The offer applies to anyone aged 18-30 who is an EU citizen and a resident in Spain. It includes discounts of up to 90 percent on state-run buses and short-to-medium distance trains.https://www.thelocal.es/20230510/spain-to-pay-national-bus-and-train-tickets-for-young-people-this-summer?tpcc=newsletter_subscriber&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=how_to_get_a_100_mortgage_in_spain_and_more_travel_discounts_for_young_people&utm_term=2023-05-10
Category Archives: cities
In search of cultural truths
by Marie Lena Tupot and Tim Stock, scenarioDNA inc.
No one will think about Italy’s “Barbie Venus” campaign 6 months from now, but many will continue to make the same mistakes as the world flies beyond 20th-century marketing techniques. The Italy campaign serves as a marker of dismay and innovation washing. Yet, it’s not only Italy’s minister of tourism missing the mark, we in New York were way off base with recent New York City rebranding too. There are real issues in these cases beyond a misguided art director that set the stage for policy planning globally.
Cultural truths need to be examined.
The most obvious is the generative AI version of Botticelli’s Venus. With the trend of de-influencing gaining momentum, Botticelli’s Venus is identified as an influencer named Venere and looks like an ad for Botox. Further, the campaign places Venere at age 30+. If art history rumors are true, the model for Botticelli did not live beyond her 22nd year. Botticelli’s paintings were an expression of love for a woman coming of age and otherworldliness regarding her absence. The knowing gaze of Venere is not evocative of the unreachable gaze of Venus.
So…where is the love, Italy? Venere begins her tour of Italy clothed while the marvel of Michelangelo’s David is being censored in the US states so much so that the mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, and the director of Florence’s Accademia Gallery, Cecilie Hollberg, invited former principal Hope Carrasquilla for a personal tour after she was asked to resign for exposing students to the David. (Carrasquilla also showed her students The Birth of Venus in her natural state.)
Tourism Minister Daniela Santanchè said in a press conference unveiling the campaign, “We are the most beautiful nation in the world but we are not the best at promoting ourselves. We need to regain our pride in being Italian, in our identity.” She missed the point. Modern pride lives within Italy’s contemporary makers, creators and innovators. None of which were included in the conception of the campaign.
A representative from Armando Testa, the agency that executed the Venere campaign, explained the need to use the Venus as “an easy, direct and immediately recognizable way to promote Italy abroad.” Marketers lose who they are when they resort to such shortcuts. It’s the same way with executive briefs. Richness and research get lost.
Marketers need to see the human beings in front of them.
Also, consider that when Italy blocked ChatGPT regarding data privacy concerns and generative AI, VPN activity in Italy rose 400%. At the time, there were Youtube instructions on how to circumvent the ban through VPN access. One might consequently assume that Italy certainly is not at a loss for inspired generative AI creators. Where were those creative technologists when Italy needed them? Italy’s National Innovation Fund supports such up-and-comer types through venture capital. Instead, they were having their wrists slapped because no one quite knows how to handle AI.
The allegory of rebirth and renewal makes perfect sense for Italy. A sophomoric generative AI version of Botticelli’s Venus does not make sense.
Recent tourism has boomed for Italy this spring without the guidance of Venere. That said, Italy cannot sustain itself on tourism alone. Its newly found post-Covid vitality must be driven from within its modern-day maker culture. This culture already exists. It holds the narrative red threads back to Botticelli. According to Frieze Magazine, “spontaneous, informal networks are transforming the art scene of the eternal city [Rome].” Why aren’t they being reached out to?
We can’t be creating media for the lowest common denominators. If we do, then media is simply chasing after phenomena that have already happened. Moving forward, campaigns should bring us to where our imaginations want to go. Gone is the world where campaigns start and end.
Campaigns are now living breathing records reflecting our own existence.
Does anyone want to be Venus Barbie? Doubtful. Do people want to feel the love of Botticelli that can only be found in Italy? Yes.
Recovery is critical for Italy, a country seriously impacted by COVID-19. But these lessons should be learned by all of us involved in messaging anywhere. Campaigns everywhere should be able to consistently evolve from informed ideas.
Why are some urban Indians choosing to live in homes made out of mud, cow dung or sugar cane?
Many other middle and upper-middle class families who used to live in sprawling bungalows or big city flats are now choosing to live in smaller mud houses, largely on the outskirts of small towns, opting for simpler living while coping with climate change.
