Calm Technology and Designing with Sound Workshops at PNCA on 11/12 and 11/18!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be hosting two workshops at Portland’s Pacific Northwest College of Art in November 2018! I just joined the school as a faculty researcher, and I’m looking forward to contributing to MAKE+THINK+CODE, a creative technology-focussed lab, institute, and incubator for creative experiments at the intersection of science, technology, design, art, and culture.


Workshop Details

Designing Calm Technology

Mon, November 12, 2018
5:00 PM – 9:00 PM PST

Calm Technology is a framework for designing ubiquitous devices that engage our attention in an appropriate manner. The aim of Calm Technology is to provide principles that follow the human lifestyle and environment in mind, allowing technology to amplify humanness instead of taking it away.

The difference between an annoying technology and one that is helpful is how it engages our attention. This workshop will cover how to use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices. We’ll look at notification styles, compressing information into other senses, and designing for the least amount of cognitive overhead.

Structure and activities
Students will work in groups to solve a series of design challenges, including designing new products, ‘calming down’ a complex ones, communicating the principles of Calm Technology across an organization and team, and entering a product successfully into the marketplace.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices.
  • Design appropriate notification systems into both physical and software products
  • Communicate the principles of Calm Technology to your across your organization and team
  • Use methods of Calm Technology to design technology for generations, not seasons.
  • Enter your product successfully into the marketplace.

This workshop is for anyone that actively builds or makes decisions about technology, especially user experience designers, product designers, managers, creative directors, developers and students interested in the future of technology and humanity.

Bringing a laptop is not required, as work will be done on paper and in groups.

We have a limited number of scholarships for our workshops. If you need an application, please send an email to with your complete name and contact information.

Designing with Sound

Sun, November 18, 2018
9:30 AM – 1:30 PM PST

Sound is one of the most commonly overlooked components in product design, even though it’s often the first way people interact with many products. When designers don’t pay enough attention to sound elements, customers are frequently left with annoying and interruptive results. This practical workshop covers several methods that product designers and managers can use to improve everyday interactions through an understanding and application of sound design.

You’ll Learn How to:

  • Understand the place of sound in design, and how it can make a difference in your product
  • Learn key concepts in sound design, with patterns and principles you can use to improve user experience
  • Learn how to integrate sound design into a project
  • Use exercises to help evaluate sound design

We have a limited number of scholarships for our workshops. If you need an application, please send an email to with your complete name and contact information.

If you know of anyone who’d enjoy these workshops, please let them know! These are aimed at user experience designers, students, artists and technologists. You do not have to be affiliated with PNCA to attend.


Portland Tech Event Cornucopia for Nov. 26 through Dec. 11, 2008

Dear Everyone,

Here are a lot of events. I’ll be at most of them this time, as I will not be in Boston. Be sure to check out DorkBot, Beer and Blog, Web Innovators and CyborgCamp. Happy event going!


Wednesday November 26, 2008

Beer and Blog – Turkey Day at the Green Dragon

4:00pm – 6:00pm
Green Dragon Bistro & Brewpub
928 SE 9th Ave
Portland, Oregon 97214

Since this Friday is one that most will be spending with family, we’re going to make this week’s Beer and Blog a Wednesday affair (that’s tomorrow as of this post’s publish date).

Official Beer and Blog website

RSVP on Upcoming.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dorkbot Series: Making Noise with the Arduino

1:00pm – 5:00pm
Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)
1241 NW Johnson Street
Portland, Oregon 97209

As a part of the ongoing Arduino Cult Induction workshop series, this month we will be focusing on sound.

In particular Don will be going over creating sound using the Arduino’s built in Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and Direct Digital Synthesis using resistive ladders. We will investigate using the Piezo element
as both a simple speaker and an input trigger. We will review the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) from a hardware and software perspective, and look at a couple of useful integrated circuits (the lm324 and the lm368).

