5kits zhao

big ideas.


Our blog is a library of resources and ideas found by us or shared with us by our friends and client network. It’s a collection of articles, radio stories, infographics and videos that relate to our work and broaden our thinking: our favorite content from the internet and beyond. Original commentary gives insight into our process and poses questions about the world inside and outside of the studio.


Green Design

Nearly 60 years after the Interstate Highway act changed the way America traveled, planned and built the cities, towns, suburbs and exurbs where we live, our nation is now seeing another great shift. The car is still dominates our roadways, but more people (especially on the coasts) are moving to urban areas and compact neighborhoods […]

The Landfillharmonic in Paraguay is making music (and Classical at that) out of trash. Inspiration to all upcyclers!

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The US Forest Service has developed an app to help cities quantify the value of their trees. Landscape lovers know that they’re good for climbing, picnicking and napping under, contemplating, watching bud and bloom, and leaning against. But now planners and environmentalists are assigning dollar values to trees and other natural resources to tally up […]

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It’s about labor, environment, obesity, air quality, climate change… Oh yes, and happiness. In his recent note in the Opinion blog of the NYTimes, Marc Bittman points out the real importance of the Slow Food movement. Counter to the suspicion that caring about food is a pastime for elites, Bittman talks with Slow Food’s founder […]

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I was really tickled to hear this conversation between Edward Tufte (the guru of infographics) and Flora Lichtman on NPR’s Science Friday. It’s always a treat to have my divergent interests validated by mass-media productions. Tufte’s musings are about “seeing well”, or forgetting what we assume we know in order to observe what’s actually there. […]

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We’re thinking a lot about ways to dress up a building with exterior graphics. L Studio is honored to work on one of the first sites in the blighted Hunters Point Shipyard that will be visibly improved, albeit simply, in the next few years. If the walls and grounds of the Shipyard could talk, they […]

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I love the NPR Cities Project. Here’s an excerpt from just one of their fascinating stories. As our cities have become more complex the physics embodying their behavior and organization has also become more nuanced, subtle and profound… [The] city becomes a vast interconnected system designed for turning energy into work. Seen through that lens, […]

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More from Richard Florida, champion of the Creative Class: They shop at Urban Outfitters, they drive a Prius and, you guessed it, they love cities. And who can blame them? Would you rather drive 90 minutes to a heat island of concrete parking lots to enter a low-slung, overly-air conditioned office building, or stroll through […]

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In typical California fashion, solar energy companies are finding a way to bring us the very essence of our Golden State in a the form of affordable electrical power. They’ve figured out how to lease the hardware so that we can enjoy cheaper home electricity today without a huge capital outlay. I love the quote […]

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Thanks to KQED’s Climate Watch series and this brilliant illustration.

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