Saturday, October 2, 2010

Taking a CHANCE for sustainability: Green Map System

The Art in Odd Places festival has started! Its opening event last Friday was jam packed as our curators and artists kick off the beginning of a 10 day festival. Check back with us again to see pictures from the event.

For now let's get to know Green Map System, a non profit group empowering  people towards a sustainable future. Their work recognizes "green living" sites along 14th street  by using a specially prepared marker system. They will help us paint a "greener" picture of 14th street during the festival. Markers will all over the 14th street, but don't forget to join them on 10/10/10 @ the 14th street Y to see their findings and help create new icons markers.

Aiop: Tell us about your group

(photo courtesy of Wendy Brawer)
GMS: Green Map System is the eco-cultural nonprofit behind a worldwide sustainability mapping movement. In over 700 cities in 55 countries, visual representations of the community's progress toward sustainability are being created using collaboratively designed universal Green Map® Icons and adaptable and interactive mapmaking resources. Each Green Map highlights local culture, nature, social and green living resources to help people get involved and make their home place a better, greener and healthier place to live. NYC's Green Map is the original edition that sparked the global movement – find out more at

Aiop: How did you hear about Art in Odd Places?

GMS: From our neighbors at the Laundromat Project

Aiop: What made you decide to submit a proposal for the Festival?
GMS: Organizing our contribution to Art in Odd Places took place collaboratively. QueensNY Green Mapmaker, Carlos Martinez (formerly a staff member at our global office) is a photographer and has taken part in the Laundromat Project. He started generating ideas right away, and said "This is the perfect venue to test green site markers that will allow urban explorers to identify green sites in the real world". I agreed - let's take a chance and reach a new audience!

Then Boram Park, our intern from South Korea, scouted 14th Street – there were lots of green sites we had not mapped before! She took photos of each and then, together with Té Baybute, our designer, we planned a way to involve our global network and achieve something we had discussed many times – a test of concept for a marker system that would help people on the street connect with surprisingly green sites and spaces, without the need for our mobile website, iPhone app or even a printed Green Map.

Green Mapmakers from 9 countries are currently designing markers for the 20+ sites we will highlight, from 1st Ave to the Hudson River. We hope festival-goers – and everyone else - will explore the street and find each marker then click and vote for their favorite design. This mobile website will be available starting 10/1/10. Find background info now at

And thanks to Petrushka Bazin and Yaelle Amir, we will hold a culminating event on the last day of Art in Odd Places at the 14th Street Y. It's 10/10/10, which is's Global Work Party, so we are hosting an community climate icon design studio from 1-4 pm that day.

We hope everyone interested in sustainability and a healthier future for all will contribute a few powerful concepts and sketches that extend our set of award- winning Green Map Icons. As seen at, they are used on hundreds of locally created Green Maps, so having fresh input regarding symbols for climate impacts and adaptation will be terrific! So, come to AIOP, and our 10/10/10
event and find out more, share ideas, vote on the green site marker designs, enjoy refreshments donated by Angelica Kitchen and others, and take home a Green Map.

Aiop: How is the preparation coming along for your piece this October?

GMS: Pretty good! we have a blog up at - it's linked to the marker design polling site which will go live on 10/1/10. It's mirrored at - Tweets @greenmap to come!

And as mentioned, we have Green Mapmakers taking part by designing green site markers, including Andre Guilherme, Brazil - Cindy Kohtala & Kavita Gonsalves, Finland - Gautam Naido, India - Elanto Wijoyono, Indonesia - Ana Mestre, Portugal - Philip Todres, South Africa - Boram Park, South Korea - Yelu & Jen Pei Wang, Taiwan - Té Baybute, Massachusetts - Rick Loduha & Barbara Hardy, Michigan - Jenna Giambalvo, New Jersey and  Wendy Brawer, New York.

Green Map System Team (photo courtesy of Wendy Brawer)

Aiop:What's your favorite spot on 14th street?
GMS: There are many – and because of the special Green Map markers we are creating, these
spots will also be apparent to festival-goers.

Aiop: Do you have a hidden talent you would like to share?
GMS: We know how to 'think global & map local' !

Aiop: Any message to the people who will be in 14th street during the festival?

GMS: There are ways to make more sustainable choices all around us. Take a chance to become part of the solution, today & every day. Find out more at

Aiop:What should people expect from your project during the festival?

GMS: Spot our markers, and learn about the green attributes of each spot. Then, rate the markers' design! Give us your ideas for new climate-change related icons at our 10/10/10 Global Work Party: Green Map Icon Design Studio @ 14th Street Y (1-4pm)!

Aiop: What's your lucky number?
GMS: 101010

Aiop: Write a fortune that would appear in a fortune cookie
GMS:Find new directions to a sustainable future with Green Map!

Aiop: What's the strangest encounter that you've had as pedestrian living in New York

GMS:Loving the city as a Green Mapmaker means being alert for new approaches to a climate-savvy socially just economy, wildlife appreciation and special places – so whether we are on foot, on a bike or getting around another way, we are constantly experiencing fresh perspectives... it's not really so strange, but the city is full of
surprising jewels to cherish!

Aiop: What do you hope to bring to the festival?

GMS: The chance that festival-goers will gain a sense of sustainability

Aiop: Where is Green Map System located?

GMS: Green Map 'lives" in the East Village – we sometimes say 'on a small island nation halfway between the US and Europe' or in the Hudson River Valley Bioregion, North Western Hemisphere

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