The workshop will cost $25 and participants will recieve a complete midi interface board for the dorkboard/arduino and a piezo element which will be used to create a midi drum trigger. Participants will also take with them parts for an r2r ladder, an op amp and an audio amp capable of driving small speakers or headphones.

Ticket Info: $25 Buy Tickets (scroll to the bottom of the page to get to the ticket purchasing information).


Monday, December 1, 2008

Morning Meeting: Legal (Weekly Series)

9:00am – 10:00am

622 SE Grand Ave
Portland, Oregon 97214
Category: Education
Come into CubeSpace between 9 and 10 a.m. on weekdays to chat with the professional-in-residence about your needs. The Monday topic is Legal issues, including questions about incorporation and doing business in Oregon.

The Morning Meetings are free and open to the public. They are part of our Entrepreneurial Series. To learn more, visit the Entrepreneurial Series’ website.


Wednesday, December 3rd

PNCA Noontime Chat: Louis Marchesano

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
PNCA Swigert Commons
Pacific NW College of Art
1241 NW Johnson St.
Portland, OR 97209

Louis Marchesano is the Collections Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University, where he worked on 17th Century Italian prints, a topic on which he has published.

His recent exhibition, Drawn to Rome, was a groundbreaking work on the remarkably rich sketchbooks of young French artists who trained in Rome in the 18th Century. Louis’ upcoming exhibitions include two collaborative projects with the Getty Museum, one on the prints and painting of James Ensor, and the other on the drawings and related prints of Peter Paul Rubens. Part of Contemporary Curatorial Issues Series.

Ticket info: Free and open to the public.

Official description on the PNCA website.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Web Analytics Wednesday

Host: Ryan Summers

5:30 PM
McFaddens Restaurant & Saloon in Portland
107 NW Couch St, Portland OR (Venue | Map | Group)

Event sponsored by ISITE Design, Inc.

Please join your web analytics colleagues on Wednesday, December 3rd on the west side of McFaddens in the upper bar area. An assortment of food will be provided by McFaddens, courtesy of ISITE Design Inc.


Invite friends to join you at this event

Link to this event

Attendees: 16 people plan to attend, including Ryan Summers, allison, amclaughlin, ben, bohlgren, dsprick, eric.peterson, hallie, jesse, jturner, kent, labbott, mmellor, ritchiem, skemper, tyson


Wednesday, December 3rd

State of Portland Tech – Web Innovators

622 SE Grand Ave
Portland, Oregon 97214

Silicon Florist’s Rick Turoczy will lead a discussion about the Portland tech scene heading into 2009. Where are we now, how did we get here and where do we want to go?

Join us for the monthly Portland Web Innovators meeting — the first Wednesday of every month.

RSVP on Upcoming


Friday, December 5th, 2008

PNCA+Five Series Presents Design Futuring, Culture and the Coming Age of Unsettlement

Pacific Northwest College of Art welcomes Australian designer and design theorist Tony Fry in two upcoming events centered on the sustainment of arts education and the reinvention of design. A design consultant and theorist, Fry is also an international leader in sustainable design theory and practice. His lecture, “Design Futuring, Culture and the Coming Age of Unsettlement” will unpack two crucial and linked questions: how can design, as a positive force for change, be made to happen?

12:30-1:30 Pm
Gerding Theatre at the Armory
128 NW Eleventh Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

Free and open to the public.

Official details at PNCA website.


Friday, December 5th

CyborgCamp Re-Party at Vidoop

Time TBA
117 NW 5th Ave, ste 210
Portland, OR 97209

Come to the official CyborgCamp pre-party! Special guests Cami and Mike Kaos will be live-broadcasting Strange Love Live. There will be drinks and festivities before the conference in the morning. Details forthcoming. Expect a 8 or 9 Pm start time.

RSVP on Upcoming

Saturday, December 6th

CyborgCamp PDX 2008

9:00 Am-6Pm
622 SE Grand Ave
Portland, Oregon 97214

CyborgCamp is a hybrid conference/unconference about the future of human computer interaction, technology, and how we deal with it. Notable speakers will be Ward Cunningham (Inventor of the Wiki), Hideshi Hamaguchi (of Lunaar), and Bill DeRouchey (Ziba Design). Unconference sessions to occur throughout the day.

