This is an Urbanscale Weeknote titled “Week 56: Back in NY, and getting perspective,” written by Jeff Kirsch in New York on the 25th of January 2012.

Week 56: Back in NY, and getting perspective

Jeff Kirsch on 25 January 2012

Week 56 finds all of Urbanscale back on NY time and in the studio, at least until Adam departs for DC on Thursday. As ever, we’ve got our hands in many pots this week.

» We’re reflecting on what we learned last week in Madrid with our old friends Fabien Girardin and Nicolas Nova of Near Future Laboratory (plus Kevin Slavin) and our new friends from BBVA’s Centro de Innovación. We were thrilled to be able to bring a different perspective to the work they’re doing, help them see how we combine data analysis with on-the-ground observational research in our practice, and suggest some new opportunities for their current explorations.

It was a short trip for us, so one of my personal highlights was the afternoon we spent observing transactions around Madrid – it was crisp and clear, the streets were bustling, and I feel like a I got a real (if tiny) glimpse at the life of the city. I think our presence helped the Madrid natives take advantage of their local knowledge while consciously considering the familiar locations as though they weren’t.

The trip wrapped with an evening of talks from Adam, Nicolas and Kevin (whose answer to a question from the audience prompted this from Leah), a lovely reception, and a rather fantastic Spanish dinner. We certainly hope to make it back again, soon.

» Transitflow is coming off the back-burner, as Mayo and I review the user experience and interface design work we’ve done thus far, taking advantage of the little bit of distance we’ve been able to get from the project to attack it with fresh eyes. J.D.’s rolling some of the codebase he’s built for our Urbanflow on iPad proof-of-concept back into Transitflow, so he’ll be ready to start implementing the UX solutions as we lock them down.

» Speaking of Urbanflow, we’re sorry to say that conversations about a Chicago implementation have drawn to an unsuccessful close. Despite the best intentions of a lot of smart people, the parties involved just couldn’t create the environment necessary to make it happen, and everybody walked away disappointed. But then, nobody ever said that bringing something truly innovative into the world was easy, and we remain optimistic about Urbanflow’s future in Chicago and elsewhere.

» We were thrilled to see a great writeup of Do projects‘s Safety Maps on Fast Co Design this week. Congrats to Nurri, Bloom’s Tom Carden, Stamen’s Michal Migurski, and Adam for that.

» In the background of all of the above, we’ve naturally been engaging in the business of running a business — thinking about ways to formalize some of our service offerings, developing concepts to add to the pipeline, and having interesting conversations with people with interesting problems to solve. Think you’re one of them? Get in touch, or if you happen to be in New York this week, drop by FRIDAYS AT 7. Endmark