OC Model: A Vision for Orange County's Future

Blessed by a great climate and a highly skilled workforce, Orange County should be at the forefront of creating high wage jobs. The fact that it is not should be a worrying sign to the area’s business, academic, political and media leaders. Despite some signs of recovery in OC, long-term trends, such as a dependence on asset inflation and low wage employment, seem fundamentally incompatible with sustainable and enduring growth in the County.

To be sure, asset inflation benefits established property owners, and those who work in the real estate sector, but the surge in property prices and an ever increasing number of touristic venues does not provide enough of a viable base for coming generations. Given the area’s high costs — which can at best be mollified — the area’s prosperity depends on building up its cadre of well-paying high value jobs in promising fields as professional business services, technology and design-oriented cultural industries.

The good news: the county retains some strength in all these fields. But many long-term trends, as we will demonstrate below, are not encouraging. Once one of the nation’s most powerful high-end economies, the county is in danger of losing momentum to other markets.

Reversing this trend will require a more holistic assessment of current realities. It also requires a strong, coherent strategy targeted to high-wage growth sectors. Instead of the current obsession with real estate and tourism projects, the County needs to focus more on what professional business services, technology, finance and science-based companies need in order to succeed.

This necessitates a conscious effort, led by the business community, to develop a strategic direction for Orange County. There are a number of models to choose from, ranging from the most successful, Silicon Valley to greater Boston to the North Carolina Research Triangle, and many more. In each case, the growth from established university research centers — Stanford, MIT, Harvard, as well as the University of North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina state — extended from the university’s base to its periphery.

This strong cooperation among universities, government and the private sector is critical to the emerging tech and business service corridor developing between the Texas cities of Austin and San Antonio.

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Future of Suburbia: Report from Cambridge

In the United States, over 69 percent of all residents live in suburban areas. Across the globe many other developed countries are primarily suburban, while developing countries are increasingly suburbanizing. By 2050, an additional 2.7 billion people are anticipated to live in metropolitan regions around the world, and suburbs are a significant portion of this urban expansion. Over the past two years, 150 experts from numerous, diverse disciplines contributed research that explores this contemporary global phenomenon – and on April 1st their work was showcased at the MIT Media Lab for the Future of Suburbia conference.

The “Future of Suburbia” was chosen as MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism biennial theme in order to shed light on the growing role suburbs play in our lives and how they may be improved for the future.   Suburbia is an often polarizing issue that should no longer be ignored by the fields of Planning and Design.

The conference is just one of three products the Center for Advanced Urbanism created for its biennial research theme. An exhibition, located on the ground floor of the MIT Media Lab included infographic mappings, a 22ft x 8ft dynamic model of a 3 million population polycentric region in the year 2100, and aerial footage of global suburbs. The third product, a publication entitledInfinite Suburbia (Fall 2017), brings together 50+ authors and about 700 references, providing groundbreaking research on our low-density future.

Each of MIT’s five schools were represented at the conference, spanning twelve key fields. Attendees also included students from Harvard and Chapman University, and speakers in demographics, entrepreneurship, history, urban design and media production. The findings were presented within four design frameworks, including heterogeneous, productive, autonomous and experimental, which were explored through a variety of fields; including design, architecture, urban planning, history and demographics, policy, energy, mobility, health, environment, economics, and applied and future technologies.

The conference centered on the question, how might suburbia be upgraded to better suit our needs? Can new suburban models be created for developed, but also developing, countries? What challenges will suburbs face in the future? Despite such a large and complex topic, enlightening data, opinions and predictions were given regarding suburbs and their role in a sustainable future.

read the full article at newgeography.com

Net-Zero Energy Home Takes on Southern California Challenges

Elements from the California poppy will drive a sustainable future that feels like home

For the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition, over 15 collegiate teams competed to design energy-efficient, solar-powered houses.Team Orange County, an undergraduate coalition of four universities, took inspiration from nature and created a model home in the midst of a dry-spell and affordable housing crisis.

