The Tidy Street Project

Energy consumption, info graphic, street art, Urbanized the filmEnergy consumption, info graphic, street art, Urbanized the filmClick to enlarge

I went to see the new documentary Urbanized—the third film in Gary Hustwit’s trilogy starting with Helvetica and followed by Objectified—which looks at city planning issues and stresses the importance of intelligent urban design for the immediate future when 75% of the population is estimated to inhabit cities by 2050. It’s a great film and I highly recommend it. There’s a lot more that could be said about the film, but instead I wanted to share a project that was featured and relates more to art, design, and typography: The Tidy Street Project.

During March and April 2011, participating households on Tidy Street, in Brighton, UK, recorded their electricity consumption. Each day the participants’ electricity usage over the previous 24 hours was marked; and each week participants could choose to add another comparison line that showed how their electricity consumption compared to another region in the UK or even a different country. The residents, in collaboration with the local graffiti artist Snub, produced an engaging street infographic that stimulated the street and passersby to reflect on their electricity use. In Urbanized, several of the participants are interviewed as well as the project creator, Jon Bird from Open University. It was interesting to see the enthusiasm in the project and how the tenants were made aware of which appliances used the most electricity as well as a general awareness on how to lower their consumption, resulting in a 15% usage reduction.

Definitely a fun way to get people involved and interested.

The Tidy Street Project is part of CHANGE, an EPSRC funded research collaboration between The Open University, Goldsmiths, Sussex University and Nottingham University.

Photos courtesy of The Tidy Street Project, Sare, thelastretort’s flickr, Kevan’s flickr, and boxman’s flickr.

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