Tokyo Blues at Van Alen Books

Tokyo Blues is now available at Van Alen Books. Swing by and check it out, it’s a great bookstore. Here’s the address and opening hours:

30 West 22nd Street (between 5th & 6th Avenue)
New York, NY 10010

MON — SAT, 11AM — 7PM,

If you’re in San Francisco, William Stout Architectural Books still carries Tokyo Blues. (I’m sorry, Rare Device is sold out for now.)

804 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
Tues-Fri 10-6:30, Sat 10-5:30, Sun-Mon CLOSED.

William Stout Books
1605 Solano at Tacoma, Berkeley, CA 94707
Tues-Fri 11-7, Sat 12-7, Sun-Mon CLOSED.

Meanwhile, you can still get the book from our site as well!

Safety Maps on Fast Co Design

Sign Of The Times: Safety Maps Help You Plan For Catastrophe

by Tim Maly

Paper can still save your life, in a networked world.

Most of us live in places saturated with comms signals. We carry phones in our pockets and we’ve come to rely on them for coordinating our movements. As Clay Shirky points out, we’ve basically replaced planning with coordination. We don’t make plans, we say, “I’ll call you when I get there.” What happens when you can’t call?

Safety Maps is a service designed to help people make a plan for meeting up in the event of a emergency. When disaster strikes, communications networks are often knocked out of service or become saturated by people trying to get word of loved ones. When this happens, having a plan in place can be key to reunion.

Safety Maps is an initiative of Do projects, a flexible “platform for collaborative making” with a shifting roster of collaborators. » Read more: Safety Maps on Fast Co Design

Exhibition at Kallio Kunsthalle

On January 12th, 2012, starting at 18:00, there will be an opening at Kallio Kunsthalle in Helsinki, featuring Nurri Kim’s work Kaamos: Polar night. Please swing by if you happen to be in Helsinki.

The experience of a Finnish January is legendarily affected by Nordic light. Often it’s the hardest month to spend time there. Kaamos: Polar night is a project that Nurri did during the winter of 2010, asking women of her rough age group (from both Finland and elsewhere) their advice on surviving the Kaamos, and the winter in general. The work combines their portraits with brief, fortune-cookie-like excerpts from the wisdom they shared. For example “Ice-swimming at Uunissari!” or  ”Winter resets the mental, the state of mind.” and many others.

Kallio itself is a very interesting aspect of Helsinki. Because of its affordable rent and relative centrality, the name alternately summons images of a neighborhood where drunks hang out, ethnic markets thrive, and an emerging creative community sets up shop. Against this backdrop, Kallio Kunsthalle is a new non-profit art space run by multi-talented director Petri Saarikko (“Artist in theory, designer in practice”). Each exhibition combines the work of artists with that of creators who might not think of themselves as such. This will be the space’s third exhibition; previous shows have included the work of Maija Saksman and Sasha Huber & Petri Saarikko.

Exhibition opening from Jan 12th to Jan 31st 2012. It’s located in Toinen linja 31 in Helsinki, Finland.

Happy 2012!

Hope your 2012 will be filled with inspiring, happy moments…

Walkshops in Bristol and London

We’ll be holding two walkshops next week in the UK, one each in Bristol (9th May) and in London (11th May). Please join us if you’re interested in exploring the urban landscape together!

• Walkshop in Bristol

Monday, 9th May 2011 at 10:00
Pervasive Media Studo, Bristol

Please email with expressions of interest for participating.

Walkshop in London

Wednesday, 11th May 2011 at 10:00

This event is ticketed and costs £24 per participant. As there are limited places, early booking is essential. Please book online.The event will be held at the Innovation Centre, Central Saint Martins, Procter St, London, WC1B 4AP. The entrance is opposite Red Lion Square, and a one minute walk from Holborn Tube station.

1102 Safety Maps.


After many months of effort, we are proud to offer you Do 1102, Safety Maps.

Safety Maps is a free online tool that helps you plan for emergency situations. You can use it to choose a safe meeting place, print a customized map that specifies where it is, and share this map with your loved ones. (As it says on the site, the best way to understand how it works is simply to get started making a Safety Map of your own.)


It’s been a delicate thing for us to build. Given the entire framing of the site, both it and the maps it produces absolutely have to work in their stated role: coordinating the action of couples, households and other small groups under the most trying of circumstances, when communications and other infrastructures may simply be unavailable. They have to do so without implying that a particular location is in fact safer than any other under a given set of conditions, or would remain accessible in the event of disaster. (We recommend that wherever possible, you personally and physically pre-validate the gathering places you specify on your Safety Maps.) And they have to do so legibly, clearly, and straightforwardly.

