Shaking the dust of the city off my weary bones, I'm off to an isolated corner of Devon, so there'll be no updates for a bit. See you in a week or so.
OK, I tried to move quicker than the Web could move and failed again. Sigh.
a) I could finish building the new place at TypePad i.e. all my posts needed their images putting back in, bit by bit, many links fixing etc. ... Things still won't work in general! Bear with me - I'm currently sorting the archives at the rate of one month's worth per night. I'm up to April 2003 working backwards!
b) I got the categories sorted (as much as categories ever can be) and a new design in place perhaps (though that can wait - this one works, which is an advantage on the old one).
c) The domain mapping that TypePad hope to have in place in September (perhaps) is done, so that I can point cityofsound.com back at at.
d) I could sort out a new email address. The old one got spammed to death anyway.
e) Er, that's it.
f) Oh, and my hosting at Verio disappeared much quicker and more efficiently than anything they've ever done for me before, typically, so I got caught on the hop somewhat.
Mea culpa. Sorry sorry sorry.
Obviously, I've also lost 2 years worth of google placement via a load of broken links now. More importantly, that means many of your sites may have some broken links on them. I apologise for those wholeheartedly - hence me wanting the domain name to be back, to help just a bit with redirects etc. perhaps. Am fully aware that I've broken one of the Web's rules - moving URIs - but I couldn't see an alternative. I'll try to make it up to you with some useful summary links - the categories headers, such as this one, might do that.
It's frustrating that TypePad renames links - they are more friendly in the new format, but I've lost all those links, and so have you. Sorry again ... but, er, welcome back I guess.
Bear with me if I disappear temporarily shortly. I'm switching my hosting away from Verio. No doubt something will go wrong, and I'll disappear for a bit. And also, all the usual apologies if you sent me an email in the last 3 weeks - I haven't been checking. Really sorry. Telewest have been pretty bad in terms of getting me online at new pad thus far. They actually had to close down Gower Street to get cable into my flat. Wires! There must be a better way!
Blogs are strange things: when you're feeling good and therefore writing, it's the proverbial outboard brain; when you're not and therefore not writing, it becomes a source of guilt ("Must-update-my-blog-with-something-good"). In short, I feel I owe you, and my blog, an apology. I've been more or less absent from these pages for a couple of months now, as some have noticed.
Basically, I started a new job at the BBC in February which has taken a vast amount of time and energy - almost like a startup phase. I'm now responsible for the tech and design across all the BBC's Radio & Music sites; which means I'm responsible for trying to weld the vagaries of XP and Scrum to UCD to the opportunities afforded by RSS or XSLT, say. Whilst trying to revamp the Radio Player (more soon!), say, and instigate some blue-sky thinking time, some coherent multidisciplinary experience design project management processes, advocate user research, and solve some little local difficulties with bureacracy (in the bad sense of the word) - bringing new ways of thinking about a new medium to a division of the BBC which has been around, one way or another, since 1922.
Amongst other things. Which anyone who manages a team of any size will be familiar with.
I'm also trying to find a way of sticking close to products too; I'm a designer, for better for worse, and still think of myself as one - yet am struggling to find the time - and opportunity, without treading on toes I should be, er, nurturing - to actually design. (Nurturing toes? Jeez). Of course, design by proxy, via a team, is a fabulous thing when it works. And that's the stage I'm at, but I'd be intrigued to know if others felt this way about their work ...
Don't get me wrong - it's a fantastic job, I'm very lucky, and I'm enjoying it very much. And I aim to bring much of the development work back here, for public consumption or criticism ... However, as I work flat out, it's difficult to find as much time as I'd like for this. Folks will know I don't usually use this blog for personal matters, but folks will also know that personal matters affect everything nonetheless.
All this naval-gazing is merely an excuse to myself really, though. As somehow I have to figure out a way of achieving all of above whilst writing here, thinking here, responding to the brilliant people who mail me via this ... I'm horribly reminded of Clay's aside that blogging is a daily activity.
Anyway, just wanted contextualise the lack of input here a bit. Somehow I'll figure it out.
Thought of a terrible punning headlines for the previous post, but it didn't actually make any sense. So I canned it. But I wish I did have a piece to justify the headline:
These bots are made for walking
because I really like it. I guess that's what Unsupported Headlines was made for.
Similar to Matt's excellent new word, lifted from the mind-warping Doors experience ... Possidifficulty.
I made up a new word, walking around Amsterdam, spotting a couple of ill-judged apostrophes in vernacular signage. I'm susceptible to the badly-timed apostrophe myself, so feel well justified in announcing a name for this class of grammatical error, to be henceforth known as the Prepostrophe.
