Saturday, January 30, 2010

Twitter account

US+THEM is now on twitter
like eric stated if you need login info
email me and I can give it to you

US + THEM: Uptown neighborhood

no flickr that's sickr

Hey yall, I just created a flickr account for the militia that is
GRD 5010 01.

Go there by clicking on the picture above, or you can access it at URL

All of you will receive the login info in your email within the day or tomorrow. If you need it more immediately, email me:


Friday, January 29, 2010


Thanks to Good mag and Dylan Lathrop for the shout out!

Facebook page!

Hey everyone, I created a facebook page.
Add yourself and post, comment, etc...!

More photos...


Good Morning


Katie, our friend Brad, and myself ventured around dinky town and posted poster like crazy for US+THEM. Sometimes it was hard because places in the area wouldn’t allow us to put them up, but in some case I would put them up regardless of any permission. Surprisingly, when we were at the U of M, a janitor ripped a poster I had tape to the entrance door of Johnston hall, How nice of him :) More Pictures will be posted soon


Here is a little taste of our adventures, plenty more documentation to come.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rennovated Phone Booth Library

Community in Europe gathers over library in resurrected phone booth

Somalis in MN

Here is a great timeline of articles that have been published on MPR News Q and their respective links.

And here's a pretty in depth NYTimes article, "A Call to Jihad" about the relatively recent concern over Al-Shabab.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The religious community

The varied religious communities in our state have played the role of the provider of many of the daily necessities for members of our community. If we are to build sustainable communities geared towards social justice we cannot overlook their contribution. How can we in the design field work with religious communities to further outreach and increase positive outcomes? Is working with religious organizations a worthy goal? What do you think?

Here are links to a few religious organizations working in the community.

Office of Social Justice, Catholic Charities

The mission of the Office of Social Justice (OSJ) is to serve those most in need by calling for justice. OSJ serves the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis as its primary resource and catalyst for the work of social justice.

Minnesota Council of Churches
The Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) brings together people of faith to strengthen communities. Its mission is to manifest unity in the church and to build the common good in the world.

Minnesota Catholic Conference
The Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota. The MCC works with state and federal policy makers to ensure the material and moral well-being of all Minnesotans.

Joint Religious Legislative Coalition

JRLC strives to further the cause of social justice in Minnesota by proposing and promoting responsible legislation; assisting congregations in the task of discerning and teaching God's vision of justice; and calling communities of faith to prophetic, unified action.

Jewish Community Relations Council

Since 1939, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) has served as the designated public affairs voice of the Jewish community to elected officials, the media, and other religious, racial and ethnic groups. JCRC is the only local agency fighting anti-Semitism, advocating for Israel, safeguarding religious freedom, and engaging in community service and social action advocacy for tikkun olam (”repairing the world”).

Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota

Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota, in response to God's love, seeks to engage all people of faith in the promotion of public policy that supports peace, justice and care for all of God's creation.

The Campus Kitchens Project

Launched in October 2003, the Campus Kitchen at Augsburg is a unique partnership between Augsburg College, The Campus Kitchens Project, Augsburg Dining Services, and local community agencies.

Campus Kitchen is an example of an educational institution and its students engaging the community for the greater good.

People Powered

People Powered designs experimental pilot programs that integrate art, environmentalism, and communities. By presenting these projects in exhibitions and public locations in the city, People Powered creates a platform for discussing how these practices may intersect.

"Civil War Kids: Young Somalis in Minnesota"

This page from the MPR News website is pretty insightful. There are several tiers of information on the resident Somali culture. Through photographs, articles and sound clips from local Somali community activists, former gang members and project coordinators, there is a lot to learn from this website. There are also articles explaining the history of Somalis in Minnesota and even the extremest Islamic guerilla group, al-Shabaab.

Check it out.

Somali Diaspora

Since we're talking a lot about the Somali Diaspora in Minneapolis, here's a small but interesting quote from the very very interesting article "What Will Globalization Do to Languages? A Freakonomics Quorum"

"It’s obvious that globalization will tend to wipe out smaller languages and cultures — but if you search the web for “soomaaliya” or “gabay ka,” you’ll find more text from the world-wide Somali diaspora than was ever produced in the horn of Africa. It’s obvious that globalized communications and popular culture will tend to homogenize local language varieties — but some varieties of English seem to be diverging more rapidly than ever."

Interesting to consider that they seem to be speaking directly to an audience of other diaspora, rather than to Somalis still in Somalia. (at least this is my understanding.)


So I Don't Have much to say besides that the bulk of the discussion, at least recently, seems to be leaning towards the local Somali community. This is basically a call for opinions. So, THROW UP! (I mean that almost literally)


Looks like NYU was on the move last semester.

Check out their tumblr HERE

Soomaaliyeey toosoo


The flag of Somalia was adopted on October 12, 1954. It was designed by Mohammed Awale Liban, and intended to be used to represent pan-Somali territories. Upon reunification of Italian Somaliland and British Somaliland. The flag was used for the Somali Democratic Republic. The white star in the middle of the flag is said to represent the five regions in the Horn of Africa that the Somali people inhabit.


According to the Somali government, "Soomaaliyeey toosoo" was written by Ali Mire Awale in 1947. However, some sources suggest that it was written by Ali Mire Awale and Yusuf Haji Adan sometime in the 1940s.

