing. For many, the library is the main place they interact with people from other generations.

For children and teenagers, libraries help instill an ethic of responsibility, to themselves and to their neighbors, by teaching them what it means to borrow and take care of something public, and to return it so others can have it too. For new parents, grandparents and caretakers who feel overwhelmed when watching an infant or a toddler by themselves, libraries are a godsend.

In many neighborhoods, particularly those where young people aren’t hyper-scheduled in formal after-school programs, libraries are highly popular among adolescents and teenagers who want to spend time with other people their age. One reason is that they’re open, accessible and free. Another is that the library staff members welcome them; in many branches, they even assign areas for teenagers to be with one another.

To appreciate why this matters, compare the social space of the library with the social space of commercial establishments like Starbucks or McDonald’s. These are valuable parts of the social infrastructure, but not everyone can afford to frequent them, and not all paying customers are welcome to stay for long.

Older and poor people will often avoid Starbucks altogether, because the fare is too expensive and they feel that they don’t belong. The elderly library patrons I got to know in New York told me that they feel even less welcome in the trendy new coffee shops, bars and restaurants that are so common in the city’s gentrifying neighborhoods. Poor and homeless library patrons don’t even consider entering these places. They know from experience that simply standing outside a high-end eatery can prompt managers to call the police. But you rarely see a police officer in a library.

This is not to say that libraries are always peaceful and serene. During the time I spent doing research, I witnessed a handful of heated disputes, physical altercations and other uncomfortable situations, sometimes involving people who appeared to be mentally ill or under the influence of drugs. But such problems are inevitable in a public institution that’s dedicated to open access, especially when drug clinics, homeless shelters and food banks routinely turn away — and often refer to the library! — those who most need help. What’s remarkable is how rarely these disruptions happen, how civilly they are managed and how quickly a library regains its rhythm afterward.

The openness and diversity that flourish in neighborhood libraries were once a hallmark of urban culture. But that has changed. Though American cities are growing more ethnically, racially and culturally diverse, they too often remain divided and unequal, with some neighborhoods cutting themselves off from difference — sometimes intentionally, sometimes just by dint of rising costs — particularly when it comes to race and social class.

Libraries are the kinds of places where people with different backgrounds, passions and interests can take part in a living democratic culture. They are the kinds of places where the public, private and philanthropic sectors can work together to reach for something higher than the bottom line.

This summer, Forbes magazine published an article arguing that libraries no longer served a purpose and did not deserve public support. The author, an economist, suggested that Amazon replace libraries with its own retail outlets, and claimed that most Americans would prefer a free-market option. The public response — from librarians especially, but also public officials and ordinary citizens — was so overwhelmingly negative that Forbes deleted the article from its website.

We should take heed. Today, as cities and suburbs continue to reinvent themselves, and as cynics claim that government has nothing good to contribute to that process, it’s important that institutions like libraries get the recognition they deserve. It’s worth noting that “liber,” the Latin root of the word “library,” means both “book” and “free.” Libraries stand for and exemplify something that needs defending: the public institutions that — even in an age of atomization, polarization and inequality — serve as the bedrock of civil society.

If we have any chance of rebuilding a better society, social infrastructure like the library is precisely what we need."

[See also: "Your Public Library Is Where It’s At"
https://www.subtraction.com/2018/09/11/your-public-library-is-where-its-at/

"I’ve seen for myself real life examples of virtually all of these use cases. It really opened my eyes to how vital a civic institution the libraries in my community are. But I take mild exception to the emphasis that Klinenberg places on a library’s ability to “address all manner of personal problems.” That phrasing gives the impression that a library is a place you go principally to solve some kind of challenge.

While that’s often true, it’s also true that a library is a building that’s uniquely open to any purpose you bring to it. Your business there could be educational, professional, personal or even undecided, and you don’t need to declare it to anyone—you can literally loiter in your local public library with no fear of consequences.

Even more radically, your time at the library comes with absolutely no expectation that you buy anything. Or even that you transact at all. And there’s certainly no implication that your data or your rights are being surrendered in return for the services you partake in.

This rare openness and neutrality imbues libraries with a distinct sense of community, of us, of everyone having come together to fund and build and participate in this collective sharing of knowledge and space. All of that seems exceedingly rare in this increasingly commercial, exposed world of ours. In a way it’s quite amazing that the concept continues to persist at all.

