Oct 30, 2009

recycle processes, education

dublin photo safari 2009 may

Photos: Recycling bay on Sandymount beach, Dublin, Ireland.

I bring my plastic and glass trash to this recycling bay every once in a while. It is ~450 meters from my home, and I usually walk/bike there. I haven't seen anyone else on foot/bike there ever, there are many people coming with cars though. Suboptimal.

I believe more people / everyone would recycle, if:
1) it was more convenient (e.g. closer to their home),
2) there was more clarity on 'what goes where', and also on 'what happens to it',
3) careful and thorough waste sorting was heavily incentivized.

re 1) the more people sort ALL their trash carefully, the more recycling bays are needed, therefore the average distance to the nearest bay drops drastically.

re 2) what is CLEAN? how clean is CLEAN? what is PLASTIC? there are hundreds of materials we call plastics. what is bottles and jars ONLY? what should I do with my broken clear glass mug? ... instructions must become more clear and exhaustive. also, understanding more in depth about what will happen to the collected trash, how it will be used, etc. can help more accurate sorting, and more broad adoption of the habit.

re 3) corporate income tax bands based on the recycled percentage of all their material output? residential waste collection fees drastically (50x) higher for unsorted trash? this could create a double tension that points in 100% sorting direction. of course, better tracking of a products lifecycle is needed to measure the performance of the system, and finding the weak links, bottlenecks on it for improvement.

Any best practices in your city?

dublin photo safari 2009 may

Oct 27, 2009

reality search via cctv video

dublin photo safari 2009 may

CCTV cameras are everywhere.

In cities like London, in central areas basically every spot is recorded 24/7 from multiple angles. Citizens of such cities might easily end up on 1000+ recordings on an average day.

Imagine if all this material was crawled and indexed with geo data and time-stamps. Imagine improved resolutions and advanced face-recognition applied. Then search engines could serve video results for queries like:

"What did I do on the 22nd, January 2003?" (e.g. useful when writing my autobiography)
"What happened between 13:34 and 13:41, yesterday, on the corner of X and Y, in London?" (e.g. to find the numberplate of the car that hit me on my bike and left).

Any other use cases come to your mind?

Of course such service would be highly controversial and attacked like nothing before.

Oct 22, 2009

litter capacity planning

dublin photo safari 2009 may

Photos: Overflowing trash bins on Sandymount beach, Dublin, Ireland, on a wonderful, sunny weekend day.

On a nice day, more people will turn up in the park by the beach then on an average day. More people bring more trash, and will want to leave it here. On a sunny day, the bins on the beach will overflow, and the wind will carry litter everywhere. Suboptimal.

How does the planning process look like, and what are the formulas for determining (1) trash bin capacities, (2) types (for recycling), (3) bin designs that suit the context, (4) bin emptying frequency. Are there any processes, formulas?

And once a system is in place, how is it monitored, what are the metrics that describe their performance? Where are the sensors?

In a city where dropping litter and living surrounded by it is still widely accepted, the costs for careful planning and sophisticated systems are still too high.

dublin photo safari 2009 may

Oct 16, 2009

winning people's trust

dublin photo safari 2009 may

Photos: European Parliament elections in Ireland, 2009 spring.

The various political marketing recipes on 'how to get this person to vote, and for me'. The need to build trust, and the methods to achieve that. A face, a name, a color.

The faces, that we use to read known and stranger others (at least the whole mammal world does that). The smiling but serious, the confident but caring, the leader who is also the 'hey, I am just one of you guys', the energetic but wrinkled. We are all looking for signs of wisdom, goodwill, trustworthiness. The thoughts, ideas, ideologies of the candidates are less important in this phase and channel, and are only represented by the party color of the name font/background.

In Ireland, these posters are printed on 8mm plastic boards to withstand the strong wind and frequent rain. They are attached to poles and fences in massive amounts (and then removed after the voting day). Imagine the resources invested, used, wasted. Consider the visual pollution the city has to endure for a lengthly period. The result?

The posters convey no information besides a face, name, color. But since all candidates have posters, noone dares to opt-out and have none. Would democracy, or the informedness of the public suffer, if posters were banned?

Why not force candidates to be creative, and force the public to think and actively inform itself by drastically limiting each candidate in their use of resources in a campaign. Banning the use of paper, plastic, metal, wood, etc. and limit the use of energy.

dublin photo safari 2009 may

dublin photo safari 2009 may

Oct 11, 2009

extended pride - obama in africa

obama in africa

Obama was born is Hawaii, but his father was from Kenya. Yet, when Obama became president of the US, the whole African continent was celebrating him, as a son of their own.

These photos capture the pride and support for Obama in Tanzania, early in 2009.

obama mania

Obama in Africa

Obama in Africa

Oct 7, 2009

nature-enabling urban design

stuff we don't do any more,but should

Photos: urban design that actively encourages nature's penetration of the city. taken in Dublin and Berlin.

nature enabling urban design

nature enabling design

Oct 3, 2009

effective message delivery

dublin photo safari 2009 may
Photo: danger sign on Sandymount beach, Dublin, Ireland

On this 2 km long beach stretch, there is this one single sign around the middle, near the shore. My estimate is that around 3% of all people visiting the beach (and going further in on the sand) meet this sign at all. And most won't read it anyway. The sign is not there to convey a warning (it could do a similarly efficient job at that just being buried under the sand). In a country, where the rule of law is strong, this sign is more designed for avoiding lawsuits then actually avoiding accidents.

Photos below: Sign by private people, enforced by none, obliged by some. VS. Rules set by authority, compliance 'incentivized'.

The situations where rules apply to you. With your knowledge, or without it. Even if you did all you could to find out about them, but failed. The situations where you comply, and where you don't (and count on getting away with it, or not even). The consequences, sometimes a fee penalty, sometimes a long scratch by a key on the car's door, a punctured tyre, or a broken side-mirror. Sometimes 'only' an angry, sad glance at you.

dublin photo safari 2009 may

dublin photo safari 2009 may