Digital Fabrication: 3D Printed Glass

Caustic patterns of a 3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

Caustic patterns of a 3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

By utilizing digital fabrication, a designer is no longer limited to one type of medium. For example, a designer can create beautifully intricate jewelry without being a trained metalsmith. The MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter group  has collaborated with colleagues in the MIT Glass Lab to develop a way to 3D print molten glass. The resulting vases, fixtures, and sculptures are mathematically perfect, bearing no marks of human error. A mesmerizing video of the process is part of the virtual exhibition highlighting the work.

Source: Colossal

Brazil Enslaved: A Photographic Archive

Slavery in Brazil ended in 1888, and an expansive body of photographs was left behind documenting the lives of enslaved Africans in colonial Brazil. Lourdes Garcia–Navarro has been researching these images in the Moreira Salles Institute, which provide insight into the lives of slaves and the roles they were forced to play in the 19th century society and economy. Additionally, Garcia–Navarro has found significant evidence linking present-day demographics and societal class distinctions of domestic workers to their roots in the culture and power structures of slavery.


Source: NPR

Nail Houses and Holdouts


CityLabs’s collection of photos and histories of Chinese nail houses reveals the stark physical manifestation of resistance to urban transformation. A nail house or in the United States a holdout are the homes of owners that don’t sell to make way for development. These owners are often revered as modern day folk heroes or dismissed as fools fighting the impossible beast of change. For the United States the most iconic holdout of the 21st century is Edith Macefield of Seattle, the detailed story of her holdout has been turned into a fascinating episode of 99% invisible and can be listened to here.

Source: CityLab

Visualizing the Racial Divide

Jim Vallandingham uses his background in software development and data visualization to create maps of the most segregated cities in the United States. His project, titled Visualizing the Racial Divide, illustrates the fracturing of cities along these deeply entrenched racial boundaries. Through animation, Census tract data is unpacked in a very visceral way—cities appear to shatter apart with increasing force at points of the most drastic racial divisions. Below is a still from Vallandingham’s Chicago map animation.

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The Association of (Gay) Suburban People


Dr. Tim Retzloff‘s essay The Association of (Gay) Suburban People published by Places’ online journal builds off Retzloff’s previous research and publications on how the city and suburbia shaped gay and lesbian life and politics during post WWII metropolitan Detroit. The Association of (Gay) Suburban People chronicles the existence of  the Association of Suburban People (ASP) founded in the mid-1970s in suburban Detroit, during an era when it was assumed that gay culture and space only existed in urban areas.

The ASP was founded when informal spaces for gay men to gather in suburban Detroit became dangerous as the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department staged sting operations. Throughout ASP’s existence, ASP successfully queered suburban homes and co-opted dozens of public places for its own ends. APD had a mission “to recast the relationship of gays with suburbia.” Retzloff explains the mission and culture of ASP by quoting Michel de Certeau, ‘they escaped it without leaving it.’”

Source: Places

AARP Launches Neighborhood Livability Index


AARP has launched an online tool called Livability Index that is free and easy to navigate.  The tool scores the livability of neighborhoods based on seven categories: transportation, environment, health, civic and social engagement, and educational and employment opportunities. The weight of the categories can be adjusted to reflect one’s personal values and preference.

Although AARP is an NGO and interest group that primarily focus on the affairs of senior citizens, this tool is applicable  for people of all ages. Popular planning theory advocates that making a city that is livable for seniors and children benefits  all residents.

Source: Next City

And Then There Was One

Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China

Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China

“Holdouts” is the common term for individuals or parties who refuse or resist to accept what is offered. But what happens when a developer of a property has a single holdout standing in the way of their “progress”? In China, you build around it. The Atlantic has offered a compilation of images depicting extreme instances of such situations across China. Images of pre-planned communities surrounding the ruins of nearly demolished buildings, construction sites preparing to pour the concrete foundations around familial cemeteries, and vacant lots with one remaining inhabited holdout.

Source: The Atlantic

Co-op Businesses Offer Local Opportunity to Post-Disaster New Orleans


Next City profiles the cooperative business economy that has sprouted from disaster in New Orleans. New Orleans East has a large Vietnamese-American population that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina as well as the BP oil spill. Vietnamese-Americans’ homes and businesses were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill disproportionately hurt the Vietnamese-American community, since they make up a third of all shrimpers in New Orleans.

As the Vietnamese community was in crisis, the idea of VEGGI Farmer’s Cooperative was introduced as a way to revitalize their economy from within—to ensure existing residents directly benefit. The article details more cooperative movements in New Orleans and the most successful U.S. cooperatives that specifically aim to support distressed communities.

Source: Next City

Disappearance of Darkness

Darkroom, Building 3, Kodak Canada, Toronto, 2005 - Robert Burley

Darkroom, Building 3, Kodak Canada, Toronto, 2005 – Robert Burley

Photographer Robert Burley’s body of work titled Disappearance of Darkness documents the fall of both chemical darkrooms and the use of acetate film in the facilities of Kodak, Agfa, and Ilford. Burley’s images expose the “…rapid breakdown of a century-old industry, which embodied the medium’s material culture”.

Visit the Burley’s page to view the images.

Source: The Guardian

Not All American Adults Know How to Ride A Bike


Planners constantly recommend biking as a solution to a myriad of community issues, from  addressing public health concerns related to rising rates of obesity to decreasing traffic congestion by getting folks out of their cars and on bikes. These plans and recommendations rarely take into account the number of adults that don’t know how to ride a bike. DataLab has collected data on American adults who do not know how to ride bikes and how that population breaks down demographically.  The most revelatory statistic is that there are a greater number of adults in the United States do not know how to ride a bike than the number of adults that bike on a daily basis.

Source: FiveThirtyEight