And when we look at it this way, as a startlingly, almost defiantly civilized institution, it seems even more urgent that we make sure it not only continues to survive, but that it should also thrive, too. If not for us, then for future generations who will no doubt one day wonder why we gave up so much of our personal rights and communal pleasures in exchange for digital likes and upturned thumbs. For years I took the existence of libraries for granted and operated under the assumption that they were there for others. Now I realize that they’re there for everybody."
ericklinenberg  libraries  culture  publiclibraries  2018  community  education  self-directed  self-directedlearning  books  publicspaces  ethnography  nyc  neighborhoods  thirdspaces  openness  diversity  us  democracy  inequality  cities  atomization  polarization  khoivinh 
january 2019 by robertogreco
McDonald's: you can sneer, but it's the glue that holds communities together | Business | The Guardian
[Tweeted previously:
"“Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy.” When our public institutions no longer serve the public."
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/742821334476951554

and noting
"Same with other chains (like Starbucks, KFC) in my neighborhood. Places for youth to assemble too, when programs come with too many strings."
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/742821897553874944

"When many lower-income Americans are feeling isolated by the deadening uniformity of things, by the emptiness of many jobs, by the media, they still yearn for physical social networks. They are not doing this by going to government-run community service centers. They are not always doing this by utilizing the endless array of well-intentioned not-for-profit outreach programs. They are doing this on their own, organically across the country, in McDonald’s.

Walk into any McDonald’s in the morning and you will find a group of mostly retired people clustering in a corner, drinking coffee, eating and talking. They are drawn to the McDonald’s because it has inexpensive good coffee, clean bathrooms, space to sprawl. Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy."



"In almost every franchise, there are tables with people like Betty escaping from the streets for a short bit. They prefer McDonald’s to shelters and to non-profits, because McDonald’s are safer, provide more freedom, and most importantly, the chance to be social, restoring a small amount of normalcy.

In the Bronx, many of my friends who live on the streets are regulars. Steve, who has been homeless for 20 years, uses the internet to check up on sports, find discarded papers to do the crossword puzzle, and generally escape for a while. He and his wife Takeesha will turn a McDonald’s meal into an evening out. Beauty, who has been homeless for five years, uses the internet to check up on her family back in Oklahoma when she can find a computer to borrow.

Most importantly though, McDonald’s provide many with the chance to make real and valuable connections. When faced with the greatest challenges, with a personal loss, wealthier Americans turn to expensive therapists, others without the resources or the availability, turn to each other.

In Sulfur Springs, Texas, in the late morning, Lew Mannon, 76, and Gerald Pinkham, 78, were sitting alone at a table, the last of the morning regulars to leave. She was needling him about politics. (“I like to tease the men who come, get them all riled up, tell them they just don’t want a female as president.”) Both are retired, Gerald from working for an airfreight company, and Lew after 28 years as a bank teller.

When I asked Lew about her life, she started to tear up, stopped for a second, and composed herself. “Life is hard. Very hard. Seven years ago I lost my husband to leukemia. Then three years ago I lost one of my sons. Health complications from diabetes. When my son died, I had nobody to help me, emotionally, except this community here. Gerald lost his wife three years ago, and we have helped support each other through that.”

She stopped again, unable to speak from tears. After a moment of silence: “I look composed on the outside. Many of us do. But I struggle a lot on the inside. This community here gives me the support to get by.”"

[Update: Kenyatta Cheese blogged this with the following notes:
http://finalbossform.com/post/145925082985/mcdonalds-you-can-sneer-but-its-the-glue-that

I’ve learned through @triciawang that spaces like these are known as third places in sociology. Third places are neutral, accessible spaces where people can meet with old friends and be exposed to possible new ones.

Tricia spent a decade living in, mapping, and understanding third places in Beijing, Wuhan, Brooklyn, Bangalore, and Oaxaca. (She’s badass that way.)

She taught me that Starbucks and Pizza Hut serve a similar role among young folks in China, especially for people who don’t necessarily feel comfortable sleeping in the third places that are internet cafes.

Small note on how this connects to @everybodyatonce: tv networks and creators sometimes ask us if they should create a dedicated app or website for their fandoms to which we almost always say no.

Much like the government-run community center, a dedicated app creates an unnecessary barrier to entry for new fans and requires you to program the space in the same way that you need to program and organize physical space. By meeting fans in neutral spaces (tumblr, twitter, IG, LJ, even reddit), you build bigger community by supporting the culture that already exists. ]
2016  chrisarnade  community  cities  mcdonalds  poverty  society  inequality  elitism  us  bureaucracy  elderly  aging  economics  civics  lowerclass  precarity  classism  thirdspaces  kenyattacheese  triciawang  beijing  starbucks  china  brooklyn  wuhan  bangalore  oaxaca  pizzahut  kfc  everybodyatonce  fandom  socialmedia 
june 2016 by robertogreco
In nerdhaven — The Message — Medium
"The roster of Essential Social Spaces includes, among others: the library, the union hall, the community garden, the coffee shop. To that list, we must add the nerdhaven. The question, though: Is it on its way out — winding down as nerds go digital? Or is it here to stay, a humble fixture wherever there exist enough nerds to muster a Magic tournament? (These shops support a $700 million market, according to an industry website, but I can’t decide whether that’s big or small. I think it be might be small.)

