Housing Hong Kong Infographic

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This is pretty much the housing skyline of Hong Kong. A shocking 62% of all Hongkongers lives in a public or private housing estate.

I promised regular updates on the boring city our¬†housing estate research; we’re making progress! One of our articles got accepted as part of the Open Society project of ArchiNed and the Dutch Pavilion at the Architecture Biennale in Venice. It is going to be published early July. To be continued….

Funny… I found out that my research partner Inge Goudsmit is not only a very talented architect but also a real data-cruncherūüėČ we made some nice infographics with all the numbers that were generated. I did this housing skyline yesterday. Like:)?

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The Boring City

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Yesterday I had a wonderful day working on the Housing Estate research project I’m doing with Inge Goudsmit, a very talented architect (OMA Hong Kong). Our key-question: how does the homogeneous typology of housing estates in Hong Kong influence their demography. Are estates and the so called ‘new towns’ simply repetitions of functional containers, filled with one-of-a-kind residents or is there more to it. ¬†What will an area lose in the process of reaching hyper-efficiency? And is there a connection between living in a ‘boring city’ and our psychological state of mind?¬†Why are there for example a lot more suicides in one estate compared to another?

I find it fascinating to gain data on this intersection of architecture and psychogeography. And of course, to find out more about the history of housing estates and (the very well-organised) social housing schemes in Hong Kong. Keep you posted on the results:).

Trends For Freelance Writers

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Will we all be freelancing soon? It was this question, asked in a radio-show, that got to me. People and companies increasingly opt for project-based relationships instead of more permanent ones. An area changing fast in that direction, is the writing industry. I’m a freelance writer myself and I work with a lot of journalists/writers in my graphic jobs. Below some trends that got people talking and will definitely influence freelance writers in 2014.

1. Data-journalism: Journalists will shift from hunter/gatherer style to a mode of interpreting big data. Before, when information was scarce, most efforts were devoted to finding the actual story. That is changing rapidly since data-sets become available to anyone now. Getting the information is not the problem anymore, but processing it is more important than ever. The role of writers? They are interpreters, who are able to give the, much needed, sense an structure in the never ending flow of data.

2. Visual storytelling:¬†We can help people process data not only by making interpretations, but also by focussing more on¬†presentation.¬†Visual tools are must-haves these days in communicating what’s important and relevant to the consumer. More infographics and¬†data visualizations¬†are shown in traditional media and on the web. Very useful to update your skills in that area or… work closely together with designers.

3. Content is King: Companies are becoming publishers. They are creating news websites and other online content as part of their marketing strategies and… they are hiring freelancers to do the work. Whether you call it¬†brand journalism¬†or¬†content marketing¬†the opportunities this trend poses for freelance writers, have never been better.

4. Niche Magazines: Are magazines dead?¬†According to¬†, they’re more alive than ever. He launched¬†870 new titles¬†last year only. Many new titles are niche publications.¬†His advice for writers: specialize as much as you can in certain topics.

5. Writers going Indie:¬†Freelance pay rates are getting lower and lower. Given these conditions, it’s not surprising that¬†journalists are becoming entrepreneurs¬†by¬†launching startups¬†or¬†writer communities, that they write¬†crowdfunded articles¬†instead of selling to a publisher,¬†monetize a blog by charging readers, or give self-publishing a shot. Lots of alternative possibilities out there.