Making Friends has been accepted for a tech-focused London conference on ethnography and business. This poster is a mash-up of real-time research, storytelling, and prank. Making Friends tests the boundaries of inter-species friendship while risking rejection and misunderstanding.
I am struck by how poorly maintained and under-used many of the residential neighborhood parks are. This one, close to where I live, is large, has many mature trees facing the street, and has almost no usage. To call it uninviting and unloved would be an understatement.
The street side is almost promising. There is a long row of mature trees and a community bulletin board. Next to the bulletin board, and also on the far end of the park, are designated areas to leave your trash. Unfortunately, there is no receptacle for the bagged garbage, so crows and cats pick through the bags and the contents start to disperse.
The entrance to the park reveals vast areas of gravel, unplanted beds, and few amenities or attractions. The size of the park only underscores the waste of so much public space going unused. Given how avidly neighbors tend to their tiny gardens and occupy small strips of public space, why are local governments unable to harness this human resource for beautifying and maintaining public space?
I can imagine many other uses for the park: community vegetable gardens, flower contests, rice field, bee hives, food stand, children’s play area, public art-making space. Given limits to local government budgets, maybe there would be a way to attract corporate sponsors and neighborhood volunteers. If more people were attracted to enter the park, I am sure it would be cleaner and more inviting.
After the jump is a photo inventory of the current park assets, mostly aging structures with a surprising amount of trash. During my visit I noticed a small garden crew and two people on a bench.
More than three months into my Council on Foreign Relations Hitachi International Affairs Fellowship, I am astounded by the wide range of activities it has allowed me to participate.
In the past week alone, I met Japan’s most prominent scenario-planning business consultant, Nishimura Michinari of Greenfield Consulting, attended a Japan Initiative forum featuring new Diet members with a prominent design and communication leader, met the former Patagonia Japan president who is now promoting permaculture, heard a lecture about net-native nation from Amazon Japan’s director of public policy, met a Sophia University anthropology professor, was interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle‘s transportation reporter, attended the monthly Pecha Kucha design forum, and visited the Innovation Lab at Hakuhodo, one of Japan’s largest advertising agencies and one of the most beautiful offices I have ever visited.
I realize what a unique opportunity this fellowship is, and am very grateful to my sponsors and the open-minded Japanese who have been very patient with my Japanese and generous with their time.
Hitachi’s Javelin train began UK high speed rail’s first domestic service last week. The trains travel at 225 kph between Kent and London using the under-utilized tracks built for the Eurostar Chunnel trains to Paris and Brussels. Travel time will be cut in half.
It is a great first step for Britain’s domestic high speed rail program, and welcome news for my fellowship sponsor Hitachi. Perhaps more Britains will become enthusiastic about high speed rail with this launch. And maybe it will influence its former colonies, including the United States, which is even further behind in high speed rail.
Hitachi’s environmental technologies include high speed rail, smart grids and wind power.