I hope they’re here to stay. At the shop in Gaylord I made my circuit of the nerdly Stations of the Cross and walked out with ten antique D&D books, three comics, two vintage sci-fi novels, and a board game."
robinsloan  nerhaven  libraries  thirdspaces  coffeshops  cafes  communitygardens  unionhalls  comics  boardgames  games  gaming  nerds  roleplayinggames  dungeonsanddragons  magicthegathering 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The Library Beyond The Book - Jeffrey Schnapp - YouTube
"Harvard Prof. Jeffrey Schnapp on redundancy between digital and analogue formats, physically assembled communities, and multiple types of libraries"
libraries  jeffreyschnapp  2014  reading  books  ebooks  digitalbooks  digitalpublishing  epublishing  digitalage  future  matthewbattles  archives  databases  knowledge  pop-ups  popuplibraries  multiplicity  plurality  thirdspaces  diversity  libraryfuturism  bookfuturism  collecting  access  local  communities 
may 2014 by robertogreco
indy johar founder of HUB westminster on co-working spaces
"designboom visited architect indy johar in london to learn more about his extensive study into socially driven sustainable urban organization. ‘the intersections of culture and technology have contributed to a mindset of ‘own less, use more‘, he explains, ‘and the concept of ‘ecosystems’ fits the contemporary landscape of work much better than the centralized model of decades past’.

‘we’re effectively going to see the corporate model become the uncorporate model,’ johar predicts, with large companies breaking down into separate but interwoven branches for their physical infrastructure, investment, and learning platforms. as a result, there is a pressing need to open up the office, moving away from divided departments and cubicles and towards what he describes as a ‘fluid mix’ wherein executives, startups, suppliers, and talent makers are all part of a larger ecosystem. as a result, there is a pressing need to open up the office, moving away from divided departments and cubicles and towards what he describes as a ‘fluid mix’ wherein executives, startups, suppliers, and talent makers are all part of a larger ecosystem."



"most HUBs are comprised of three types of environments: collaborative, semi-private, and private.all of them are conceptualized as blank canvases — while they provide basic furniture and necessities, the focus of the space is not on superfluous decoration but rather how people fill it and what they do with their time there. hubbers bring all kinds of personal objects and possessions to make their workspace, even in the sprawling open collaborative areas, feel uniquely theirs; and the HUBs feature creative touches inside and out, whether they’re built to resemble a giant red bus as in singapore or highlight their walls with colorful assemblages designating the HUB locations worldwide. microcosms of the work world in themselves — and thus a prevision of grander changes in society and culture — the HUBs are a perfect place to study human behaviour and watch out for the next trends in office furniture."



"the diversity of new needs means that office furniture manufacturers are also for the first time not restricted to international standards and regulations regarding the precise dimensions and production specifications of chairs and desks, permitting an expanded level of creativity and aesthetic vision. but the enduring effects of the new world of work will extend far beyond that. the design of office furniture and environments is equally shaped by changes within office culture and its increasing emphasis on collaboration and communication."

[video also here: https://vimeo.com/83300452 ]
indyjohar  coworking  2014  howwework  lcproject  openstudioproject  sharing  ownershap  hub  community  work  officespaces  offices  interiors  furniture  classroomdesign  design  architecture  organizations  officeculture  flexibility  ecosystems  place  thirdspaces  communitymanagement  uncorporate  infrastructure  platforms 
january 2014 by robertogreco
The Future of Libraries: Short on Books, Long on Tech | TIME.com
"A shift is needed. To move libraries from places where you look up facts to those where you learn skills and engage in new experiences. Instead of “shushing” librarians and stilted study rooms, libraries often have integrated art galleries, coffee shops and even cafeterias. And some are even exploring the idea of a 21st century gathering space.

At Harvard, a group of students from the Graduate School of Design created a pop-up space, called the “Labrary,” which shows how a library can move to digital yet still stay vital. Open since last November, the Labrary showcases projects ranging from edible telegrams made with graham crackers and 3-D icing printers to an online photo opera where visitors enter a murder mystery photo booth and experience “death by technology.” The flexible, connected space also brings together workshops to serve the community.

Libraries are also pushing to offer spaces for kids to hang out, play games and learn in what’s being called a “maker culture.” Three years ago, the Chicago Public Library started its YouMedia program to engage kids with interactive learning programs like those focusing on laser cutters and 3-D printers. In Chattanooga, for example, a record-setting 1,200 people stopped by the library in one day to check out large-scale industrial models, 3-D scanners and an experimental 3-D videoconferencing system using Kinect cameras. And Kids in other libraries can do more than use gadgets — they can learn soldering and circuitry to build them.

In some ways, libraries are doing what they’ve always done: adapting to technology, whether by collecting documents, storing records and videotapes or offering e-books and computer terminals. Today, they’re under pressure to give more and create spaces that connect people to information and ideas.

Books won’t fade, but with so many other mediums to explore, libraries, especially those with technology, can enhance skills. Access itself isn’t enough: libraries need to harness the sheer overabundance of information in the digital age and become facilitators to help us sort through the avalanche."
libraries  future  chrystiehill  bexarcounty  sanantonio  books  ebooks  youmedia  chicago  labrary  harvard  brewsterkahle  digital  technology  library2.0  learning  education  unschooling  deschooling  chattanooga  ncsu  thirdspaces  museums 
june 2013 by robertogreco
[SHANGHAI] Plum Gallery | Sugared & Spiced
"Opened by a Taiwanese music video director, Plum is a small gallery inside Jing’an Villa (靜安別墅) dedicated to exhibiting offbeat and unique art. Also serves coffee, tea, plum soda, and wine. A cute place worth visiting!