Additionally, the conference will be live streamed, so you can join in online.
To attend the event in person, you must register through CubeSpace. The $10 fee covers food and drink. Visit for information and to get a ticket.


Sunday, December 7th

DorkbotPDX 0x02: DorkbotPDX brings you Collin Oldham, Shelly Farnham and Steve Davee

AboutUs offices
107 SE Washington St., Suite 520,
Portland, Oregon 97214

Come join us for an evening of geek meets art. The fine folks at AboutUs will be hosting us for this event, which takes place December 7th at 6PM. AboutUs is located at 107 SE Washington St, Suite 520. Feel free to bring snacks and drinks to share. Please spread the word!

Collin Oldham: The RT (radio trowel) and The Cellomobo

Collin spent the 2005-2006 academic year at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) where began to develop the electronic musical instruments he is presenting today.

The RT (radio trowel) uses a capacitive sensor array based on Max Mathew’s radio baton to detect the position of the trowel on the playing surface. The trowel’s movements control sound synthesis parameters, including filters which process live sound from a contact mic attached to the trowel.

Shelly Farnham: Dorkbot Dorkbot Dorkbot + Seattle

I am that rare combination of geek, artist, and scientist and when I first met Dorkbot Seattle I felt like I’d *finally* found my people — where technology is artistic medium, science is art, and geeking out is just a whole lot of fun. My one complaint was that Seattle Dorkbots were not collaborating enough, and when I took over as Seattle’s “Dork Overlord” it was my main mission — to cultivate the creative geek community.

Steve Davee: Not to kill a thought: The impact of language on curiosity, creativity and scientific inquiry.

This talk explores how easy it is, even with the best of intentions, to stifle creative thought and true learning when it comes to working with children in the areas of science, math and engineering. We will investigate examples of simple but powerful changes in language, with the intention of provoking the best of creative potential and shared inquiry.

Steve Davee is a math and science teacher at Opal Charter School and a Media Specialist for the Center for Children’s Learning at the Portland Children’s Museum. He is a recovering Biochemist with a background in physics and over 20 years of volunteer and work experience in education.

Event is Free. RSVP on Upcoming.


Wednesday, December 8, 2008

Internet Marketing Conference

Internet Professionals SIG
Portland State University
Market Square Building Suite 1050
1515 SW 5th Avenue – Portland, OR
Cost:$55 for members $55 for non members

This event is with the Software Association of Oregon (SAO). Click here for more information and to register


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ThrivePDX (2nd Edition)

(Location to be announced).

The second Thrive PDX. Site says: “Join us for the second meeting of ThrivePDX! Details to follow… check back soon!”


ThrivePDX Event on Upcoming.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

CubeSpace Holiday Party

4:00pm – 9:00pm
622 SE Grand Ave
Portland, Oregon 97214

Come celebrate the holidays with us!

RSVP on Upcoming.


Feel free to contact me for more information on all of these events. Thanks to Yahoo’s! Upcoming, PNCA, Twitter, and Calagator for events. See you soon!

Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist from Portland, Oregon. You can follow her on Twitter @caseorganic.

pdXPLORE #2 Transcript | In the Round: Collective Leadership

We have a vision for 1 million new people moving into this city. How does design thinking work into this process? What are our hopes and dreams for Portland, and how can we build our city to realize them?

“In the Round: Collective Leadership” was the title of PDXplore #2, part of PNCA’s ongoing Idea Studios. From 6-9 Pm on July 22nd, some of the most active members of Portland’s community attended what would be an important first step in creating a lasting dialog for the intentional and mindful development of Portland’s maturing land and cityscapes.

The panel featured 10 members mayor-elect Sam Adams, Metro president David Bragdon, Hillsboro mayor Tom Hughes, Portland planning director Gil Kelley, and City of Gresham executive manager Alice Rouyere”.

