Cure for the Common City

20 February 2010

The P-Van is a fancy bus completely decked out as a state-of-the-art music & video production facility with tour bus amenities. It will tour other cities and surrounding areas collecting musicians, rappers and beat makers and bringing them back to Pittsburgh. During the trip the musicians will record a CD, with the on-board Pittsburgh producer. In Pittsburgh they will be led on a tour of the abundant cheap rehearsal spaces, studios and venues. On the way home they will make a music video on the bus. P Van‘s escapades will be documented on a  website and regular compilation DVD’s.

team: Jon Rubin, Jonathan Greene, Issac Kwon, Arthur Azoulai, Constance Vale & Angelina Gonzalez.

20 February 2010

A troop of 50 – 100 outgoing, good-looking creative people from Pittsburgh travel to events/festivals/adjacent neighborhoods in the target cities once a month.

Imagine you’re living in a city that’s fine but not perfect. You’ve got an itch to move but don’t know where. At a festival you happen to meet a group of people from Pittsburgh. They’re excited about the city, buying old buildings, starting co-ops,  galleries and businesses. They’ve got an infectious renegade spirit and they inspire you. Then the next morning in a Café you meet another Pittsburgher, then another. Slowly, through repeated conversations, the idea of Pittsburgh as a place to live becomes implanted in the minds of people scattered across the city, provoking a mass exodus.

this idea is compiled from the input of from two teams: Dee Briggs, Dana Bishop Root, Sara Blumenstein, Kaitlin Miciunas, Joy Kang, Michael Jeffers & Jon Rubin, Jonathan Greene, Issac Kwon, Arthur Azoulai, Constance Vale & Angelina Gonzalez.

20 February 2010

Harnessing the universal compulsion toward cheap alcohol, this transitory bar will appear in various cities, inviting drinkers in for a few nights only before it moves on again. The exterior is “typical” Pittsburgh; rusted, steel, primary industrial. But once you step inside, the real Pittsburgh reveals itself – brushed steel beer kegs, recycled wooden bar, Pittsburgh prices and a charming bar tender who regales you with tales of Pittsburgh while your beer settles. Each night you’ll find yourself in a different neighborhood, surrounded by projections of Squirrel Hill, Lawrenceville or the Southside. Visitors can take the branded beer glasses, beer mats and napkins home, to remind them that Pittsburgh’s bars beckon.

team: Matt Grey, Joseph Koon, Liam Lowe, Kendra Gaul & Emily Sullivan.

20 February 2010

A series of regular commuter buses in the target cities will be commandeered by a group of Pittsburgh bandits. The bus will be Pittsburgh-pimped, the vehicle’s sides will act as projected screens for Pittsburgh scenes, while headphones hanging from the ceiling (like respirators from an airplane) will enchant the bored commuters with tales of Pittsburgh. Surreptitiously placed riders will casually spread the Pittsburgh word. The bus will move between established commuter routes, targeting determined demographics.

*Or perhaps the bus could simply “Shanghai” commuters and drive them back to Pittsburgh instead of to work.

team: Anne Chen, Josh Welsh, Rob Pffafman, Allen Hahn, Noelle White, Craig Rosman & Nikko Triulzi.

20 February 2010

An anonymous box is installed in all target cities. On the outside an illuminated display counts down to an unknown event. Curious viewers use their cell phones to access a website and vote on a series of keywords which have been chosen to reflect the identity of Pittsburgh. Based on viewer voting the words will randomly combine to create the inspiration for the next event.

For example; Mr. Rogers + Zombies + Rivers =


Actors spill out of the Mystery box, shuffling toward spectators. “Won’t you be my neighbor?” asks a Mr. Rogers Zombie, handing out bottles of three rivers water.

team: Spike Wolf, Mickey McManus, Gary Carlough, Zack Cohen, Liza Langer & Franklin Krouse.

20 February 2010

Version one;

You’re walking down a shopping street in your familiar old city when suddenly you realize that EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED!… All of the names of the stores are wrong, the façades are odd, they’re selling completely different things! You venture gingerly inside and explore versions of the finest of Pittsburgh’s retail outlets, chat to friendly Pittsburgh vendors, and buy the merchandise you would be able to buy if you lived in Pittsburgh. How better to understand a potential new city than by shopping in its stores and owning pieces of it? *

Version two;

This same Pittsburgh street “set” (made from scrim-façades) would be transported, along with the full cast of Pittsburgh characters, on a tour of different cities around the world. A sit-com about Pittsburgh will be shot against this background with the regular inhabitants of each city as the special guest stars. This would be a chance to take Pittsburgh everywhere, creating a brand new documentary form and proposing an internationally populated Pittsburgh.


*This idea would be realized using fake scrim façades, with all the stores in other cities streets temporarily taken over by real Pittsburgh merchandise and salespeople.

team: Jon Rubin, Jonathan Greene, Issac Kwon, Arthur Azoulai, Constance Vale and Angelina Gonzalez.

20 February 2010

The charrettes were a huge success! Over six hours and thanks to the efforts of over 90 participants, our creative teams each developed an idea for how Pittsburgh should pop-up in the designated cities. Read about each idea above…

13 February 2010

Help cityLAB to pop Pittsburgh up in other cities. Join us for a one-day charrette at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture. Designers, actors, architects and artists will work in teams to design a series of Pop Up ideas to describe Pittsburgh.

Not sure what a Pop Up is? Come and find out at 10 am. Creative and itching to design? Stay on and we’ll assign you to a creative team. Curious and got a point of view? Come to the presentations at 2:30 pm and join in the critique. Questions? Email cityLAB. We’ll be working in the College of Fine Arts Building at CMU, Room 214.

We need you!

30 January 2010

30 January 2010