The exhibition theme changes every 1 or 2 months. Currently, Plum is having an exhibition titled “Post-Ready-Made”, which showcases works from Japanese and Taiwanese contemporary furniture designers Noriko Daishima, Mercy Yeh and Nicole Teng.

Plum serves coffee, tea, plum soda, and wine. If you do choose to have a drink here, you can sit on any of the chairs/sofas/stools displayed in the gallery, all of which you can purchase and take home.

A small corner with various items for sale – cards, book covers, notebooks, art books, etc.

Plum is worth a visit if you are in the Nanjing West Road area, and while you are here, also drop by other quirky spots in Jing’an Villa like Hypo and GZ cafe."
lepetitxiaoxiao  shanghai  lcproject  srg  galleries  nicoleteng  mercyyeh  norikodaishima  cafes  plumgallery  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  openstudioproject 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Cooking with Noriko at Shanghai showroom | Taste Bites
"Noriko and I cooked together last weekend in her little showroom. The kitchen faces south, so the winter sun shone all the way inside to keep us warm and brightly lit. Her kerosene heater did the rest of the heating work in the main area of Shanghai Showroom, the creative project she spearheads along with Beijing designer, Nicole Teng. It’s a quiet and welcoming place filled with gorgeous furniture, textiles, ceramics, lamps, all hand made or designed by Noriko or Nicole.

I’ve known Noriko Daishima since my Shaoxing Lu days, back when she ran underground cafe Le Petit Xiao Xiao and I was in the early throes of romancing the city. At Xiao Xiao her menu was short, simple and often surprising in the way she used fresh market ingredients to come up with unexpected combinations, such as cucumber and tofu salad. Her approach to food is all about celebrating the natural flavours of produce. Speaking about her inspiration to cook the way she does, Noriko explained how important it is to…"
2012  leisurearts  making  gnocchi  cafes  srg  cooking  lepetitxiaoxiao  shanghaishowroom  norikodaishima  nicoleteng  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  openstudioproject  artleisure 
july 2012 by robertogreco
showroom 展示室
“showroom 展示室” is a small creative space in Shanghai, run and owned by two creative design projects BRUT CAKE and xiaoxiao, to presents their design works and share creative ideas."
shanghaishowroom  cafes  galleries  design  art  lepetitxiaoxiao  brutcake  shanghai  showroom  norikodaishima  nicoleteng  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  openstudioproject 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Sugared & Spiced
":What is Sugared & Spiced?
A food + travel blog based in Shanghai.

When and why did it get started?
August 2010. For the love of eating, photographing, and sharing.

What camera do you use?
Ricoh GRD4.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Shanghai?
Hard to say, but you can check my list of “favorites” to get some ideas.

How do you eat so much?
One simply does not resist good food.

Are you fat?
Plump like a watermelon.

Do you get paid to eat?
Nope, but I do get invited to taste, and if that’s the case I always put a note upfront in red for your information.

How should I navigate this blog?
For restaurants in Shanghai, use archives by cuisine, by time of day, by location, and by price. For restaurants and travel entries outside of Shanghai, click on any of the city names on the righthand column under “travels”."
lcproject  cafes  bali  beijing  hongkong  tokyo  seoul  taipei  srg  blogs  china  food  asia  shanghai  travel  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  openstudioproject 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The Setup / Julian Bleecker
[Julian reads my mind.]

"The dream setup is a studio that's a short bike's ride from home. In front would be a cafe that the studio would run in a haphazard way — sometimes someone from the studio might pop around and decide to make coffee for patrons. Sometimes you'd just have to turn people away. But the cafe would also be a bit of a literati cafe, so people would come by and read and write and talk and use as a meeting place and to teach little "Public School" style classes on anything and everything. There'd be books and a bit of a lending library. The only thing between the cafe and the studio behind it would be a bit of glass wall and a door. The studio would have a proper cooking kitchen (no microwave and robot coffee — real cooking) and a long family style table to accommodate 15 or so — that's what experience tells me is the maximum compliment for a well-oiled, creative, functioning team of designers/makers/builders.

In back would be a 40 foot x 40 foot pitch of back garden with a fire pit, outdoor kitchen and a wall where we could show movies all year round in the California evenings. Attached and visible through a wall of sound muffling glass would be the shop. A big shop with CNC machines, clean room, electronics assembly and fabrication, hand tools, finishing tools, cutters both material and laser and a 3D printer that wouldn't be fetishized but used to compliment proper designing and making."
coffee  thesetup  california  design  making  edg  srg  kitchens  reading  books  publicschool  thirdplaces  cafes  libraries  groupsize  cv  glvo  studios  lcproject  2012  julianbleecker  thirdspaces  openstudioproject  usesthis 
july 2012 by robertogreco
The Speculist » Blog Archive » In the Future Everything Will Be A Coffee Shop
"Eventually you could have local campuses becoming places where MITx students seek tutoring, network, & socialize—reclaiming some of the college experience they’d otherwise have lost.