As Matt says, another dumb idea we had in Amsterdam:
Self explanatory, really. Go add your selections.
I've long wanted to make a site for showcasing 'ideas great enough to spend much time talking in the pub about, but too dumb to actually realise'. I guess I never will (unless ... perhaps ... this is it?).
JG Ballads is a good one. As is The Pub Stenographer, Luxury Motorway Service Stations, and Squirty Chips. Remember - you heard them here first.
Apologies for the lack of entries here recently. It's not that I'm not finding interesting things at the moment - far from it. I'm just deeply submerged in a particular work project until the 24th or so ... More to follow, particularly on new rationalism and adaptive design notes I posted before, and which people have been commenting on. Add your thoughts there, and I'll collate, summarise and follow-up, particularly with more context from How Buildings Learn and Emergence (aka in this household as 'How Cities Learn'). These are my main obsessions so far this year!
This is the personal site of Dan Hill [fuller biography below] The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of my employer. Please ask if you need clarification.
Some relevant starting points
Below, some popular or defining posts at cityofsound. They all tend to gravitate towards recurring themes of cities, architecture, design, media and culture—often colliding in the same post, say on the imagined connections between travel writing and design, or football and architecture—but here's an attempt at filing some starters discretely nonetheless.
Cities, Places and buildings
Biography for Dan Hill
British. Born Zürich, 1970. Based in London.
Dan Hill is an Associate Director at Arup, the global design and engineering firm. He is Head of Arup Digital Studio, a multidisciplinary team that helps clients design, build and deploy transformative digital technology across cities, spaces, infrastructure, buildings and organisations.
His previous leadership positions have produced innovative, influential teams and projects, ranging across built environment (Arup, Future Cities Catapult), education and research (Fabrica), government (Sitra), and media (BBC iPlayer, Monocle), each one transformed positively via new digital technology and a holistic approach to design. He has lived and worked in UK, Australia, Finland and Italy.
He started his career working on the urban regeneration of Manchester, and has subsequently worked on city strategy and urban development projects worldwide, including Barangaroo in Sydney, Masdar in Abu Dhabi, Low2No in Helsinki, Melbourne’s smart city strategy, and the design strategy for the State Library of Queensland, amongst many others.
Dan is an adjunct professor at RMIT University (Melbourne) in Design and Communication and also at UTS (Sydney) in Architecture, and has taught at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University of Sydney, Politecnico di Milano and many others. He is part of the online Masters degree in Design Futures at RMIT.
His design work has featured in UAE Museum of the Future, Dubai (2014, 2015), Istanbul De- sign Biennal (2012), “Habitar: Bending the urban frame” (Gijon, 2010), “Remodelling Architecture: Architectural Places — Digital Spaces” (Sydney, 2009), as well as being regularly featured in global media.
Published writing includes “Dark Matter & Trojan Horses: A Strategic Design Vocabulary” (Strelka Press, 2012), as well as numerous pieces for books, journals, magazines and websites. He has produced the groundbreaking and highly influential weblog City of Sound since 2001.
Dan Hill is an Associate Director at Arup, where he is head of Arup Digital Studio. A designer and urbanist, he has previously held leadership positions at Future Cities Catapult, Fabrica, SITRA, Arup and the BBC. He writes regularly for the likes of Dezeen, Domus, AD and Volume, as well as the renowned blog City of Sound.
Throughout a career focused on integrating design, technology, cities, media and people, Dan has been responsible for shaping many innovative, popular and critically acclaimed products, services, places, strategies and teams.
Before Arup, Dan was Executive Director of Futures at the UK's Future Cities Catapult (more details here.) Previously, he was CEO of Fabrica, a communications research centre and transdisciplinary studio based in Treviso, Italy, and part of the Benetton Group (more details here.)
Prior to this, he was Strategic Design Lead at Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund (see related post). He was part of Sitra's Strategic Design Unit, exploring how design might enable positive systemic change throughout society. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Architecture department at University Technology, Sydney (UTS) and in Design, Media and Communications at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). He was also a member of the Integrated Design Commission Advisory Board in South Australia.
From 2008-2011, Dan was Urban Informatics leader for Arup, assessing how real-time information changes the urban experience from a design-led perspective. He was also the leader for Arup’s global Foresight + Innovation team for the Australasia region, responsible for long-term scenario planning and strategy. He developed strategic design work at Arup, using design practice to help clients in government and business address complex interdependent issues, helping frame the right questions. Based in Sydney, Dan worked on major urban and building projects worldwide.
