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Friday, September 9, 2016

Defeating Terrorism Through Design

The urban design implications of terrorism are enormous and are only now getting attention. This piece for the online public affairs journal, The Conversation, builds on the Chapter 9 in Designing our Way to a Better World to explore this topic and relate it to the on-demand economy emerging around the world. Here is a link to the full article: https://theconversation.com/defeating-terrorism-through-design-think-souks-not-office-buildings-64474

Friday, July 15, 2016

Designing our Way to a Better World

The disruptions we see happening around the world - political disruptions like Brexit in the UK or the Sanders and Trump phenomena in the U.S.; social disruptions like the rise of random terrorist acts in cities or the protests against excessive violence in our streets; or environmental disruptions like the increasing intensity of storms or the increase in the number of people fleeing drought - are all indicative of political, social, and economic systems no longer functioning as they should. In my new book, just out from the University of Minnesota Press, entitled Designing our Way to a Better World, I talk about how design thinking and design methods can help us create better functioning systems with better outcomes for us all. Here is a link to the book: https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/designing-our-way-to-a-better-world

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Australian interview

In advance of a lecture tour in Australia, I was interviewed by Stuart Harrison of Architecture Australia about the changing nature of architectural practice in the new economy, something that has driven the work of the MDC as we help our region adapt to the dramatic economic, demographic, and environmental changes happening here as well as elsewhere in the world. Here is a link to the interview: http://architectureau.com/articles/architecture-in-an-on-demand-economy-thomas-fisher/

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Small Towns in the New Economy

So many commentators about the sharing, collaborative, or on-demand economy have focused on cities, but as I argue in this talk, given at a conference entitled "Back to Basics" in Pine River, Minnesota: small towns have some advantages in such an economy, in part because of their scale and in part because collaboration has been a necessity in places with fewer people and resources. Here is the link to the talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pinWqbUG-8A&feature=youtu.be

Sunday, January 3, 2016

21st Century Streets

The design for a new "Green 4th Street" in the University Avenue Innovation District, which spans both Minneapolis and St. Paul, shows what streets will be like in The City After the Automobile, as Moshe Safdie called it in his book by that name. Snow Kreilich Architects and Oslund Associates, landscape architects, have created a design that makes the street a place in which people want to occupy and interact. Read a piece on it in the Minneapolis Star Tribune here:

http://www.startribune.com/streetscapes-at-the-corner-of-4th-and-innovation/362944451/

Monday, November 23, 2015

Terrorism and the City

My next book, Designing our Way to a Better World, which the University of Minnesota Press will publish this spring, draws from my Huffington Post blog and here is a link to my latest post. It looks at traditional Islamic cities as a way to understand why Islamic terrorists have targeted cities, what sites they may likely focus on in the future, and how their networks work and what it will take to defeat them. Cities are not just physical artifacts, but also reflections of what we believe and how we think and so they provide a revealing document that we need to learn how to read in order to understand ourselves - and our enemies:     http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-fisher/terrorism-and-the-city_b_8628978.html

Monday, October 5, 2015

Street Smarts

This piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune makes a case for greater density and higher quality buildings as a way for communities to generate the tax base that they need in order to pay for the maintenance and repair of the infrastructure that they have. Going forward, municipalities need to grow in more incremental and higher-density ways to ensure that they don't overbuild their infrastructure; to charge development fees in order to have the funds necessary to maintain their infrastructure; to stop devoting so much of their land to low-density, low-quality development; and to take out under-utilized infrastructure and use the public right-of-way for other economic, environmental or community purposes:

http://www.startribune.com/streetscapes-the-true-costs-of-sprawl/330417251/