Thursday, September 26, 2013

New Book, New Media, New Direction

I began building planning blogs for municipalities in 2007 when very few of us were “out there” testing these new ideas and tools.  It was an exciting, and somewhat lonely, social media world for planners, urban designers, and other community builders.  

Take a few evolutionary and revolutionary steps forward to today and I am happy to see a world with previously unimaginable tools, networks, and possibilities supporting a significantly larger community with compatible interests.

Always seeking new perspectives on the continuing challenge of integrating my professional planning/design work with better communication techniques, I was interested in reading Stephen Mouzon's New Media for Designers & BuildersIt is exceptional; in its breadth, clarity, and practicality.  

The immense amount of information that confronts the reader in New Media is by no means daunting.  Stephen has taken the care to craft a book that covers incredible amounts of information while avoiding overly theoretical or technical discussions.  He speaks to the needs of his audience by providing examples that are adaptable and actionable.  New Media also describes the evolving shift to new ways of thinking, and provides direct links to other community builders that are walking the talk and making it a reality. 

What I particularly enjoyed is that through his examples and references he has interwoven the worlds of planning, urban design, and architecture with those of other leaders in the New Media.  He is not asking his readers to act like magpies flitting from one shinny object of technology to the next as if that would provide meaningful support.     Instead he also takes care to illustrate how the more traditional media of speaking, publishing, and photography can be re-imagined in the New Media world as part of an interconnected strategy for designers.  

In my opinion, Stephen’s most profound achievement with New Media for Designers & Builders is its subtext.  Like no other book, New Media describes a way of designing and building an interconnected approach to communication and one’s practice using all media, old and new together.  Which I believe may come from his own design sensibilities as an architect; where our best work originates by learning from history and building upon that heritage to create contemporary designs that are respectful, creative, and effective.   


Patrick Kelly said...

Great review! I read the book as well and got motivated by it in lots of ways. In today's world, the amount of "tools" out there is overwhelming and we never do anything because we don't know where to start. Steve's book solves by providing a clear and straightforward guide. A must read for anyone who has been watching from the sidelines. -Patrick Kelly

Steve Mouzon said...

Rob, New Media for Designers + Builders has gone live on iTunes and there's a Kindle version as well. Anyone who has an iPad should get the iTunes version because the iPad interactive books are far more fun than regular e-books could ever be. Also, please feel free to leave a review there if you like.