The purpose of the panel was to bring clarity to the relationship between planning and design, while making the needs of a growing population known to important civic leadership. The idea was create a safe space for Elected Officials and Designers to speak about the challenges facing Portland and their vision for the future.

Continue reading

PDXplore Transcript – Urban Planners on the DNA of Portland

Event Notes: PDXplore  – Event Recap
When: Tuesday, July 8, 2008, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: PNCA, 1241 NW Johnson Street
View Event Details on Upcoming and PNCA News.

I just attended an mind-blowing event called “PDXplore” at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Five outstanding architects and urban planners presented their visions and philosophies on the future of Portland while surrounded by a body of their own work. Diagrams, schematics, and urban plans covered the walls of the college, and before the event, the audience had a chance to view, discuss, and explore the architect’s work. Bram Pitoyo was also sitting next to me and captured the event in his usual lucid, detailed manner. His review is here.

If you get a chance, check out the massive print-out of Portland and surrounding areas lining the entire main floor of PNCA. It’ll make like you’re flyng over a landscape infinitely larger than the view any mortal computer screen could ever offer the eye.

I tried to capture the essence of the entire event, and if I failed in any way, please let me know via Twitter, comment, or E-mail.

PDXplore is the first in a series of Architecture panels on the future of the City of Portland. PDXplore #2 occurs on July 22nd, 2008 from 6-9Pm at PNCA. The theme is “Collective Leaderships” and it features mayor-elect Sam Adams, Metro president David Bragdon, Hillsboro mayor Tom Hughes, Portland planning director Gil Kelley, and City of Gresham executive manager Alice Rouyere. RSVP for this event on Yahoo’s Upcoming.

There were five speakers, each were given exactly eight minutes to speak:

Speaker 1. Carol Mayer-Reed, a founding principal of landscape architecture firm Mayer-Reed. She is currently Exploring the larger context of the region in respect to the othe rmajor cities of the rest of the coast

Speaker 2. Rudy Barton, architecture professor at Portland State and longtime chair of the school’s architecture department. He has 30 years of architectural experience as an urban designer and has worked in Jerusalem and Barcelona. He’s also the designer of Portland’s original downtown.

Speaker 3. Mike McCulloch, former head of the city’s Design Commission and a veteran architect. He has designed urban districts and campuses.

Speaker 4. William Tripp, another venerable architect, studied in Finland (a magical place known for its brilliant minimalism and attention to natural processes).

Speaker 5. Rick Potestio, a native Portlander, and one of the city’s most talented architects.

:FIRST SPEAKER | Carol Mayer-Reed:

I’d like to talk about the DNA of Portland. More specifically, why do people live here, and why do people want to move here? This is what I call left coast, right brain. We need to use our right brains to plan our future.

Someone once wrote that, compared to the other cities on the West coast, “Portland is more about small discoveries than spectacular landmarks”.

Over the years Portland has a new and emerging view of itself. Portland now has enough self-esteem to come forward and encourage this type of comparison.

Now many from those other cities on the West Coast are moving here.

Out of 50 US cities, PDX, Seattle, and San Francisco rank high on the vectors of high connectedness and transit, and we have a 21% rate of growth.

Portland also supports collective shared values and sensibilities, and with these shared values and openness comes creativity.

We have rituals unique to Portland; we have farmer’s markets and block parties, bike rides and food carts that colonize our parking lots.

But can we retain these interesting characteristics as we grow, and can we continue to attract people with the same shared values and sensibilities?

Everywhere we look we have green surroundings. Our rivers have meaning; they both divide and connect us.
We’d love to bury Interstate 5 and join it to the east side.

Can we build truly green waterfronts on both riverbanks?

We have to be mindful against poor legislation creeping onto the ballot.

We have a reputation for being green in the US but we’re still a long way from European cities.

You don’t have to necessarily leave the city to access green spaces and places of recreation.

We need more work in linking parks and green spaces.

