Monday, March 17, 2014

the narrow spaces of capitalism's private spaces

Molly Osberg’s recent essay, Inside the Barista Class, struck a cord as I left the service world not too long ago (though it feels forever ago.) Though written about New York, the piece is quite applicable to San Francisco as well, but it was a simple sentence that I almost missed toward the end that really captivated me. “While the framing of the third place may have been useful for Starbucks’ promotional materials, Oldenburg’s theory really didn’t account for the realities of capitalism: that private business creates narrow spaces.”

Narrow spaces. 

As a lover of design who is fascinated by ways to create community, Ray Oldenburg’s idea of ‘third places’ has stuck with my since freshman year of college. In a city like San Francisco, there are many places to socialize but few qualify as true third places according to Oldenburg’s definition because few are ‘levelers,’ open places without status barriers. Instead, the majority are narrow spaces. In a city with real estate as expensive as San Francisco, how can we move from narrow space to true third spaces?

Monday, March 3, 2014

giving inspiration a little room to grow

It can be damned near impossible to find the time to be innovative, even as a designer. Anything outside of a particular assignment falls to the wayside and not leaving enough process time for certain project means a result that falls flat. Given the difficulty for me to find time to think creatively or explore a new idea, it's easy to imagine the struggle that others whose 'full time job' isn't innovating have.

Google has long been credited for sparking innovation with their policy of giving employees a percentage of their workday to spend on any project they'd like. A recent Inc. article outlined why other businesses should do the same, "By letting your team do whatever they want, you’ll attract the best people with the best ideas. At the same time, the insights your employees gain through their creative projects will enhance their work on your organization’s core offerings."

Reading this story, I was reminded of a tweet I saw a while ago and favorited it to look into later: