Networked Urbanism

design thinking initiatives for a better urban life

Design critics: Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo, principals of Ecosistema Urbano

I hope early summer is finding you all well.  I am on my short break between Spring and Summer term, so I thought I’d give you an update on the Bird’s Striking Building project.

Since March, I have been working with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Sustainability who had created the Bird Friendly Design Guide. They are currently creating a policy that will require bird-friendly design in any new or remodeled city/government projects that are in high-risk zones for bird strikes.  They used the video as part of the process of creating their legislation (and were very thankful and complementary!) and they have also had me help them review the actual written legislation/code.

The American Bird Conservancy has also contacted us and wants to use our video for the lobbying they do in Washington DC.  Since the video was Portland based, we are talking about altering it for a general audience. Currently, Liz and I are in talks with their marketing coordinator about this.  They may end up hiring a professional crew – IE – they have a real budget for actors – their last video had Richard Chamberlain as the narrator.  Even if that happens, Liz and I will be involved and they will credit both of us (and PSU).

Recently, I’ve been talking with Portland State University’s Sustainability Office as they are now internally discussing the issue.  They are considering working on the windows at the Rec Center and the University President’s office.  The Rec Center is the location that Liz and I tried to film the bird ghost but were run off because we couldn’t get permission to film in time.

ghost 3

The Portland Audubon has posted our video at

Also, Ornilux, the “spider web” glass manufacturer has posted the video on their website

Well, I’m now going to be spending the summer deciding on my thesis topic for this next year. The bird’s are definitely on my mind, but I am also considering other city-animal habitat interactions.  My contacts at the Audubon and the City of Portland’s Bureau of Sustainability will be people I will get in touch with to discuss thesis ideas.  The Networked Urbanism project has given me the opportunity and contacts that will take me forward in my career.

Thank you! ;-)


Death Cafe MenuAlthough mortality is humanity’s common ground, the subject of death has become taboo and the spaces of death are treated with morose reverence that often excludes them from the public realm and society’s consciousness.  Cemeteries no longer function as vital urban spaces; they are Terra Mortis, dead land, set aside to memorialize our loss.  However, even more disturbing than this underutilized land is the waste generated by postmortem processing. Society’s efforts to produce an illusion of permanence after death has resulted in an industry that defies, consumes and contaminates nature at the cost of public health, environmental security, urban green space and our overall spiritual well being. My project asks if we can transform cemeteries into a common, fertile ground that allows people to understand death as an integral part of life. We will begin the session with a Death Cafe in the tradition of Funeral Celebrants – be ready for Death & Donuts!
-Jennifer Lee Mills is a platform for sharing knowledge and design thinking experiences with the world around us, breaking through the walls of academia in an attempt to improve the society in which we live.