It was sung to mark independence day on July 1, 1960, and was regularly performed by children in the mornings at schools.

original somali version

Soomaaliyeey toosoo
Toosoo isku tiirsada ee
Hadba kiina taagdaranee
Taageera waligiinee

Idinkaysu tookhaayoo
Idinkaysu taamaayee
Aadamuhu tacliin barayoo
Waddankiisa taamyeeloo

Sharcigaa isku kiin tolayoo
Luuqadaa tuwaaxid ahoo
Arligiina taaka ahoo
Kuma kala tegeysaan oo

Tiro ari ah oo dhaxalaa
Sideed laydin soo tubayoo
Ninba toban la meel marayoo
Cadowgiin idiin talin oo

Tuldo geel ah oo dhacan baad
Toogasho u badheedhanee
Ma dhulkaas dhanee tegeybaan
Ninna dhagax u tuurayn

Quaran aan hubkuu tumayo
Tooreyda dhaafayn
Oo aan taar samayn karin
Uur kutaallo weynaa

Hadba waxaan la taahaayoo
Togagga uga qaylshaa
Nin dalkiisii cadow taaboo
U tol waayey baan ahayee

Hadba waxaan laa ooyaayoo
Oo ilmadu iiga qubaneysaa
Iqtiyaar nin loo diidoo
La addoon sadaan ahayee

english translation:

stop fighting each other now
look forward and shake hands each other
come back with srtong and joy again then
defeat your enemies and unite all somalia
somalia somalia somalia
will be back again
insha allaah

additional flag information can be found here.

Somalian Culture:


This is a great summary of Somali life written by the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center. It covers historic Somalia, customs, practices, medicine, and re-contextualizes the way we understand and view their community in America, today. This will definitely help anyone who was interested in further understanding Somali culture.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Design Students in SF + Corner store conversion

Students in San Francisco worked with a corner store to provide fresh produce to community members. A lot of corner stores are owned by small families, but unfortunately many are not able to supply fresh produce for their community. Instead many just sell prepackaged processed foods or the bare minimum like milk and eggs. Because of their convenience they are used as the primary source of food, this leads to problems since many foods are processed and high in sodium. There was a study that I'll try to dig up stating that access to fresh produce and healthy foods were harder to come by in poorer neighborhoods than in more affluent neighborhoods. This was due to larger grocery chains being unwilling to invest in these poorer neighborhoods.

Anyway, here's the article.

In their own words: Zuhur Ahmed

A very striking statement from Zuhur Ahmed from KFAI's Somali
Community Link.

Social media a successful tool for community leaders

Social media brings Seward community together.

Food Insecurity

A short, informative podcast about national food insecurity can be found here.
Definitely worth listening to.

Somali American Parent Association (SAPA)

SAPA is a foundation that helps Somali-American Parents to become aware of the issues involving the entire family. In the NPR article that Michael posted, the issues of the Parents role in Somali youth is discussed in revealing length. SAPA is located in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Somali children with high autism rate

Monday, January 25, 2010

Life Expectancy and Healthcare Spending

Civil War Kids: Young Somalis in Minnesota

Heard about this while brushing my teeth this morning.
A 3 part piece by Laura Yuen on MPR.





Saw this little scene the other day while walking downtown Minneapolis. It will be interesting to see how on point these remain; but in terms of getting from A to B on time via the Minneap bus line, this may help.

Real-time updates while you wait

Zo-Loft Architecture and Design : The Wheely

Design can't save the world, but it can certainly help.

The Problem: housing the homeless. Unfortunately there is not the political will to solve this persistent problem, so those who are homeless often live in makeshift shelters. Most of these shelters are little more than a collection cardboard and plastic refuse held together by electrical tape and ropes. These shelter, which are more like rustic tents, must be taken apart and rebuilt each time a homeless person is forced to move. Homelessness is a nomadic existence.

This is where design fills the gap where traditional institutions fail to meet an urgent need.

The Solution: The Wheely. A mobile homeless shelter made of recycled, but extremely durable and water resistant materials that is easily transportable by a one person. The Wheely, as it name suggests, is a shelter that rolls. A kickstand stabilizes it in place wherever it is parked. The tent membrane unfolds from inside the wheel.

Designer: Zo-Loft Architecture and Design


I certainly think this is interesting. Homelessness might not affect us now, or ever. But it certainly is an issue to the Twin Cities and I think it's important we discuss it. What do you guys think about The Wheely? To me, I can't say it necessarily is my favorite idea, but it's a different point of view from where I'm used to seeing about homelessness (which I like). It's more adaptation oppose to a solution. I couldn't find much information on price to produce or production --

Good stuff all over

Cool cool, thought that this was fitting!

Time is on your side


The theme of the 5th edition of EXD launches an in-depth analysis on the subject of time. Focusing primarily on the flows and mechanisms of acceleration and fragmentation, it then surveys its impacts across contemporary society, which manifest themselves at all levels: the development of objects and devices that heighten the capacities of the human being, the growing mobility of both individuals and information, the redesign of the space where collective life unfolds, changes in communication processes and the appearance of new structures and languages, or in other words, innovation.

This reflection is the departure point for a debate on the current uses of time and Man-made devices to manage and master it, with the purpose of improving his performance as well as its transforming action over his surroundings.

Speed and acceleration, key aspects of the theme, underpin an incursion into a broader context, as ExperimentaDesign Lisbon 2009 looks at social, economic and cultural dimensions. Ever-growing competitiveness in the face of intense competition, emerging markets, the development of new technologies and processes connected to innovation networks will also be explored in light of time-related phenomena: expansion, condensation and manipulation

Pretty interesting idea to get designers and artist of all sorts to together, to talk, and think of ways to use their talents to better the community!