Funded! This project was successfully funded on January 11, 2013.

Update #14

A long overdue hello from Softwalks!

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You might have been asking yourself, what in the world has Softwalks been up to? What ever happened to the pilot project I funded? To be honest and transparent we have an update to help put things in perspective. Over the past year, there have been many amazing and unpredictable events. It started with a presentation at the Design INDABA conference in Capetown, South Africa. Then in Boston, Softwalks installed a sidewalk shed in a gallery for an exhibit titled Reprogramming The City: Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure. We were selected as a finalist in the SXSW ECO Place by Design awards, and most recently are in the running for the Design For Experience Awards.

Along the way, some opportunities didn’t come to fruition. We engaged in hopeful discussions with; a transportation charity in the UK, a scaffold manufacturer in Brazil, a champion of Active Design in Miami, a pop-up advertising gig in NYC, and a global urban development company. Each entity expressed interest in Softwalks and the pilot project, however as promising as these opportunities were they didn’t pan out in the end. Alas, the goal of this Kickstarter project has yet to be fulfilled!

All the while, big life plans have blossomed. Howard and her husband Balin had a baby, Evelyn in September and she is bringing joy into the world. Concurrently, Bland is planning a move from NYC to Jackson WY to continue his work in the creative and public art field.

Recognizing the pilot project we promised was not coming to fruition, we set our minds to action, trying to find an appropriate solution to the challenges of fulfilling the hopes and desires of this project. What we have come up with embraces the tenets of Softwalks, while contributing to current endeavors in the works. Here is the plan we hope you, as a loyal supporter, will approve as we make the most of the funding you contributed.

Howard has begun working on Unsitely! a colloquium organized by Laetitia Wolff of Future Flair and the Ville de Montreal’s Design Bureau in collaboration with the Ville-Marie borough in downtown Montreal and the Saint-Étienne Cité du design. The event takes place in October 2014 in Montreal and will be a discussion of construction sites, their impact on the surrounding urban landscape, and how design can positively impact those experiences. Howard will present her field work experience with Softwalks share her unique perspective on urban design for the 21st century. As part of her ongoing fieldwork, she plans to complete the Kit of Parts by testing the eye-level screen that mitigates visual clutter and traffic on the street, which has been in prototype stage until now.

Howard plans to then continue this work by returning the conversation started in Montreal to the streets of New York. She will be designing an amendment to the NYC street guidelines and working with DOT and other officials to present Softwalks as a component for this manual. By influencing the city landscape in subtle ways she hopes to create lasting change and an ongoing dialogue of how to live better in an urban environment. She will be posting updates as this exciting endeavor unfolds over the coming months. She will be using the funding from Kickstarter to employ communication tactics and strategic design principles with the goal of influencing future development in NYC to consider the human as a central element of design.

On April 1st, Bland plans to leave NYC and hit the road with long time colleague Francis Carter, and the documentary film producer William Novak on a cross-country trip of urban interventions. The team will be shooting short documentary videos about the design process applied to urban and rural interventions with a focus on community, education, and social activation. Their goal is to connect and contribute to different cities, people and places along the way through brief design projects. In each city, Bland and Francis will work with locals to produce an intervention for the streets. It will be an exercise in rapid design thinking and making. They encourage anyone living in Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, the Badlands, or Laramie WY to get in touch. Your participation is what will make this endeavor unique and exciting!

Bland will be using funding from the Kickstarter campaign for materials and equipment on the journey, and to fund the documentation and production of the short form videos. Kickstarter supporters will be the first to watch this project unfold in April! Thereafter the content will be distributed through the internet to inspire like minded people, because we believe the world needs this type of spontaneity and excitement.

This has been a long adventure, and very few days have passed without thinking of the obligation we have to you, our Kickstarter supporters. We sincerely hope our current plans go above and beyond what you had initially expected from us. Softwalks was never intended to be a small manufacturing business. Our goal has always been to inspire people with the possibilities of transforming drab sidewalks and urban eyesores into lively and innovative pedestrian spaces. With Unsitely! and the cross-country interventions, Bland and Howard are continuing to infuse the world with the principles and ideals of Softwalks.

Feel free to leave comments or questions. We are both excited to get to work, and bring new ideas to the world.

Sincerely,

Bland and Howard


Update #13

BSA Space & Prototypes

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Hello Softwalks Supporters

It has been a while since the last update! Here is the latest scoop-

If you live in Boston or are planning to visit, make sure to swing by the Boston Society of Architects Gallery Space - BSA Space. The guest curator and urban design director Scott Burnham invited Softwalks to participate in 'Reprogramming the City: Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure'. For this exhibit, the Kit of Parts is installed on 32' of sidewalk shed situated in the gallery. More than 45 selected urban interventions and temporary projects are highlighted throughout the show. Check out the Softwalks Facebook page for more coverage of the installation.