Designers, planners and architects are helping them to build minimalist homes with primarily mud, but also other locally-sourced materials including bamboo, recycled wood, lime, baked bricks, cow dung, wheat husks and stones.https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/lifestyle-culture/article/3218042/why-are-some-urban-indians-choosing-live-homes-made-out-mud-cow-dung-or-sugar-cane
A City Is Not a Computer
Just as important as the data stored and accessed on city servers, in archival boxes, on library shelves and museum walls are the forms of urban intelligence that cannot be easily contained, framed, and catalogued. We need to ask: What place-based “information” doesn’t fit on a shelf or in a database?https://placesjournal.org/article/a-city-is-not-a-computer/?gclid=CjwKCAjw9J2iBhBPEiwAErwpeQHVt79G7jzEW3h3qz-0x-OsBS7DzJEehv_ddOMjEX47sVfclHjTNRoCPG8QAvD_BwE&cn-reloaded=1
Freitag’s Sweat-Yourself-Shop is a tiny factory for making bags
Swiss brand Freitag has created a shop in Zurich, which is a “micro-factory” where customers can help make their own bag out of recycled tarpaulins.
Named Sweat-Yourself-Shop, the interactive retail space on Grüngasse was designed by Freitag to take their existing customisation options one step further.https://www.dezeen.com/2020/10/31/sweat-yourself-shop-recycling-freitag-interiors-zurich/
In Tokyo’s “Subcal” Bars, Anything Goes
The term “subcal” is a Japanization of the English word “subculture.” Originally referring to the anti-establishment political and social counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s, over time, the word came to mean something more akin to a hobby. The ’80s and ’90s saw “subcal” gain traction as a buzzword in parallel with the more well-known term “otaku,” a catchall name for nerds of all sorts, particularly those with interests in anime, manga and video games. Once it was clear that marketing to geek culture could be lucrative, specialist magazines, TV programs and venues for the weird and sometimes anti-social began to pop up. These bars became a viable place for many Tokyoites—residents of a city notorious for tiny living spaces and often misunderstood as being cold to strangers—to get together with those of similar interests.https://punchdrink.com/articles/tokyo-nightlife-best-subcal-bars/
This Tiny Town Created by ChatGPT Is Better Than Reality TV
A team of AI researchers at Google and Stanford University posted a study online on April 7 where they used OpenAI’s chatbot to create 25 “generative agents,” or unique personas with identities and goals, and placed them into a sandbox environment resembling a town called Smallville much like The Sims. The authors of the study (which hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet) observed the agents as they went about their days, going to work, talking with one another, and even planning activities.
The bots and their virtual environment were rendered in delightful 16-bit sprites, giving it the look and feel of a video game. The results were a pretty idyllic village that seemed ripped out of Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing—if, you know, those games were also rife with incredibly complex and uncomfortable ethical and existential questions.https://www.thedailybeast.com/google-and-stanford-researchers-used-chatgpt-to-invent-a-small-virtual-town#:~:text=A%20team%20of%20AI%20researchers,Smallville%20much%20like%20The%20Sims.
The rise and rise of the branded residence
Now that old-world glamour is having a revival via the relaunch of the Waldorf Astoria, which was the world’s largest and tallest hotel when it opened in 1931. An immaculate restoration has added condominiums above the 375 hotel rooms, and “The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria” (where apartments are for sale from $1.8mn, through Knight Frank and Douglas Elliman) have already attracted more than 12,000 inquiries.https://www.ft.com/content/7483ebff-8b1c-4269-a222-a25f30ac2d07
Humans need to dance together more than ever
The demise of clubbing isn’t just a cultural loss, it’s an existential deprivation for generations who are coming of age.
In 2006, there were reckoned to be 3,000 nightclubs in the UK. By the end of 2019 there were less than half that number, and late last year, the figure was put at only 1,068. The reasons for this decline are partly about what has happened to our cities, and the mindset of many of the people who run them: a story of rising rents, authoritarian councils, and the kind of gentrification that involves people moving into bustling urban locations and then having the brass neck to complain about the noise. Of late, clubs’ finances have been made even more impossible by the effects of the pandemic, and colossal rises in running costs. But whereas last week’s budget saw Jeremy Hunt announcing a freeze in beer duty that he called the “Brexit pubs guarantee”, the fate of clubs is not something politicians really talk about.https://amp-theguardian-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/mar/19/isolated-humans-dance-together-demise-clubbing
‘The Era of Urban Supremacy Is Over’
From July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, “New census data shows a huge spike in movement out of big metro areas during the pandemic,” Frey wrote in an April 2022 paper, including “an absolute decline in the aggregate size of the nation’s 56 major metropolitan areas (those with populations exceeding 1 million).”
This is the first time, Frey continued, “that the nation’s major metro areas registered an annual negative growth rate since at least 1990.”https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/15/opinion/post-pandemic-cities-suburbs-future.html?utm_source=Blueprint&utm_campaign=3a02128ede-Newsletter_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b0b9cbf437-3a02128ede-231014502