We redesign ourselves, but we don’t necessarily redevelop ourselves.

Words like quiet elegance, authenticity, and lack of pretence come to mind.

On the optimistic notion that one can make a difference:
Portland tops SF and Seattle in public voting and involvement.

We need to engage the voices. That’s what PDXplore is all about.

It has been demonstrated that periods of crises and questioning are the best opportunities for positive social change.

Let’s not wait for a crises, lets go out ahead of it, and push for more engagement in our public spaces

Let’s let the dialogue continue.

:SECOND SPEAKER | Rudy Barton:

As my wife can attest, I have an ongoing love affair with cities. Cities excite me, and great cities really excite me.

I love to watch them wake them up in the morning, I love to watch them as they go about their days, and I love to watch them rest in the evening.

Rivers and waterfronts are keys to the greatest parts about cties.

There is friction and tension between natural and manmade sources
Changing transportation systems all try to prevent us from getting to the river.

I’ve been accused by my colleagues of ignoring the Columbia river.
But the Willamette and the Columbia are two completely different entities.
Compared to the Willamette, the Columbia is practically a stream.
It is sometimes a mile across in places.

“Raise your hand if you actually saw the river today”, McCulloch said.

The audience shifted in their seats, and about 75% of hands went up in the air.

“Now,” he said, “Raise your hand if you actually touched the Willamette River today”.

Not a hand was raised.

“The Willamette is the largest public space we have in the city, and as we begin to plan the city, we have to plan the role of the river and its engagement with the city.”

“I think it’s better for us in the long run if we confront our anxieties and begin to question what it is like to build next to the river, because the manmade can coexist with nature in places”.

“In urban design terms, Ross Island is a microcosm of the terms and conditions of what we’re going to have to confront in the future of the city’s intersection between the natural and the manmade world. We’re going to need a series of complex strategies to be able to deal with it”.

:THIRD SPEAKER | Mike McCulloch:

I wanted to talk about three things that happened to me that galvanized my participation with this.

What designers look for is a lot of things had stimulate their creativity, and then run some electric current through it and see what happens.

Jaime Lerner of Brazil had the idea that Portland could be as great a city as Curitba, Brazil if only it was courageous enough.

I was very lucky to be able to visit an architecture exhibit in Venice recently, and it was there that I realized that virtually every major city on the face of the earth is rethinking its structure, presence, and identity.

I spent 10 years one the design commission for the city, trying to help get the best projects into the city.

To me, it’s time to design something. It is time to take some dramatic steps to create what the city could be.

First of all, you have to understand how your city has been designed at the very smallest level.

I’ve tried, in my diagrams, to explain things in a way create a new of large concepts, sort of like a constellation map to understand the stars.

Because unless you understand it you can’t protect it.

Make sure you design. Make some mistakes, but make a human intervention to create things so that people understand them.

We need to list out three major areas:

1.    First, our cultural DNA.  Why are we here? What attracted us? How are we different from other cities? What’s the program? Who are we designing for?
2.    Second is the river and the ravines that the rivers have carved (we live in these ravines next to the river).
3.    Third is the urban growth boundary.

And then there’s number four; the room that’s created all of this.

To establish this diagram in the mind of a 4th grader, for them to carry on into the next generation.

I think of the city as a collage — you add to what’s already there.

In the 50’s we made the mistake of bulldozing everything, and then rebuilding. We can’t do that again.

We need to very carefully insert new buildings and new infrastructure into what’s already there.

If you’re thinking of moving to Montana because you think a million people are going to move here in the next few years, don’t. Instead, stay here, and design the city, so that you can keep it the way you want.

Because it’s possible to design the city to be the way we want it.

If planned correctly, the Central East Side could have the density that the West side has.

:FOURTH SPEAKER | William Tripp:

Portland is at a kind of turning point, and that turning point is a kind of issue of density.

There’s another kind of turning pint that Portland’s going to be living through — and that’s a city at the point of commerce that people come to, do their business, and then leave.

