Monday, February 16, 2015

Designing for Joy

I enjoyed the Redesign for Joy segment on Studio 360 when I heard it on air yesterday, even before I realized that the story was going to include some specifically geographic examples. Most notable of these is the efforts of former Tirana Mayor Edi Rama, who was named World Mayor in 2004 for what is now a fairly obvious innovation. He demonstrated that more cheerful paint could improve his city; that work has now spread far beyond Albania, and I even witnessed some examples in Managua last month.
The first project. Photo by Edi Rama
His project started modestly, and the first example (above) could be described simply as "not dreary." From there the work became increasingly daring -- and increasingly effective. The one below is much like the building I noticed in Managua. See 8 Views of Tirana for details and further examples.
Photo: David Dufresne
A quick image search on Google yields even more examples, many of which are from other parts of the world where leaders have been inspired to employ positive design in their cities.

I return to the interview, though, because Ingrid Fetell shares something much more profound and exciting than the cityscapes, as important as they are. Her work connects cognitive science with design -- and careful attention to both -- in order to recognize the kinds of places that encourage joy, and to apply those insights to improving the design of places that typically do not. She shares this work on her Aesthetics of Joy blog, and is working with Studio 360 producers to solicit ideas for places that could use a joy treatment. See the interview summary for details. Meanwhile, bring yourself a bit of joy simply by listening!

While we are at it, though, we should not miss a chance to learn more about both the site and situation of Tirana. Use the "earth" and "map" settings and pan and zoom to explore Tirana to your heart's content.

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