These are utilitarian preparedness/resilience considerations, and they’re eminently appropriate. But in the end, the site springs from a different set of concerns: in our original conception, the primary purpose of these artifacts is to prompt us to think about the people we love and the utter and harrowing contingency of the circumstances that allow us to be together.

Even though it’s obviously an accident of timing, we’ve had some questions about releasing Safety Maps so soon on the heels of the Sendai earthquake/tsunami. We certainly don’t want to appear to be in any way reaping benefit from the suffering of others. Sadly, though, there are in truth precious few windows between natural or manmade catastrophes of one sort or another, and so we launch. We hope you find it useful — that, at the very least, it prompts you to spend just a few minutes thinking about what provisions you’ve made for coordinating with those you love, in the event the unthinkable comes to pass.

This project which would have been unimaginable without the expert guidance and hard work of Tom Carden and Mike Migurski. Our thanks, also, to Cloudmade and the entire community of Open Street Map contributors, without whom Safety Maps would have remained nothing more than a notion. (If you’re not familiar with Open Street Map, by the way, we heartily recommend finding out more. It’s a free, user-editable map of the world, a Wikipedia for places.)

We would be very interested in hearing from you regarding the use you make of Safety Maps, both the experiences you have with the tool itself and those you have around the maps.

1101 Systems/Layers.


We’re very excited to announce that today we release our free pamphlet Systems/Layers: How to run a walkshop on networked urbanism, in partnership with Giles Lane of Proboscis.

As the name implies, Systems/Layers describes just about everything you’ll need to know in order to run a successful walkshop, from the what and the why to the how and the who.

This particular edition of Systems/Layers takes the form of a “eBook” made with the online Bookleteer tool Proboscis has developed; basically, an eBook is a PDF preformatted so you can print it out and fold it into a sturdy little book. We’re quite pleased with the way ours looks and feels, and hope that you enjoy making one (or several) as well.

As with most of the things we do, the pamphlet is released to you under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike license. We encourage you to make and share as many as you need, and, of course, we’d be delighted if you wound up using them to plan and run a walkshop. All we ask is that you let us know if and when you do.


Tokyo Blues sightings around San Francisco.


If you’re the kind of person who just can’t commit to buying something without a laying on of hands, we can definitely relate to you. We both like to inspect the touch and feel of things, too, and books are no exception.

We also, as it happens, still have a strong belief in physical retail, and especially in tightly edited stores that have a style and a stance all their own. That’s why we’re so happy to see Tokyo Blues at the awesome Rare Device on Market Street in San Francisco. Rare Device carries the sort of things you won’t have seen in very many other boutiques, if anywhere else at all, and it gives us a wonderful feeling to see the book there.


Another location is at William Stout Architectural Books. It’s one of our favorite bookstores in the world and we’re very happy that they carry our book as well. Please visit when you’re at San Francisco.

p.s. Case in point: if you happen to visit the store between now and 10th October in 2010, be sure to check out the installation featuring the incredible work of Nervous System: jewelry and houseware that’s as cutting-edge as it gets without being tainted in the slightest by precious avantgardism.

How to bring a Systems/Layers walkshop to your town.

Crossposted with Speedbird.


The response to the Systems/Layers walkshop we held in Wellington a few months back was tremendously gratifying, and given how much people seem to have gotten out of it we’ve been determined to set up similar events, in cities around the planet, ever since. (Previously, here on Do, and see participant CJ Wells’s writeup here.)

We’re fairly far along with plans to bring Systems/Layers to Barcelona in June (thanks Chris and Enric!), have just started getting into how we might do it in Taipei (thanks Sophie and TH!), and understand from e-mail inquiries that there’s interest in walkshops in Vancouver and Toronto as well. This is, of course, wonderfully exciting to us, and we’re hoping to learn as much from each of these as we did from Wellington.

What we’ve discovered is that the initial planning stages are significantly smoother if potential sponsors and other partners understand a little bit more about what Systems/Layers is, what it’s for and what people get out of it. The following is a brief summary designed to answer just these questions, and you are more than welcome to use it to raise interest in your part of the world. We’d love to hold walkshops in as many cities as are interested in having them.

Systems/Layers is a half-day “walkshop,” held in two parts. The first portion of the activity is dedicated to a slow and considered walk through a reasonably dense and built-up section of the city at hand. What we’re looking for are appearances of the networked digital in the physical, and vice versa: apertures through which the things that happen in the real world drive the “network weather,” and contexts in which that weather affects what people see, confront and are able to do.

Participants are asked to pay particular attention to:

- Places where information is being collected by the network.
- Places where networked information is being displayed.
- Places where networked information is being acted upon, either by people directly, or by physical systems that affect the choices people have available to them.

