Pedestrians crossing in NY

The advent of computer-controlled traffic signals make the walk buttons at pedestrian crossings on heavily trafficked streets obsolete. By the late 1980s, most (but not all) walk buttons in New York City have been deactivated yet people push them anyhow, either in ignorance, out of habit, or in the off chance the buttons did work.

Many large office buildings also have dummy thermostats to give office workers the illusion of control. Some even go as far as installing white-noise generators to mimic the hum of fans after the HVAC system is shut off.

The same goes for the close button in elevators. Most elevators built or installed since the early 1990s don’t have close buttons that work, unless you have a fireman’s key. People do push them anyhow, because the fact that the door eventually closes reinforces their belief that the button works.

source :


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Because Barbra Streisand says so, let’s make it in NYC.

After New York, New York by Sinatra, Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, here’s another song about New York City, the place to be.

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Check this out Infographics – Cool Stuff!

It’s a “graphical exploration of the data that surrounds us”. Kind of what we want to do. Great maps + more

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“Brooklyn Googler Alexander Chen  built this cool, melodic web page that represents New York subway lines as ever-growing strings that are “plucked” by intersecting trains. Best of all, it’s built off a live feed of actual train data.

Chen created by mashing up MTA’s public API with some clever Javascript, vector graphics (SVG), HTML5 and a dash of Flash, according to a post on his blog. Layered on top of this technical achivement are some pleasing artistic decisions: The passage of time accelerates, so you can easily watch a 24-hour train cycle; ghost trains on long-discontinued lines slip by in the middle of the night; and longer train lines make lower notes when “plucked” than short ones, mimicking a real stringed instrument. Having arrived from Sweden this past December, Chen has come up with a remarkably ingratiating ode to his new hometown. Let’s see if future versions — the ones that come out after the Gotham innocent gets more time underground — stay so precious.”

nyc subway lines as musical strings

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Data Visualization

Check ‘em:

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Hyde Park Art Center + Low Rez/Hi Fi

A couple of things I was reminded of after reading Townsend’s “Digitally Mediated Urban Space”:

1) Hyde Park Art Center (Garofalo Architects) [go to “work” > right-most icon for “cultural”]

The facade uses a system of digital projection screens, scrims, and shades for electronic art on display to those in and outside the building.







2) Low Rez/Hi Fi (MY Studio/Howeler + Yoon)

– Amy

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Aurora project [future cities lab]

from class — an example of “mapping” the polar ice cap

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