BOB JESSOP AND JOHN LAW: Failing Designs for Safe Living

New Sciences of Protection Conference: Theme Panel 2 ‘Design Failure and Designing for Failure,’ with John Law and Bob Jessop.

John Law and Bob Jessop (download presentation) offered differing diagnoses of design failure. They also each provided some tentative thoughts on how designs for safe living could begin to be reconciled with the excess of unsafety which always evades even the best-laid plans. Both agreed that the complex and processual nature of the socio-physical world could never be full captured and accounted for in any design for safe living, and that designs for safe living can never provide a guarantee of safe living. This was the starting point for both their discussions which addressed the problems of how the governance, management and organization of safe living might begin to be reconciled with this excess of unsafety and uncertainty.

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Secrecy by Peter Galison & Robb Moss

Secrecy is a documentary by Peter Galison and Robb moss about “the vast, invisible world of government secrecy. By focusing on classified secrets, the government’s ability to put information out of sight if it would harm national security, Secrecy explores the tensions between our safety as a nation, and our ability to function as a democracy.”

Fixer-Sven and 9 other policy initiatives around the world

Monocle showcased 10 global policy initiatives worth adopting. Here they are:

(1) Senior Service – Fixer-Sven in Stockholm sends a “friendly chap who shuttles between houses fixing practical problems free of charge” for citizens over 75. “There are also moves to outsource care of the elderly to countries with sunny weather, lower living costs, and a habit of respecting the old,” with several Norwegian cities already outsourcing to southern Spain.

(2) The Flat Pack – Estonia and other emerging European nations have adopted a flat tax of 26 percent on individual and corporate income.

(3) Clear Vision – Sao Paulo has banned all outdoor advertising — billboards, advertising on trains and uses, posters and even flyers.

(4) People Power – Germany requires power companies to allow independent energy producers and to pay them 50 cents per kilowatt hours for it. The law “changed the economics of solar power overnight.”

(5) Green Light – Plant trees and green roofs to reduce greenhouse gases and encourage better behavior. [Better still, make your city walkable.]

(6) Rubbish Idea – Adopt Zurich’s smart rubbish and recycling bins, two-thirds of which are below the pavement, yielding a neat and unobtrusive container.

(7) Public Pool – Genoa’s car sharing scheme offers 24-hour availability, use of bus lanes and preferential parking.

(8) Treasure Hunt – Japan is conferring National Treasure status on its most highly prized buildings, works of art and practitioners of arts and crafts.

(9) Skill School – National service can mean building skills in necessary skills, such as waste management, aircraft maintenance and infrastructure construction.

(10) Smart Security – Do security barriers have to be so ugly? Monocle editors don’t thing so. They cite the Tiger Trap as ideal. Covered in grass, it includes an unobtrusive perimeter wall and pressure-activated sensors that trigger the floor to give way in an emergency.