A neighborhood-scale Lego model of new bus transit modules from the MIT Media Lab's Changing Places group.
Ariel Noyman/MIT Media Lab A neighborhood-scale Lego model of new bus transit modules from the MIT Media Lab's Changing Places group.

To get the public more involved in the urban-planning process, particularly with regard to the effects of new transit routes, MIT researchers are playing with Legos. More specifically, a team from the institute’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places group, along with the Barr Foundation, used the ubiquitous plastic building blocks to create a massing study of Boston’s Dudley Square neighborhood, upon which it is projecting details such as green space, water features, and traffic flow to help residents better understand how new bus transit lines could impact city-wide access to jobs. “The platform lowers the threshold of participation because every kid knows how to move a Lego piece,” Phil Tinn, a MIT master’s student working on the project, told CityLab. The project has three elements, all based on publicly available data: the Lego model of Dudley Square, a 3D model of a Boston street, and a touchscreen interface that shows the impact of the proposed transit plans on a regional scale—for example, how many local jobs can be accessed from a single point using public transit, and whether adding additional transit routes will result in access to a greater number of jobs. [CityLab]

ICYMI: Four key questions guiding technological innovation in design and construction. [ARCHITECT]

Disney assembled 500 Stormtroopers on China's Great Wall to promote the latest Star Wars franchise film as part of an attempt to make it available to box offices in that market, which is on track to be the world’s largest by 2020. [The Guardian]

The quest continues to develop an autonomous robotic builder for the jobsite. The latest news comes from architect Matthias Kohler of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zurich, who worked with researchers there to develop a 'bot that can assemble brick-like building components into a pre-designed structure. [Reuters]

The most important material-supply shortage you’ll hear about in the fourth-quarter of 2015: Legos. [Quartz]

The White House wants standing desks—$700,000 worth of them—and it has very specific criteria on form and function. [The National Journal]

This precision knife is ready for its closeup. 
Masterlist This precision knife is ready for its closeup. 

The McMaster-Carr catalog isn't known for its aesthetics, but a new blog is making eye-candy of the industrial bits, parts, and tools within by photographing the objects solo. [Core77

LEDs are replacing sodium-halide lamps in streetlights across parts of Brooklyn—and soon, all of New York City—causing one writer to question whether the city is considering factors like color temperature, lamp angles, glare shields, and more importantly public opinion, when updating the fixtures. [The New York Times]

A data-gathering behemoth, Deloitte’s new Amsterdam office building uses 40,000 sensors to track everything from the lights to the toilets. [Fast Company’s Co.Exist]