Phil thought this sounded like college as a giant coffee shop. I agree. Every education would be ad hoc. It would be student-directed toward the job market she’s aiming for.

This trend toward…coffeeshopification…is changing more than just colleges:

Book Stores Will Shrink to Coffee Shops…

The Coffee Shop Will Displace Most Retail Shops…

Offices Become Coffee Shops…Again…

What Doesn’t Become a Coffee Shop?…

…houses of worship…

What will remain other than coffee shops? Upscale retail will remain…[for] experience…Restaurants remain. Grocery stores remain.

Brick and mortar retail stores will be converted to public spaces. Multi-use space will be in increasing demand as connectivity tools allow easy coordination of impromptu events…"
restaurants  multipurpose  multi-usespace  impromptuevents  events  coffeeshopification  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  howwelearn  howwework  work  enlightenment  stevenjohnson  amazonprime  amazon  shopping  espressobookmachine  coffeehouses  coffeeshops  coffee  on-demandprinting  highereducation  higheredbubble  highered  information  reading  ebooks  stephengordon  future  retail  deschooling  unschooling  sociallearning  self-directedlearning  mitx  mit  learning  srg  glvo  2011  universities  colleges  education  opencoffeeclubdresden  3dprinting  ondemand  ondemandprinting  bookfuturism  books  cafes  openstudioproject 
february 2012 by robertogreco
house of rethinking | until we see new land
"it’s not only a place to host our innovation camps: We think of it as an inspiring space where all sorts of people get together, encourage each other to think different and put ideas into action. The permanent “House of Rethinking” should be established for living and working together, for reflecting and rethinking."

In addition to the hosting of innovation camps the “House of Rethinking” will be open to different uses: from a “living-topics library” to a cultural venue, from an inspiration hostel to a retreat center for management groups much is conceivable and feasible. At the same time a “residency” program for dedicated creative people from all over the world will “fuel” the “House of Rethinking”."
houseofrethinking  berlin  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  culture  thirdspaces  glvo  livework  community 
november 2011 by robertogreco
On Going Feral
"Cloudworker lifestyles…create a psychological transformation that is very similar to what happens when animals go feral. In animals, it takes a couple of generations of breeding for the true wild nature to re-emerge…But in humans it can happen faster, since most of our domestication is through education & socialization rather than breeding.

You might think that the true tabby-mutt human must live outside the financial system…that’s actually a mistaken notion, because that sort of officially checked-out  or actively nihilistic person is defined & motivated by the structure of human civilization. To rebel is to be defined by what you rebel against. Criminals & anarchists are civilized creatures. Feral populations are agnostic, rather than either dependent on, or self-consciously independent of, codified social structures. Feral cloudworkers use social structures where it accidentally works for them…and improvise ad-hoc self-support structures for the rest of their needs."
mobile  cloudworkers  cloudworking  venkateshrao  2009  feral  mutts  cv  society  socialization  deschooling  unschooling  illegiblepeople  illegibles  domestication  lordoftheflies  anarchism  anarchy  conformity  lifestyle  work  thirdplaces  introverts  neo-nomads  nomadism  nomads  telecommuting  labor  thirdspaces 
august 2011 by robertogreco
The Healing Powers of a Pie Shop - NYTimes.com
"PieLab opened in a makeshift space…Project M team members…at the invitation of the Hale Empowerment & Revitalization Organization (HERO), a housing-advocacy nonprofit, which also sponsored community-minded local initiatives. The Project M team conceived of their pie shop as a pop-up — a temporary cafe — describing it as a “negative-energy inverter, fueled by pie.”…
PieLab = a neutral place + a slice of pie.A neutral place + a slice of pie = conversation.
Conversation = ideas + design.Ideas + design = positive change.

…operated out of temporary quarters for four months…Within a few months of opening…PieLab-inspired efforts popped up in [other] cities…"

[Article also outlines misteps.]

"All the attention buoyed the PieLab collaborators. But it also created problems. When Project M first arrived in Greensboro, some folk bristled at the language it employed."

[Slide show: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/10/10/magazine/pielab.html?ref=magazine ]

[See also http://mmm.pielab.org/ (nice touch on the URL) AND http://vimeo.com/9386150 ]
alabama  greensboro  popuprestaurants  pop-uprestaurants  lcproject  community  humanitariandesign  designimperialism  projectm  amandabuck  food  glvo  srg  pielab  halecounty  conversation  problemsolving  designbasedsolutions  nonprofit  cultureclash  language  blackbelt  us  change  ideageneration  studios  popup  pop-ups  thirdspaces  cafes  openstudioproject  nonprofits 
august 2011 by robertogreco
seesaw
"We're a one-of-a-kind studio + café inspiring curiosity, creativity, and connection.

