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Weeknote 207 + 208

We launched Urbanflow Helsinki website, made it to Computer Arts magazine and met some elders.

by Teppo Kotirinta Principal Designer

Categories Weeknotes

Oopsie, two weeks passed since last weeknote, but such is life. Instead in the meantime there was a blog post about the newly opened Urbanflow Helsinki website. Urbanflow, as you might know, is a joint effort of Nordkapp and Urbanscale. Together we envision an operating system for cities.

If you’ve somehow managed to miss this, you should really checkout:

It’s great seeing this thing progress and evolve so fast. I can’t believe it’s only been a year and a half from my first original public Urban Screens presentation at a Forum Virium event.

Urbanflow also gained some nice attention in the very cool Picnic conference in Amsterdam. Among other things, the day/night map styles of Urbanflow were mentioned as “best practices” examples of such maps.

The future of this looks bright.

Nordkapp in Computer Arts

Everyone’s favorite designer magazine Computer Arts featured bits and pieces of Nordkapp design and design wisdom in their September 2011 episode of Computer Arts Projects.

You can get this historical (for us) magazine also digitally from the Computer Arts online shop. I’d recommend using the Zinio app on any mobile platform for purchasing and reading digital magazines, also this one.

If you’re drifty, you can have a peak at the magazine.

Getting Ready to Help Seniors

The senior people are something we designers should start thinking more about real soon. At least here in Finland the relative amount of people retired from work life will skyrocket during the next 5 years. This means many things for the economy, structuring of work and the system called Finland as a whole. Seniors need all kinds of new services and devices to support their daily lives in this near future scenario, where a huge after-the-wars-children generation retires, and there’s not enough young people to take personal care of them. Or even enough tax revenue (from that smaller active young workforce), to hire foreigners to come in and help, like the unrealistic (?) plan seems to be. Therefore we need to be clever about supporting the seniors by giving them more with less.

Perhaps interactive services and larger redesign of the whole scenario would help. To see how seniors live their daily life in a retirement home, Tia, Kate and Matti went to visit them.

They took photos of everything, strolled around and interviewed grannies and grandpas and identified things that could be tweaked. There was so much that could be improved with just simple physical things like signage. Also utilizing professional interior design would help make the quite sterile hospital like atmospheres feel much more home-like, inviting and enable better living together. In fact, that’s why our interior design sister company Lillehammer was visiting the place with our guys.

Obviously the digital domain is where we excel, and our guys found a lot of opportunities for digital based services that would have immediate effect on the life quality and wellbeing of our respected elders. This is a dream case for social design, as this is the only age group that actually doesn’t have to go to work or school — they can just be social! And within few years everybody of them will have used computers at work for decades before retiring, so there’s no technological barrier to do anything either. Everything’s possible. Hopefully we’ll publish more of this thinking at some point.

We know that governmental programs and grants for creation this kind of services exist, but if the standard success rate of these large scale projects continues as they always seem to, I’m afraid there will be too little good stuff, too late. Perhaps it would be best to just take baby steps?

Baby on the way

The production of the next generation of Nordkappers is underway again. My second baby should do a touchdown within days (or weeks). When this happens I’ll take a few weeks off. This might, or might not, lead to a small cap in the flow of weeknotes, but I’m sure you weren’t holding your breath anyway. :)

See you soon or a little bit later.

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