On of the challenges then, in making that shift, is to understand what makes a great city as a meaningful place to live.

It’s different to say that your home is your house, than to say that your city is your neighborhood.

Great cities are not defined by a collection of great buildings,

Great cities are communities of great people.

And what do people need to build and sustain communities?

They need a shared public space, the outdoor living rooms of the community.

Portland has a shortage of that kind of space.

It is not that we just need more public outdoor rooms, but that they need to be arranged in a meaningful way.

This brings us to the concept of “ritual space”. A wedding or a funeral takes place in a special type of space.

The a city is not a grid of private property to be developed as a means of raising private wealth, but a network of public space that all of us live in.

As you go about this exhibit, be looking for this community space.

What’s different about a design from an urban planner or a traffic engine?
Design is an intuitive creative act.
At the end of the day you have to make a mark on a piece of paper, you have to say, “It’s shaped like this”.

If you make choices about your garden a home you’re designing, you’re making choices about the “shape” of something.

The reason that design is so important is that design is the tool we use to integrate all of these forces that are otherwise irreconcilable.

To make these rooms at the largest scale to the smallest scale is to make a room and give it shape.

Please take away from this exhibit a new awareness of this exhibit… take away those unifying community spaces of the city that we use to call this place “home”.

:FIFTH SPEAKER | Rick Potestio:

What’s really at stake here? What are the opportunities that we have ahead of us?

We know that may people will be moving her in he future.
We need not to look at this as a problem, but something we need to embrace, and something we have the ability to direct.

We have the opportunity to decide how that investment will be directed.

Or will we be more and more reliant on practices that even now are becoming rapidly obsolete?

I know you all have noticed this Arial photograph of the city covering the ground of this space. It’s this setting that I’m most concerned about.

As a kid I grew up near council crest, and walked up to the top of that mountain and looked out over this green and verdant landscape as far as the eye could see.

And as I grew older i got a bike and took it out further and further, each time discovering more and more how truly unique each space was.

Cities tend to develop at an optimum point, where the rivers and forests and mountains are closest together. It is at this spot that we are now churning under.

We have some of the most spectacular land of anywhere in the world. It is our Eden.

This Eden is what I think is at stake, which is why I and my team have delved into this project.

There is this idea of density influencing the quality of life, as if somehow those have become fused, like an equation.

But it’s not like an equation, it is more like a story problem; a story problem that involves theorems and an understanding of things that can’t be completely proven but that we can somehow intuitively understand.

“Can we fit all half a million people in the confines of what we’ve defined as the city without sacrificing what we already have? Can we do that while also building more into it? While also being able to build better communities with solar panels and community gardens?” If we can make these things, we have a chance at living up to the idea of the city as

“Our time is now — this is our defining moment. She (mother nature) who watches is really wondering “what will we do with this time (that we have)?” ”.




Host: so you’re really laid out a very large vision…it’s not about 5, 10, or 25-year plans, but a challenge for us to think about a city in terms of thinking about a forest.

Host: What are the other exemplary cities around the world you think have done exemplary work that you think have built on these  visions?

Barton: It’s about littering every neighborhood in he city with all sorts of public improvements.

McCulloch: one other think is important to look at with other cities is the political structure that leads to that city’s building as well.
well, singapore is great! but their govenrment knows everything, so the city’s going to be just as structured as well.

Tripp. Designers speak in this strange language. we make diagrams…and no one can understand them”.
He pointed to a man named David in the audience and made him stand up. “But David,” he said, “was able to take these rather abstract ideas and create stories out of them”. Meaning accessible to people who were not architects.




Q: I noticed that there weren’t any cars populating the designs that were up on the wall. Are cars inherently the enemy of good design?

Potestio: It’s easy to bash on cars. I don’t think they’re going to go away anytime soon. I think that cars have destroyed urban design and our communities as well. They’ve made us a lot more isolated as well.

We can only get that community back by taking a bike ride.

