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  • Writer's pictureSarah Coloma

Progress Report No. 02

*This post was originally published on Nov. 15.

I'm probably not the only one exhausted after this week. The election has had me curled up over my phone in anxiety at some points then out-of my mind elated at others. And while there are still elections coming up in January, I wanted to take a second to process everything I've been up to in the last couple of weeks.

Aside from following the election, I've been designing and using paper to prototype an app that I'm considering for actual development. I've also been working with a group to design and facilitate a remote Design Sprint for around 15 people in the public planning space.

What I'm reading and watching

  1. An Architecture Critic on Four Seasons Landscaping. Rudy Giuliani spewing flames and lies in front of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping between a store called "Fantasy Island" and a crematorium was nothing short of poetic. It provided more laughs for me than I've had in four years. This was definitely relevant as a designer to address how important symbolism is.

  2. New Traffic Garden Teaches Kids Rules of the Road, in Miniature. Recently a temporary pop-up traffic garden opened up in my city in the parking lot of a Women's Club. The traffic garden was meant to address this problem: "Without in-person school, play dates and activities, many kids have lost their primary sources of social interaction and exercise due to COVID-19 / The original traffic gardens were built in the 1950s in Denmark and the Netherlands. They resembled miniature cities, with tiny buildings and kid-sized roads and traffic signs." The way the organization went about solving this problem is interesting too. To get around a lot of the red tape, they used temporary permitting through the city. Hopefully, though, this pilot will draw more interest with community members either to repeat the process for themselves or to convince the city to spearhead a permanent traffic garden.

  3. The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids by Alexandra Lange. Speaking of designs for children, Lange is a NY-based architecture and design critic who started conceptualizing the book when she had her own kids. She saw the way that world was built through her children's material interactions. I think the book is pretty fascinating when it comes to how we design not just for this very specific group of people, kids, but also how we design for the adaptability of physical products, but also for changing learning environments, including digital ones. I'm about 1/3 the way done. While Lange has so far talked about the home and the way that racist public planning affected minorities, I hope I see in the book that she'll bring up the design of housing for low income people, like, how for some reason lead paint is still not cleared out of all low-income housing. This is another example of how the material world shapes kids and how it holds them back from being more independent.

More links from the web:

  1. MoMA Design Store. I'm think about what I'll be gifting and what I wouldn't mind getting...

  2. NYT Style Magazine. GW just gave students access to NYT, WSJ, WaPo which means access to their articles and also their style magazines. I'm extremely happy, like, Christmas came early. I'd like to live out my Nancy Meyers "The Holiday" fantasy in this featured home in the NYT Style Magazine.

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