“These are the most important buildings of the future.”

Architect Graeme Stewart speaks out on benefits of 1960s tower-style high-density urban housing as opposed to the sprawl often found in the US. In “Tower Neighbourhood Renewal” from PKN Toronto’s special Urban Innovation Happy Hour, we see that Graeme has taken the lead on the Tower Renewal project — whereby he’s taken steps to eco-retrofit these 50-year-old buildings, and worked to transform the surrounding areas into villages through policy changes and community-building campaigns. 

How can we create change in society? Sometimes all we need is a little nudge.

How can behavioural economics be used for social good? Tanya Bass believes in behavioural economics as an intersection between psychology and economics, and examines how everyday people make everyday decisions.

In "Behavioral Economics" from PKN Toronto Vol. 28, Tanya discusses how researchers and governments around the world have been using behavioural economics to re-design the environment to facilitate positive decision making. 

Who knew auto-generated patterns could turn out to be beautiful? 

Elizabeth "Libs" Elliott merges old craft and modern art forms to create beautiful quilts with a technological twist. In "The Morden Heirloom: Coding Quilts" from PKN Toronto Vol. 29 using the Processing visual programming language, Elizabeth generates random patterns for her quilts by altering code to play with colour palettes, geometric shapes, and other variables. She draws out each pattern by hand and then sews them onto quilts. 


"There's the question of whether young people want to learn from their teachers ... the answer is probably, 'No.'"

Miriam Verburg is the producer of LongStory, one of the first LGBTQ friendly dating games made specifically for young people.

In "The LongStory: an Online Dating Game for Youth" from PKN Toronto Vol. 29, she discusses why she decided to devote two years of her life to producing a dating game for kids and shows some of the interesting things she learned along the way about creating games about feelings. 

Over-heated city streets can be cured with a bit of reforestation. One man in a hot city set out to do just that.

While living in Mexico’s third-largest city, Monterrey, Sergio De Lara noticed a distinct lack of urban forestry, most pointedly during the city’s 50-degree summers. In "Extreme Reforestation", from a special Urban Innovation Happy Hour from PKN Toronto, we see that what began as a small grass-roots collective digging up previously-sealed sidewalk planters grew to a corporate-sponsored non-profit NGO (going by the name Reforestación Extrema) complete with volunteer teams re-foresting parks and city streets all over. 

Toronto's PechaKucha Night Vol. 30 is coming up -- set for June 20 -- and here's the poster by Trevor Embury that shows off the evening's theme, "art + urbanism." Visit the official event page for more details about the event.

"The pink ribbon for breast cancer charity is often a disguise for cosmetic companies hiding chemicals linked to cancer."

Lily Tse is the founder and CEO of Think Dirty, which produces an iOS app that empowers consumers with safety information about cosmetics. Think Dirty started as a series of hackathons, but the idea itself was borne out of Lily's personal journey to understand truths about the use of toxic chemicals in the beauty industry. In "The Comfort (Danger) of Not Knowing" from PKN Toronto Vol. 29 Lily expresses her discontent with the concept that "ignorance is bliss" and encourages consumers that knowledge is empowering. 

We know drones kill and deliver packages, but who knew they could create art?

WISP or Weird Illuminated Sky Paintings is a collaborative project by three creative technologists, Brent MarshallPartick Dinnen and Dre Labre. In "WISP - Weird Illuminated Sky Paintings" from PKN Toronto Vol. 28, we hear that they want to capture the idea of whimsy or the first time you draw your name with a sparkler. 

"'Quantified Self' is ... tracking all kinds of data about your daily routines, habits, movements..."

Rami Alhamad, CEO and co-founder of PUSH, explains the "quantify self" movement in relation to the revolution of wearable technology to show how individuals are revolutionising how they track their daily habits. In "Quantifying Self" from PKN Toronto Vol. 27, Rami discusses the challenges of privacy and accuracy, and exposes the healthcare system as antiquated and in need of improvement. 


Jarring thought: "We are as gods, and we may as well get good at it." -Stewart Brand

Britt Way, a radio documentary producer in Toronto, uses her background in biology, evolution, genetics and radio skills to talk about the development of biology today, especially concerning deextinction. As many of us know, we are headed towards a Sixth Extinction and our need to "play God" is more pressing then ever. In "30,000 foot View of Biology" from PKN Toronto Vol. 27, she shows solutions to right the wrongs that we have created in several interesting and unconventional ways. 


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