Before Arup, Dan was Head of Interactive Technology & Design at the BBC in London, where he helped lead design across their award-winning websites as well as conducting significant strategic work, re-thinking the organisation for the on-demand age. He was design lead for iPlayer, and his team introduced podcasting to the BBC, amongst numerous other innovative services. In between the BBC and Arup, Dan worked for Monocle where as Director of Web and Broadcast he was a core part of the startup team. Dan is one of the organisers of the acclaimed architecture and urbanism event Postopolis!, running in New York and Los Angeles so far. He also writes City of Sound, generally thought of as one of the leading architecture and urbanism websites, as well as regularly writing for architecture and design press worldwide.
Dan is also a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which selects nominees and winners for the Webby Awards, the leading honour for websites, as well as being a jury member for both Core77 and IxDA interaction awards in 2012. He was included in the inaugural list of Sydney’s ‘Creative Catalysts’ for the Vivid Sydney arts festival 2009.
Books and essays include "Dark Matter & Trojan Horses: A Strategic Design Vocabulary" (Strelka Press, 2012), "Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space", Mark Shepard (ed.) (2011), "Best of Technology Writing 2009", Steven Berlin Johnson (ed.) (Yale University Press, 2010), and "Actions", Mirko Zardini (ed., 2008), amongst others. His writing also appears regularly in Domus' magazine, amongst others, where he curates the SuperNormal series. He is also a strategic design advisor to Domus.
His design work has featured in the Istanbul Design Biennal (2012), the AAA exhibition 'Remodelling Architecture: Architectural Places - Digital Spaces' (Sydney, 2009) and 'Habitar: Bending the urban frame' (Gijon, 2010).
Presentations and events
Publications and published work
Bruce Sterling: The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things
Saku Toiminen and Pekka Pohjakallio: The Workbook: Redesigning 925
Some useful thoughts/insights, but needed another edit, another iteration. (***)
Sean Lally: The Air from Other Planets: A Brief History of Architecture to Come
Currently reading (*****)
Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg: Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology's Designs on Nature
Currently reading (*****)
John Lanchester: What We Talk About When We Talk about the Tube: The District Line (Penguin Underground Lines)
A great book to read if you happen to be returning to London after seven years away. And a great book to read if you're not. (*****)
Stephen Emmott: Ten Billion
Scariest book I've ever read (and I read all those Stephen King books as an impressionable teenager.) Blunt assessment of our chances as a species. (*****)
Dave Eggers: The Circle
Interesting to read just before Shteyngart—it's not quite as imaginative or sharp as 'Super Sad True Love Story' but more plausible, worryingly. (****)
Gary Shteyngart: Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel
Finally got around to this, years after Justin McGuirk recommended to me. Witty, vivid and scary satire. (*****)
Daniel Brook: A History of Future Cities
Lovely idea for a book—connecting Dubai, Mumbai, St. Petersburg, Shanghai—as cities of the future (and of the East.) (****)
Martti Kalliala, with Tuomas Toivonen and Jenna Sutela: Solution 239 - 246: Finland - The Welfare Game
Lovely little Sternberg Press book speculating imaginatively on possible future Finlands and so generating deep insight into today's Finland. (*****)
Michael Frayn: Skios: A Novel
Enjoyable, and very funny in places. (***)
David Lodge: The Campus Trilogy: Changing Places; Small World; Nice Work
Great fun, and actually fascinating as a document of the time, and often prescient indication of what was to follow. But primarily, great fun. (*****)
Ken Kalfus: Equilateral: A Novel
A wonderful, wonderful small book. As deep as the night sky is vast, yet also humourous and accessible. (*****)
Warren Ellis: Gun Machine
Hugely enjoyable police procedural set in several alternate New Yorks. (****)
Natalini: Superstudio: The Middelburg Lectures
Some choice excerpts in here. (****)
Alex Coles: The Transdisciplinary Studio
Invaluable research, and smartly-written. (*****)
Roger Crowley: City of Fortune
Traditional history book, but a good one. The stories are so good, it can hardly fail. (****)
Geoff Dyer: Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room
(Still reading, but...) Dyer—in my top five, fwiw—does a kind of written (non-Director's) commentary through every scene of Tarkovsky's "Stalker". Absolutely hilarious, with sudden blooms of insight. (*****)
Dan Hill: Dark Matter and Trojan Horses: A Strategic Design Vocabulary
By me! An e-book on design practice, with a strategic bent. Read all about it here, and buy the thing here.