Called Casa Del Sol, the home embraces a passive solar design as well as the “resilient and diurnal characteristics of the California poppy.” This means that the home follows the patterns of the sun, adjusting to winter and summer months to facilitate more sunlight or create shade. It also includes a veranda equipped with a retractable sun roof and a brise soleil to automatically shield from windy seasons.

In addition to functioning like the flower, the home draws inspiration from other regional factors. Engineering student and project manager Alex McDonald tells PSFK, “The California Poppy is orange, the state flower, and thrives in SoCal. Being a team representing Orange County and the larger swath of SoCal, the Poppy worked in color, scale, and regional significance. Beyond that, the flower opens and closes to the sun and is drought-resistant; two design principals we embraced as our home makes best use of the sun path and associated cool ocean breezes to passively maintain resident comfort and minimize water consumption. And thus, Casa Del Sol, was born.”

read the full article at psfk.com

High-Fiving Karma Bot Spreads the Love At SXSW

A robotic creature that transforms social media posts into physical interaction

Love is in the air, and now it’s in robots. GIMI-5 by advertising agency RPA is a karma bot at SXSW Interactive that receives likes and mentions online and then turns that digital love into real-life high fives.

Everything about RPA’s bot is supposed to be happy, from the friendly hand slaps to the cuddly design, inspired by the likes of BB8, R2D2 and Eve from Wall-E. That ‘fuzzy feeling’ we experience after having one of our photos or posts liked online: GIMI-5 is just that, in physical form.

GIMI-5 was created to spread positivity at SXSW, a launching pad for many ideas and movements. People at the event can post a photo and share it on social media, and anybody online can like or share GIMI-5’s Facebook page to generate a high five. One post, like, or share = one high five.

Others have experimented with similar ideas: Coke’s ReTweets of Love campaign turned fans’ online posts about Diet Coke into works of art. And in general, the idea of evoking emotional connections with customers is proving to drive brand loyalty and differentiation.

read the full article at psfk.com

Diet Coke Taps Designers to Broaden Its Brand Engagement

Coke transforms social media posts into customized apparel, posters, and dogwear

To love to like, or to like to love a brandCoke hopes to have answered the question with its ReTweets of Love campaign. Select fans who expressed their love for Diet Coke via Twitter were surprised when their 140 character expressions weren’t just re-tweeted, but were returned to them as unique works of art.

As an extension of Coke’s Get a Taste Campaign, artists including Erik Marinovich, Marta Cerda Alimbau and Jeff Rogers designed over 50 gifts for lucky social media users, in a display of returning the love in a more meaningful way.

The products were inspired by the look and taste of Diet Coke, and are a creative extensions of the connections that the brand has with customers around the world.

Coke is in the business of “inspiring moments of optimism and happiness,” and ReTweets of Love inspires this feeling with its relevant and even quirky creations. So if love for a brand leads to brand loyalty, product evangelism and greater business, then this campaign represents just one way companies can foster this emotion.

Some will go great distances to reunite with their favorite beverage—some flip flops show Coke appreciates the effort.

read the full article at psfk.com

Alaska Airlines Reframes Its Historical Roots In Major Rebrand

Upon expanding into 90 new markets, Alaska Airlines uses design in a new way

For the first time in 25 years, Alaska Airlines has refreshed its brand identity: updating visuals such as signage, paint jobs, online platforms, uniforms, and milage plan materials. While part of the change was due to technicalities, it was also made to expose the company’s roots and communicate what lies at the heart of the business.

Alaska made it clear to PSFK that the only thing changing was its visual identity. Marianne Lindsey of media relations explained that all on-board products, including entertainment, Pacific Northwest-inspired cuisine, comfortable cabin and friendly customer service have been, and will continue to be, integral to the Alaska experience.

“We’ve had these things for some time now, but the new brand will showcase them—especially to flyers that are unfamiliar with Alaska and our growing route network, which includes the U.S., Mexico, Hawaii, Costa Rica.”