You’ll want to bring seasonally-appropriate clothing, good comfortable shoes, and a camera. We’ll provide maps of “the box,” the area through which we’ll be walking.

This portion of the day will take around 90 minutes, after which we gather in a convenient “command post” to map, review and discuss the things we’ve encountered. We allot an hour for this, but since we’re inclined to choose a command post offering reasonably-priced food and drink, discussion can go on as long as participants feel like hanging out.

Do projects’ Nurri Kim and Adam Greenfield plan and run the workshop, with the assistance of a qualified local expert/maven/mayor. (In Wellington, Tom Beard did a splendid job of this, for which we remain grateful.)

We feel the walkshop works best if it’s limited to roughly 30 participants in total, split into two teams for the walking segment and reunited for the discussion.


In order for us to bring Systems/Layers to your town, we need the sponsorship of a local arts, architecture or urbanist organization — generally, but not necessarily, a non-profit. They’ll cover the cost of our travel and accommodation, and defray these expenses by charging for participation in the walkshop. In turn, we’ll ensure both that the registration fee remains reasonable, and that one or two scholarship places are available for those who absolutely cannot afford to participate otherwise.

If you’re a representative of such an organization, and you’re interested in us putting on a Systems/Layers walkshop in your area, please get in touch. If you’re not, but you still want us to come, you could try to put together enough participants who are willing to register and pay ahead of time, so we could book flights and hotels. But really, we’ve found that the best way to do things is to approach a local gallery, community group or NGO and ask them to sponsor the event.

At least as we have it set up now, you should know that we’re not financially compensated in any way for our organization of these walkshops, beyond having our travel, accommodation and transfer expenses covered.

Our schedule tends to fill up 4-6 months ahead of time, so we’re already talking about events in the (Northern Hemisphere) spring of 2011. And of course, it’s generally cheapest to book flights and hotels well in advance. If you think Systems/Layers would be a good fit for your city, please do get in touch as soon as you possibly can. As we’ve mentioned, we’d be thrilled to work with you, and look forward to hearing from you with genuine anticipation and excitement. Wellington was amazing, Barcelona is shaping up to be pretty special, and Taipei, if we can pull it off, will be awesome. It’d mean a lot to us to add your city to this list. Thanks!

Weeknotes 013: Week ending 2nd March 2010.

And we’re back in Helsinki again, after yet another extended roadtrip — this one to Wellington, New Zealand for the Webstock conference, with stops at Singapore (on the way down) and Hong Kong (coming back).

It was a genuinely necessary trip, on a lot of levels. For almost two solid weeks, we soaked up Southern Hemisphere summer, ate foods it’s all but impossible to get in Finland in any season, and basked in the extraordinary generosity of the event’s hosts and participants. We also found, once again, that we were able to ship Tokyo Blues orders from the road.

But the real revelation was the response to Systems/Layers, our “walkshop” on the experience of urban space in the era of networked informatics. The feedback we got was so positive that we’re determined to do it again both here in Helsinki, and later on in New York and anywhere else we can mount it; not coincidentally, it was also a rich source of ideas for future Do initiatives.

The method, to the degree there was one, was pretty simple, and drew heavily on a similarly-themed walkabout developed by Martin Brynskov for the NordiCHI conference in Lund a couple of years back. We basically walked around the Cuba Street district of Wellington for an hour and a half with eyes wide open, looking very carefully for all of the sites in the streetscape where information is being gathered up by a networked system, or drawn back off such a system and displayed or acted upon. (You can see Nigel Parker’s video of the walkshop here and check out participants’ visual responses here.)

Then we returned to a command post we’d previously set up and provided with a map of the area, to plot our findings and consider what we’d seen in the light of a couple of fundamental questions: who owns this data? How might one get access to it? What kind of interface might be involved? Whose interests does it tend to support, or undermine? To a person, the participants all said it had raised their consciousness regarding the present-day, real-world effects of networked informatics on urban life, and we learned more about the texture of Wellington than I’d have wagered it was possible to discover in 90 minutes. Superthanks to Tom Beard for helping to plan and run the event, and endless gratitude to Mike, Natasha, Keith, Ben, and everyone else who helps to make Webstock what it is: you’ve really got something special going on. (Xtra bonus shout-out to Dr. Anne Galloway and the Snapper guys.)

Our next challenge is going to be figuring out how to do this as a regular, repeatable event, and to produce documentation (perhaps along the lines of the wonderful things Candy and James are doing with Civic Center) that helps people further unpack the dense urban systems they live in, around and between. In the meantime, we’ve got a couple more weeks yet of winter to trudge through, so wish us luck. : . )