Tag Archives: Edge of Chaos

Healthy fun: it’s coming

Affecting real change

This past weekend saw the national professional organization for design, AIGA, hold a workshop in Birmingham (one of three nationwide) as part of their Design for Good initiative. Joined by local partners such as Alabama Engine and UAB’s Edge of Chaos, community stakeholders and local designers (including your author) shared an intense 2-day brainstorming session revolving around issues of public health, a major concern in our region. The specific topics were supporting the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System, and encouraging better food choices among vulnerable populations in the metro area. Exercise and better eating: how do we get more of each in our area?

Avenue W before

Avenue W after

It’s easy to visualize how the Red Rock system can transform how we use our neighborhoods, travel between them, and get a little physical activity. Above is one proposed portion of the system (Village Creek Corridor) that passes along Avenue W in Pratt City. Why choose walking or biking over a car when there is no sidewalk, bike lane, or mileage/directional signage? The plan takes care of that.

Richard Arrington Blvd before

Richard Arrington Blvd after

Because of a recent federal TIGER grant the City won recently, part of the trail will be completed soon; it will link into other future portions such as the improvements shown above leading from the City Center up to Vulcan Park. Pepsico, as part of its initiative to make its brands healthier and to encourage wellness among its customer base, helped sponsor this design summit as well as the other two in New York City and Seattle. Why Birmingham, you may ask? We, and the state generally, have terrible statistics for obesity, hypertension, heart issues, diabetes, etc. If we can turn things around here, we can do it anywhere. Thanks to the sponsors for putting this event together–and everybody, please support the Red Rock system in your own community and across the metro. It not only could transform our health, but the entire concept of moving around Jefferson County.

Who knows: someday soon, we will bike safely from Vulcan Park to Pratt City (or even jog, as the gentleman in the renderings above demonstrates). We’re ready!

[thanks to AIGA for the logo and to Red Rock for the renderings]




Good graphics herald progress

Good quote, good mission

A couple days ago UAB School of Public Health hosted a breakfast to introduce  a new space under construction called Edge of Chaos (hard-hat presentation shown above). Conceived as a unique collaborative space where interdisciplinary faculty, students, and the community at large can gather informally to hash out ideas and develop solutions, when it opens next year the hope is it will generate innovation and entrepreneurship. Other universities have started similar ventures with much success. This could be one great way to leverage the huge brainpower of UAB to enhance both the university and the local economy. [the space is on the top floor of the Lister Hill Library]

Piquing curiosity

The invite to the event (above) startled me upon first glance. Not only were the bright yellow and bold, modern font visually arresting, but the whole layout seemed attuned to the “out of the box” nature of the new venture. Choosing a non-standard format for the invite helped intrigue invitees, and made the statement: “UAB is doing something different”. Simple yellow banners with great quotes decorated the half-finished space, relating back to the initial invite. It’s exciting when graphic design is used well in the service of new ideas.

Good graphics of another sort

Getting close to opening in the Lakeview District is the Tin Roof, part of a small southern chain of bars (pic above at the new location in the 2700 block of 7th Avenue South). The retro signage, inspired by American roadside pop culture of the 1950’s, is fun, stylish, and welcome in a city where exterior signage is often dull, an afterthought, or both. A good example of how signage can lift up the visual character of the public realm.