Studio: education and support for children & adults.
• friendship skills
• structured play groups
• language immersion
• workshops

Café: eat. drink. play.
• Four Barrel coffee
• tasty Danish and Korean snacks
• family-friendly vibe
• art shows and private events

Private Events: Seesaw is a great place to have your next birthday party, baby shower or private event. We offer a variety of packages. Call or e-mail us and we'll give you the low down."

[via: http://twitter.com/dcinc66/status/88450490043613184 ]
sanfrancisco  lcproject  education  learning  parenting  children  glvo  cafes  studios  curiosity  creativity  social  food  tovisit  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  openstudioproject 
july 2011 by robertogreco
OK Do | Small, small, small – Noriko Daishima’s home in Shanghai is also a café and a shop
"Designer Noriko Daishima runs a small shop, café and creative studio in her home in Shanghai. Located in the French Concession, on Xingguo Lu, she calls her place Le Petit Xiaoxiao (small, small, small) and keeps it open for friends and their friends during the weekends. Last Saturday, we visited Noriko for a chat and green tea."

"Like us, many people found their way to Noriko’s through a friend’s recommendation. We heard about the place from Satoko and Kok-Meng, a Shanghai-based couple who met each other at Le Petit Xiaoxiao and later founded KUU design office together. “I wanted to create a small creative community by making my home a meeting place,” Noriko tells us about her activities resonating Chinese communality. “I have made many new friends at my place.”"

[Update 18 July 2012: Sad to see this post is gone and not available in the Wayback Machine.]

[Some related links:
http://lepetit-xiaoxiao.eco.to/ (Noriko Daishima's website)
http://lepetit-xiaoxiao.eco.to/weblog/ (Noriko Daishima's blog)
http://lepetitxiao.jugem.jp/ (Noriko Daishima's other blog)
http://showroom-shanghai.net/ (collaboration with Nicole Teng of But Cake)
http://www.sugarednspiced.com/plum-gallery/ (Plum Gallery has shown Noriko Daishima's work)
http://www.tastebites.net/cooking-with-noriko/ (cooking with Noriko Daishima)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/yanbing/529552230/ (a photo at Le Petit Xiaoxiao)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/reelene/505347206/ (a photo at Le Petit Xiaoxiao)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/reelene/504656722/ (a photo at Le Petit Xiaoxiao)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lepetit-xiaoxiao/ (Le Perit Xiaoxiao's Flickr account?)

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g308272-d969465-Reviews-Le_petit_xiao_xiao-Shanghai.html (Le Petit Xiaoxiao on Trip Advisor) ]
norikodaishima  lcproject  community  social  meetingplace  creativity  make  making  art  design  schooldesign  shanghai  thirdplaces  homes  fabrication  handmade  openstudio  work  workspace  cafes  lepetitxiaoxiao  thirdspaces  openstudioproject  workspaces 
december 2010 by robertogreco
At the Core of the Apple Store: Images of Next Generation Learning (full-length and abridged article) | Big Picture
"What are the essential features of the Apple Store’s learning culture?

* The learning experience is highly personalized and focused on the interests and needs of the individual customer.

* Customers can make mistakes with little risk of failure or embarrassment. Thinking and tinkering with the help of a staff member provide opportunities for deep learning.

* Challenges are real and embedded in the customer’s learning and work.

* Assessment is built right into the learning, focusing specifically on what needs to be accomplished.

A disruptive innovation? We think so. The Apple Store has created a new type of learning environment that allows individuals to learn anything, at any time, at any level, from experts, expert practitioners, and peers."
apple  applestore  learning  schooldesign  innovation  via:cervus  education  lcproject  technology  williamgibson  geniusbar  retail  studioclassroom  openstudio  thirdplaces  problemsolving  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  personalization  individualized  challenge  disruption  assessment  deeplearning  21stcenturylearning  learningspaces  thirdspaces 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Open social scene: Coffeesmith, Garosu-gil | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
"I thought this was just an exemplary platform for conviviality.

Coffeesmith's multiple zones readily support:
- prospect and refuge;
- solitary drinking/reading/studying/people-watching;
- socialization at a variety of scales, from couples to mid-sized groups;
- a range of options for lighting and ventilation."
lcproject  space  conviviality  thirdplaces  design  architecture  environmentaldesign  lighting  ventilation  seoul  korea  socialization  adamgreenfield  experience  coffeehouses  work  workplace  workspace  cafes  classroomdesigns  thirdspaces  openstudioproject  workspaces 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from | Video on TED.com
"People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web."
stevenjohnson  art  creativity  ideas  innovation  thinking  connectivity  hunches  interconnectivity  youtube  philosophy  cafeculture  incubation  timberners-lee  web  online  internet  lcproject  crosspollination  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  generalists  coffeehouses  ted  enlightenment  networks  space  place  thirdspaces  patterns  behavior  evolution  systems  systemsthinking  liquidnetowork  collaboration  tcsnmy  learning  theslowhunch  slowhunches  slow  darwin  eurekamoments  google20%  openstudio  cv  gps  sputnik  thirdplaces  charlesdarwin  interconnected 
september 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM by Steven Johnson
"Where Good Ideas Come From…pairs insight of Everything Bad Is Good for You & dazzling erudition of The Ghost Map & The Invention of Air to address an urgent & universal question: What sparks the flash of brilliance? How does groundbreaking innovation happen? Answering in his infectious, culturally omnivorous style, using fluency in fields from neurobiology to popular culture, Johnson provides complete, exciting, & encouraging story of how we generate ideas that push our careers, lives, society, & culture forward.

