I attended the launch of a new book - or rather, a collection of "cahiers" - called Action Design for Urban Futures, written by Ben Schouten and many other contributors. It is intended to form a Civic Empowerment Toolbox to help local movements organize activities to improve their neighborhoods and collective personal environment. It is targeted towards future designers, scholars, and policymakers, but also - and perhaps especially - those who are initiating these kinds of changes, with a planning tool to jump-start their civic initiatives. The planning tool is a matrix covering aspects of empowerment on one axis (mobilization, organization, operation) and societal levels of influence (individual, collective, institution). Previous initiatives are evaluated to gain learnings. The most actionable part is a game-like canvas to explore all these aspects together.
It is definitely an interesting toolkit. In the end, it is probably more useful for the professionals involved in bottom-up initiatives. I will look into it more deeply as part of our initiatives connected to neighborhood-driven design for the Cities of Things.
In the meantime, we have started the development of (software) tooling for the STRCTRL method and language. Working on the prototype and preparing for the next iterations will be the focus for the coming months.
Events in the Coming Week: What to Do and See? For those who are not following me on Instagram, there is a nice hidden gem in the old Foodcenter Amsterdam we explored; Markt Centraal is organizing evenings and lunches in the central market building that is worth a visit if you are curious about the heritage (like an original Keith Haring piece on the old Cooling Building) and nice food.
The more regular tips:
Tonite, Design for Planet is happening again in London and online, with a lovely line-up.
On with the news from last week. I captured too many things, but this is a selection.
To close as always, signaling of an interesting academic paper. This week I like to share a paper that was mentioned in the post of Matt on Corporate Insecthood. An intriguing exploration: Here, we examine whether, and in what ways, ordinary citizens conceptualize the corporation as a person. We present evidence that corporations are anthropomorphized, but only to a certain degree. Compared with other entities, the average corporation is considered about as similar to a person as an ant. Corporations differ in the extent to which people are willing to grant them personhood however, and this pattern is predicted by how salient the organization's mental and moral traits are.