Mayer-Reed: One of the things I noticed about Portland is that we don’t immediately honk at someone when they don’t go immediately at a green light. We let them have a minute. We’re not like other cities in this respect.

If you ask a retailer, they want a busy street outside their door, because it means business.

(Author’s note: In an increasingly digital world, retailers can substitute digital traffic for analog traffic. This takes up less time and less space, allowing for a larger amount of public space with less cars).

Tripp: There is a different between designing open plazas for people that allow cars to go into instead of designing streets for cars that you also allow people to go into. It is a matter of priority.

McCulloch: There is a kind of humility in the way that people design things in this city. One does not takes an investor’s money and go and build the latest, shiniest thing out there. We look down upon that as a community. I think some of our building plans are worthy of recognition (in that respect).

Potestio: There’s the idea of the architect and the ego, and then there is the design that comes from when the designer’s work is generated from a thorough understanding of the problem. Or if the work is an opportunity to show off an idea.

When we think of the great cities, like Florence and Amsterdam, we don’t think of a collection of buildings. We think of a cohesive entity. These cities become contexts that then become admired, respected, and revered throughout history.

Tripp: If you think about it as your own house. You don’t assign a designer to create your house with a different idea in mind for each room — the rooms combine to make the entire house — societies are the same in this way. When you think about Rome you don’t think about this building and that building and this building — you think about the city as a whole.

Understanding Portland is understanding the layers of meaning that are at work in the whole city and then make those meanings visual.

If a building is out of synch with the DNA that is fundamental for the city’s functioning, it won’t be absorbed into the bloodstream of the city. (It’s like transposing type A blood into a B patient).

Harmony has to do with how the forces of the city work through that building.

What are those forces and those alignments of the city that are correct for that building?

Those alignments that cross purposes with our future need to be changed and repurposed. To change those patterns, is to express new lines of change in our city. This takes transforming research into art.

Barton: We want to move our discussion away from the designs of buidlings to the spaces between those buildings.

Audience Member: Why give your kids a big back yard, when you can give them an entire city?”

Potestio: A lot of building design kindles a fear factor; a kind of reluctance to want to know our neighbor. A lot of green spaces are closed off to the tenents of the property who live there. It’s a kind of in-between inaccessible space (often decorative).

Mayer-Reed: I find it interesting that retail centers now imitate small downtowns.

Tripp: I think primarily the role of art is to ask us to look at things in different ways. I think art is like breathing.

Potestio then pointed to a blue piece of plastic hanging down from the ceiling, That object is a proposal for a website tool for urban planning”, he said, “we now have these tautological tools now that allow us to create vast amounts of information. The problem then becomes processing that information.

And then there is making sure that each project
draws three blocks in every direction.
When people look at things in this way,
they find themselves discovering new things they haven’t noticed before.

Tripp: What do you do if someone proposes an idea? How does it get discussed? How does it get published? Imagine a kind of room or a kind of space where we can have a more permanent conversation, with monthly exhibits. Not as the kind of event that happens every few months, and not as an event where someone has a great idea, and then it hits the newspapers and is gone.

Potestio: We tend to think of our streets as places that carry us to other places. These streets should really be offering us a very high degree of connectivity”.

Tripp: You don’t prune a tree for the shape. You prune a tree because you know that the part that you prune will turn into a branch. You prune in advance of where it’s going to grow. It is the same in planning a city. We’re all designing a city that we’re never going to see. If you have a clear picture about the future of your city, then it evolves, and it’s not a big deal. It’s not a catastrophe.

The city’s going to grow, no matter if we prune it or not. that’s why the analogy of the fruit tree is wonderful. There are existing patterns that are just going to grow. If you don’t prune a fruit tree, it’s still going to grow.

Thanks to all of the speakers and sponsors who made this event possible, especially PNCA, GBD Architects and Design within Reach.

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Jaime Lerner was elected as mayor of Curitiba three times, and then was elected as govoner of Parana two times. A five-time period of public service, and yet he was an architect and urban planner.