Beginning w/ Darwin's first encounter w/ teeming ecosystem of coral reef & drawing connections to intellectual hyperproductivity of modern megacities & to instant success of YouTube, Johnson shows us that the question we need to ask is, What kind of environment fosters the development of good ideas? His answers are never less than revelatory, convincing, & inspiring…identifies 7 key principles to genesis of such ideas, & traces them across time & disciplines."
stevenjohnson  art  creativity  ideas  innovation  thinking  connectivity  hunches  interconnectivity  youtube  philosophy  cafeculture  incubation  timberners-lee  web  online  internet  lcproject  crosspollination  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  generalists  coffeehouses  ted  enlightenment  networks  space  place  thirdspaces  patterns  behavior  evolution  systems  systemsthinking  liquidnetowork  collaboration  tcsnmy  learning  theslowhunch  slowhunches  slow  darwin  eurekamoments  thirdplaces  coral  charlesdarwin  interconnected 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Queen Street Studios
"QSS is a hub for artistic excellence, committed to the growth and success of the creative community in Nova Scotia. It is a place where social and creative minds come together to share ideas, resources and employment opportunities. We provide you with...

A working space, photo studio, meeting place, event venue and a public art space... A network, web presence, professional development, collective learning and a spirit of collaboration..."
novascotia  coworking  thirdplaces  lcproject  tcsnmy  collectivelearning  collaboration  networking  dartmouth  thirdspaces 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Bétonsalon
"Bétonsalon is designed as a place for work, production, activities and leisure, for the students, teachers and university staff, inhabitants, shopkeepers and employees of the neighbourhood, and people working in various disciplines: artists, philosophers, playwrights, choreographers, scientists ... and all of those who wish to contribute to make it a space of exchange."
education  culture  art  performance  france  paris  artists  exhibition  everyday  contemporary  glvo  lcproject  science  philosophy  exchange  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinary  discourse  conversation  thirdspaces 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Op-Art - The Daily Grind - NYTimes.com
"In New York City, where the unemployment rate remains at 10.3 percent, the jobless have started leaning hard on coffee shops and bookstores to get out of their tiny one-bedrooms and away from their annoying roommates. In these harsh, career-vanishing times, the members of this laptop brigade do everything they can to re-create the office environment they no longer have to complain about."
unemployment  mobile  office  work  thirdplaces  neo-nomads  nomads  laptops  thirdspaces  cafes  openstudioproject 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Local Bookstores, Social Hubs, and Mutualization « Clay Shirky
"The core idea is to appeal to that small subset of customers who think of bookstores as their “third place”, alongside home and work. These people care about the store’s existence in physical (and therefore social) space; the goal would be to generate enough revenue from them to make the difference between red and black ink, and to make the new bargain not just acceptable but desirable for all parties. A small collection of patron saints who helped keep a local bookstore open could be cheaply smothered in appreciation by the culture they help support...All of which is to say that trying to save local bookstores from otherwise predictably fatal competition by turning some customers into members, patrons, or donors is an observably crazy idea. However, if the sober-minded alternative is waiting for the Justice Department to anoint the American Booksellers Association as a kind of OPEC for ink, even crazy ideas may be worth a try."
bookselling  books  business  clayshirky  adaptation  community  trends  publishing  digital  bookstores  culture  future  online  local  thirdplaces  social  media  activism  commerce  thebookworks  bookfuturism  technofuturism  thirdspaces 
november 2009 by robertogreco
performa hub
"presented by performa, performa hub is a special project located in the new cooper union building in new york’s bowery district. the performa hub was set up to serve as performa’s headquarters during their biennale and was specially designed by berlin-based nOffice. the project will serve duty as the press office, meeting room and a venue for special events. the design consists of an odd shaped room that serves multi-functions simultaneously. the walls have been clad in plywood panels, many of which have windows or alcoves hidden behind them for use during special activities. there is also an amphitheatre made of stepped wooden levels. the performa biennale runs until november 22."
lcproject  schooldesign  tcsnmy  performa  performahub  architecture  design  wood  plywood  nOffice  multipurpose  thirdplaces  glvo  performance  meetingplace  galleries  amphitheater  thirdspaces 
november 2009 by robertogreco
cabel.name: Kashiwa Mystery Cafe
"At this cafe, you get what the person before you ordered. The next person gets what you ordered. Welcome to the Ogori cafe! ... For the record, here are the rules of the Ogori cafe: 1. Let's treat the next person. What to treat them with? It's your choice. 2. Even if it's a group of friends or a family, please form a single-file line. Also, you can't buy twice in a row. 3. Please enjoy what you get, even if you hate it. (If you really, really hate it, let's quietly give it to another while saying, "It's my treat…") 4. Let's say "Thank You! (Gochihosama)" if you find the person with your Ogori cafe card. 5. We can't issue a receipt."
japan  cafes  travel  society  community  mystery  business  fun  food  restaurants  culture  japanese  drink  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  openstudioproject 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Near Future Laboratory » Eduardo Galeano Contemplates History’s Paradoxes
"I found the context of this radio interview intriguing for a number of reasons. The setting of a cafe as a place to think and plot and plan future worlds — of course this is resonant to me. The right cafes are peerless as places to think, observe, meet people, write, sketch, ponder. Much, much better than just about any of the social settings available in digital environments. I mean, really — Facebook is an obscure diacritic in the language of human social practices as far as my experience suggests."
eduardogaleano  thinking  facebook  writing  thirdplaces  julianbleecker  djangoreinhardt  jazz  cafes  music  books  latinamerica  uruguay  writers  thirdspaces  openstudioproject 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Eduardo Galeano Contemplates History's Paradoxes : NPR
"Now 68, the Uruguayan author spends most days at his favorite cafe in Montevideo, Uruguay, where fans phone to ask if he is there or when he's expected. Sometimes they leave letters and books for him to sign. Galeano says he was formed in this cafe and others like it:

