Chance encounter – not so random


An algorithm in Facebook organises the frequency of seeing different friends’ news feeds – based on the frequency of your Facebook contact with your friends. Some friends are only contacted by certain people on Facebook because they don’t necessarily want contact with them outside of Facebook. The downside is that Facebook prioritises these people, whose news is not necessarily as valued as the news of the friends that some people would prefer to engage with outside of Facebook. Continue reading Chance encounter – not so random

J-term course proposal

Instructor Name
Tim Stonor

Loeb Fellow


Previous teaching experience
1996-1998 Course Director, Master of Science in Architecture, the Bartlett, University College London.
Current Honorary Senior Lecturer, the Bartlett, University College London.

Course title
Introduction to Space Syntax theory, technology and practice

Course description
Space Syntax is an architectural theory that investigates relationships between spatial layout and a range of social and economic phenomena including patterns of movement, public space use, land use and crime distribution. Built on quantitative analysis and computer technology, Space Syntax provides a set of evidence-based techniques for the analysis of spatial configurations of all kinds, especially where spatial configuration seems to be a significant aspect of human affairs, as it is in buildings and urban areas. Applied in both academic research and practice, Space Syntax treats cities and buildings ‘space first’, that is as the network of spaces that people use and move through. Continue reading J-term course proposal

Bill Doebele’s wise words

Bill Doebele talk to the 40th Reunion of the Loeb Fellowship

Piper Auditorium, Harvard Graduate School of Design

8th October 2010

This is the script used by Bill to guide his talk. His actual delivery may differ in some minor respects.


Thank you all for making this the most memorable weekend of my life.

Also my thanks to Jim and Sally for making this one of the richest and best organized reunions ever.

I promise that I will be as brief as it is possible for a former professor to be.

I will begin with a note of appreciation, then mention one concern that I have about the future of the Fellowship.

I must begin by sincerely thanking each of you here who have astonished me by contributing to the William A. Doebele Fellowship. I salute both your generosity and your good judgment.

When I was a callow youth in the high school of a small town in the hills of central Pennsylvania, I dreamed the romantic dreams of the young. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I said to myself, if I could do something in my life that would improve the world in a way that would endure beyond my own brief existence on this troubled planet. A modest but lasting memorial to my having been here.

Today it is hard for me to express the degree of my gratification in finding that the consummation of that youthful dream is being achieved, not by my own efforts, but through the incredible generosity of your gift. Continue reading Bill Doebele’s wise words

Don’t fight fire…

World Bank data suggest an urban population in 2050 of approximately 7 billion, of which close to half will be living in unplanned settlements: favelas, barrios, slums. Delegates at this weekend’s Loeb Fellowship 40th Anniversary Reunion are necessarily concerned.

When the Fellowship was established in 1970, America was in turmoil with civic unrest across the country, major urban centres on fire, tanks on the streets of Detroit, the National Guard deployed against the population.

Faced with this extreme reality, John and Frances Loeb didn’t say “Let’s train a new generation of firefighters”; they decided instead to invest in a strategy of prevention.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. Continue reading Don’t fight fire…

Designing for transaction

Today I gave a presentation to architecture students at the Graduate School of Design titled: “Designing for transaction: the importance of spatial layout, emergence & multi-scale movement”. Here’s the introduction…

“Sites – such as the one you have been asked to look at in Queens – raise important questions about connections: how many, where, for what purpose? At what scale? For what kinds of movement? Land use? Questions that require analysis, foresight and forecasting.

Who is best skilled to judge? Transport planners, planners, architects, sociologists?

Continue reading Designing for transaction

How Faversham fights – machine guns and pints

The last military conflict to take place on British soil occurred near Faversham, Kent on 27th September 1940. On one side: the crew of a downed Junkers 88. On the other: members of the London Irish Rifles. Following a brief but intense exchange of fire, in which no one was killed, all the participants retired to the local pub, the Sportsman, for a few pints.

Is this model of conflict resolution appropriate for situations beyond mere global conflict?