The two biggest visual changes for Alaska will be the design of the name and the iconic Eskimo that sits on the tail of the planes. The update wordmark features “clean lines and italics” that are meant to represent “performance and precision” that customers have come to identify with flying Alaska.

read the full article at psfk.com

Benetton Uses City Data to Create Racially Diverse Models

Clothing company's campaign creates portraits of the world's fashion capitals

The demographic makeup of cities is in constant flux, with immigration and globalization transforming business and social life. Benetton’s new campaign, The Face of the City, represents this trend, blending the cultures and ethnicities of six fashion capitals to create virtual models.

By using international and city specific census data, Benetton and agencyAmsterdam 180 were able to determine the racial and cultural proportions of Milan, London, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, and New York. After conducting research, models of representative races were photographed, and the images were compiled using an algorithm to create portraits that represented the blended demographics.

Fashions cities such as New York have been international magnets for their economic and creative opportunities, and history has painted a slightly different makeup for each. Milan’s international community is largely Filipino and Egyptian, New York’s is Hispanic and African American, and London’s is primarily Asian. The variety of each place can be seen in the models’ faces, yet each “combination” results in a shared beauty.

This type of “individualized connectedness” is an integral part of Benetton’s new Carnival Collection that’s set to debut in February. The line of apparel utilizes expertise in knitwear technology that integrates many shades of color into a single piece, and the ad campaign communicates this feature on a level greater than the company and its tools itself.

read the full article at psfk.com

Pepsi Serves Up an Experimental Lounge in the Heart of NYC

Events and artisanal food bring the soda giant into realm of immersive brand experiences

After years of sponsoring and promoting pop culture events, this spring Pepsi will finally be opening a venue of its own in New York City’s Meatpacking district. It’s called Kola House, and it’s a restaurant, bar, lounge and event space that will serve up refreshments and social experiences, with the hopes of creating some memories for to-go.

Central to the theme of the Kola House will be the kola nut, the fruit that once gave cola its caffeinated boost. The nut will now inspire experimental drinks and plate pairings at the venue. Top-notch and chefs will create the dishes, and so far mixologist Alex Ott is on board as Kola House’s resident cocktail curator.

At the flagship space at 408 W. 15th St., Live Nation will partner with Pepsi to produce the music series Live at the Kola House with known artists, and other arts, style, film and sports events will call the house home.

But there is also a modular element that will make its way around the country to host localized events. According to the stndrd, this past weekend the Kola House made its way to San Francisco for Superbowl 50 pre-party that included performances by Pharrell and Swizz Beatz, interactive art installations, and specialty drinks for the VIP guests.

Almost two decades ago, a HBR article introduced the idea of a growing “experience economy,” where businesses are in the art of designing and marketing engaging and interactive events, particularly centered around a core theme. The Hard Rock Cafe and The House of Blues are examples, whereby they use food as props to facilitate entertainment. r

read the full article at psfk.com

Why One University Made Fitbits Mandatory for Students

At 10,000 steps required a day, this student body will be a fit body

Starting this year, incoming students at Oral Roberts University are required to wear Fitbits and track at least 10,000 steps a day. At first thought the move is questionable, but further examination of the school’s strategy and the market signal a larger trend of emerging tech-integrated college experiences.

For students at Oral Roberts, the idea of logging activity data for course credit isn’t new. Since its founding in 1965, the university has maintained a fitness component as part of its “Whole Person Education,” and students have had to manually enter aerobics points in journals for course credit.

Now, info on number of steps taken and heart rate will be automatically transferred from students’ band to a learning management system calledBrightspace, where points will be added to the grade book. Students who don’t show physical progress will have to continue with physical education courses.

For many, the college experience is more than a time for intellectual exploration. It’s a time for personal growth and development, both physically and emotionally. Oral Roberts has striven to enrich the mind, body, and spirt, and fitness tracking is a logical extension of this mission.

While the university’s Fitbit policy may be the first of its kind, other experiments and programs have implemented wearables across other campuses. At the University of Missouri, for example, students with Fitbits can redeem prizes once they reach 1 million steps tracked. Staff and faculty can even get rebates on their Fitbits purchased on campus bookstores. At Harvard, professors have eventracked their steps to see if increased movement correlates with greater classroom discussion and output. 

read the full article at psfk.com