Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars, a Traveling International Exhibition


One of the highlights of the 1939 World’s Fair was a massive exhibit called “Futurama,” created by General Motors. It promised that within twenty years the working man would live in a glorious future filled with friendly suburbs, gleaming skyscrapers, and extensive highways—all of this made possible by the comfort and convenience of the personal car.

More than 75 years later, most of us are living in the car-centric future prophesied at the World’s Fair, but it is not quite the utopia GM envisioned. Pollution, traffic congestion, and the looming end to fossil fuels leave us wondering: What comes next?

The international exhibition Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars offers fascinating answers to this question. Continue reading “Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars, a Traveling International Exhibition”

Get Outside: Comfort

I long to have a backyard of my own someday, I envision hammocks and a fire pit and string lights and planters and of course an epic BBQ for my boyfriend and I to entertain guests. As we look for houses I’m searching for the yard that can bring that vision to life. In the meantime though it helps to do your homework and find things that will turn a backyard into a comfortable haven. Here are a few items that got me started:

Happy Home Outside: Everyday Magic for Outdoor Life by Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau is a Happy Home Outsidewhimsical and colorful book. Beautiful pictures filled with nooks and hideaways where you can play with simple ideas to brighten up your outdoor space. From unique planters to colorful textiles like tablecloths and throw pillows. Mix and match odds and ends to update your BBQ or party space. Adorable storage solutions and easy DIY projects are found throughout. Just so much fun in one book! Continue reading “Get Outside: Comfort”

DIY: Hand-Lettering

The beautiful, hand-lettered chalk-board signs popping up everywhere have helped start a hand-lettering craze, with how-to and inspiration books in abundance. While creating a unique typographic style may seem daunting at first, the following books will help those new to hand-lettering overcome the idea that creating beautiful letters are only for professionals with fancy design programs. While leading design and typography professionals can offer beautiful examples of what we can do with letters and words, these books show that anyone can make typographic art with a little bit of patience and a lot of trial and error. Continue reading “DIY: Hand-Lettering”

Blurring boundaries: translating the digital to the book

With all the press lately about Kindle, the latest wireless reading device to take a stab at capturing the book reading market, it is interesting to see books traveling the other way, out of the ether and on to the printed page.

The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life by John Maedlaws_of_simplicity3.jpga an internationally respected graphic designer, visual artist and computer scientist with MIT’s Media Lab came out of his ongoing work, then ruminations on his blog, finally “simplified” onto the written page. It proposes ten laws of simplicity to consider in design, corporations, perhaps even for the person. Most interestingly is his goal to allow his thinking on his mission for simplicity in our increasingly complex world to evolve past the thinking captured in the book via his ongoing blog.

The physical book here acts as a slide or snapshot of a point in the intellectual process in a very immediate way.

We Are Smarter Than Me by Barry Libert & Jon Spector and thousands of other contributors evolved from a collaborative effort of we_are_smarter_than_we.jpgstudents, faculty and alumni of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as leaders, authors, and experts from the fields of management and technology, as a how-to-do-it manual for ways to implement web 2.0 sharing practices in realworld businesses. The generators continue to solicit input and create new work on their ideas via their website.

Once again the book freezes the frame, hits the print command and saves your work for the ages—as long as our libraries continue to collect and retain these artifacts of our communal learning. We are interested in knowing about other cross-fertilization efforts; please feel free to share what you run into on your travels, online and off-.