"These were my universities. Here in cafes is where I learned the art of storytelling — great anonymous storytellers that taught me how to do it," he says. "I love these places where we may have time to lose time. It is a luxury in this world." ... When it's time to leave the cafe, a friend appears outside to give him a lift. Galeano doesn't drive, nor does he use his cell phone much. He suspects his computer — and all computers — drink whiskey at night when nobody's watching.

"And that's why next day they do some enigmatic things that nobody can understand," he says."

[via: http://www.nearfuturelaboratory.com/2009/08/26/eduardo-galeano-contemplates-historys-paradoxes/ ]
eduardogaleano  writing  thinking  technology  mobile  phones  computers  myth  storytelling  history  thirdplaces  paradox  jazz  djangoreinhardt  music  books  writers  latinamerica  uruguay  cafes  thirdspaces  openstudioproject 
august 2009 by robertogreco
¡SUPER NAFTA LAND!
"A blog for the sharing and development of my thesis project on the Mexico / US border. -Richie Gelles"
architecture  thesis  borders  us  mexico  urbanism  landscape  thirdspaces 
march 2009 by robertogreco
¡SUPER NAFTA LAND! - a set on Flickr
"By the end of the 21rst century ¡SUPER NAFTA LAND! exists as a giant self sufficient artificial landscape growing out of the border of the US and Mexico. It uses a modular system of production pods to generate enough food, water, and energy for the entire border population. 3 different structural systems allow these pods to interface with the variety of landscapes and natural resources available in the various border regions. High speed trains, pipelines, and cable networks connect the isolated border cities together and allow for trans-border as well as cross-border trade. The existing border cities and their unique culture interface and expand into this new connective landscape turning the region into a zone of productivity, trade, tourism, and cultural exchange instead of an area of violence, security, and fear."
mexico  us  borders  architecture  urbanism  landscape  thirdspaces 
march 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Super NAFTA Land
"The emergence and potential of this "third space" as an economic engine and potential immigration buffer has been jeopardized by US policies towards Mexico such as the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which insists on understanding the border as a line, rather than its reality as a blurred zone of transition. This project proposes building a thickened, connective infrastructural corridor landscape to unite the sister cities (in place of the divisive 700 miles of fence currently under construction by the US government) and generate the resources and conditions for an independent, neutral border nation to emerge."
borders  us  mexico  architecture  landscape  thesis  thirdspaces 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Coworking wiki - To establish a collaboration space fo...
"Coworking is cafe-like community/collaboration space for developers, writers and independents. Or, it's like this: start with a shared office and add cafe culture."
coworking  cooperation  cooperative  collaborative  collaboration  community  cohousing  alternative  entrepreneurship  openspace  office  networking  spaces  space  work  workplace  sanfrancisco  management  business  wiki  meatspace  environment  cafes  freelancing  workspace  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  openstudioproject  workspaces 
october 2007 by robertogreco
:: Escola São Paulo >> Uma iniciativa inovadora!
"sala de aula, biblioteca, videoteca, cdteca, dvdteca, exposições, café, restaurante, loja. pessoas e empresas, brasileiras e estrangeiras, participam do projeto por ser a escola um espaço de estudos e pesquisa. acesso gratuito a atividades. desenvolv
lcproject  schools  schooldesign  brasil  sãopaulo  design  education  alternative  culture  art  place  theater  food  dance  cafes  architecture  events  meetings  classes  space  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  openstudioproject  brazil 
april 2007 by robertogreco
brand promotion = hangout place on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
"never thought toyota as a brand that would provide a cafe for young people. here, it is."
toyota  brands  cars  marketing  youth  cafes  $100  olpc  laptops  lcproject  schooldesign  alternative  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  openstudioproject 
march 2007 by robertogreco

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