We were thrilled to host a conversation between Ron Rael and Nicholas de Monchaux, honoring the release of Local Code: 3659 Proposals about Data, Design, and the Nature of Cities, at University Press Books on November 29, 2016. During the conversation, Nicholas shared some of the design choices he made in developing these wide ranging proposals for vacant lots in San Francisco, New York, and Venice. For example, after realizing that fine-grained detail such as park benches and electric lighting required community collaboration, he focused on the natural resources of these spaces — that is their natural lighting and watershed — to produce proposals that provide ecological and urban resilience. Much of the inspiration for this style of design, Nicholas revealed, developed after a conversation with mayors from across the country, in which they explained how owing to earmarked funding and lobbying, certain infrastructural projects were not feasible. Nicholas developed a distributed, community-built model out of these constraints. In a political climate in which many of the BCNM community are struggling to find opportunities for activating change, it was uplifting to hear of discrete, actionable models that can improve our local sphere.
Check out the photos below!