As a part of this installation, we took the opportunity to design a bench and screen. The prototypes were both well received by the crowd. The bench fulfilled it's mission of providing seating for two or three, while the screen created an intricate dappled lighting effect. These two prototypes were funded with Kickstarter support, helping push the project in new directions! It was great to get the ideas off the drawing board to see how they can be improved.

Our strategy has continued to evolve as new opportunities present themselves, and we will continue to keep you informed on progress. The most exciting feature of Softwalks is the unexpected conversations and projects that continue to emerge. Thanks again for the support! 

Sincerely-

Softwalks

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Update #12

Moving Forward

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Hello Kickstarter Supporters!

It has been a wild ride since we raised our funding (thanks to you) on Kickstarter. The campaign had some other great ripple effects. Here is a recap-

First, we recently shipped off a Softwalks seat to a scaffold company in Brazil. Considering the new construction initiatives related to the World Cup and the Olympics, it seems like the ideal time to humanize scaffolding systems in Brazil. We will let everyone know if anything develops from this relationship!

Second, out of the blue we were given the opportunity to present Softwalks at Design INDABA in Cape Town, South Africa. Thanks to Parsons, we gave a pecha kucha presentation to 1,700 enthusiastic design professionals at this amazing event (video soon to come!)

Last, we have struck up new discussions with a transportation charity in the UK as well as an organization in Finland. Both are engaged in urban innovation and design issues, and we are exploring ways to potentially work with them.

On the home front in NYC, things are heating up with preparations for Ideas City and the Pilot Project. We are working with a sidewalk shed contractor to find a pilot project site as we speak. Recently a slew of articles (this one, that one, or another one) were published about sidewalk sheds, and it only aids our efforts. 

As we move forward we will make periodic updates to keep everyone informed. If you want more timely updates find us on Facebook or Twitter for a less curated selection of information. 

For those folks in NYC, we plan on hosting a little party once we have a pilot project site secured. Hope you can make it! Until then - enjoy the spring.

Sincerely,

Softwalks

(Bland and Howard)


Update #11

WE MADE OUR GOALl!!!

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Thank you to everyone for supporting and helping us get to our goal!!! We MADE IT!!!

But we're not done yet. Our goal represents the absolute minimum funding necessary. There's still precious time left. Every dollar we continue to receive in the next few hours will only help make our pilot project better than ever, so share the good news and keep the momentum rolling!!!

We are so excited and very moved by all of your support—from sending out links to your networks, giving from your own pocket, and best of all, believing in our vision to transform our urban streets for the better.

This is a HUGE boost for us, and we will be sure to update our work on our website and through Facebook and twitter. We hope you continue to follow our progress and we hope to see you at our pilot project this spring! (Location and dates TBD).

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!!!

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Update #10

It's the Last Day!

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First - Thanks to EVERYONE that has backed Softwalks and the Pilot Project! It is amazing to see the upswell of support as we near the end of the campaign. 

In the final hours, consider sharing our Kickstarter link on social networks, or convincing your best friend to become a backer. Together we will make this happen!


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    Virtual hug/high five! We sincerely appreciate your support.

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    A sidewalk shed business card holder. This nifty object will elevate your cards, or keep others' safe from any desk or surface. That's slick.

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    Softwalks T-Shirt sporting the Kit of Parts in a mandala shape. It represents the quantity of parts for transforming an average sidewalk shed into a better place for people.

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    Softwalks Tote for cruising around the city in style. Snag some groceries, read a big book and bring everything else for a stroll around your favorite public places.

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    Innovation Lab: We will guide you through an hour long design session over skype. We will map out your ideas to show new paths to explore, and will deliver this to you afterwards. Just imagine the possibilities!

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    Softwalks Design Workshop: We will come to your place of business to hold an exciting 1.5 hour design workshop. We will use tools, exercises and methods we have developed for Softwalks and apply them to your ideas! We will limit this to NYC only.

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    Softwalks Planter: For inside or outside your home. Enjoy plants and perhaps vegetables grown in this wall-mounted vessel. Easily installed and maintained, the planter will breathe new life into your home.

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    The Kit of Parts outside your NYC business for a 6-hour block of time. Host a function, gallery opening, or bring in a food truck. All you need is the sidewalk shed. Enjoy the crowd pleasing street appeal this reward level delivers.

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    Softwalks Seat: Your very own seat for indoor or outdoor use. Built to endure NYC streets, this space saving seat will last a lifetime. Want to put it somewhere else? We will chat about a custom bracket for a post, wall, column, or balcony!

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    Softwalks Light Reflector OR Planter: Initially developed for a sidewalk shed, we have carefully re-designed this object for your home. A brushed steel interior with bright colors on the outside - a beautiful object on it's own!

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Funding period

- (31 days)