Studio630 is the research blog of Kyle Rogler. This blog posts articles of work in architecture, urban design, technology, culture, and programming that currently influence me. Currently stationed at BNIM Architects.
Recent Tweets @
Posts tagged "Kansas City"

How to Kick Silicon Valley’s Butt

Guy Kawasaki wrote this piece on his blog on things cities can and cannot do to improve entrepreneurship and innovation. Here are a few things that Kansas City can do, read the rest of the article here:

"Stuff You Can Do Jack About

  • Focus on educating engineers. The most important thing you can do is establish a world-class school of engineering. Engineering schools beget engineers. Engineers beget ideas. And ideas beget companies. End of discussion.

    If I had to point to the single biggest reason for Silicon Valley’s existence, it would be Stanford University—specifically, the School of Engineering. Business schools are not of primary importance because MBAs seldom sit around discussing how to change the world with great products. Mostly they care about how to get interviews at multi-nationals and consulting firms. As my mother used to say, “Best case, engineers give buildings. Best case, MBAs endow chairs.”

    On a tactical level, this means that aspiring regions should raid the best engineering schools. What do associate professors at Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon make? Whatever it is, offer them double the amount to move. Be clever: how hard could it be to recruit top flight faculty to move to your beautiful (but not gorgeous) region if you conduct interviews at MIT in the winter? This is a trivial expense compared to the various incubator, tax treatment, and venture capital fund formation schemes that are the usual solutions to the challenge.

  • Encourage immigration. I am a third-generation Japanese American. My family moved here to drive a taxi and clean white people’s homes. If I had a choice between funding someone from a family who moved here from Vietnam whose father and mother run a 7-Eleven versus a descendant of a Mayflower passenger with “IV” in his name, I’ll give you half a guess as to my preference. You need to encourage smart, hungry, and aggressive people to immigrate from around the world. And to do that, you need good schools. To mix several metaphors, if you want to cover your ass, you need to open your kimono because trust-fund kids don’t make good entrepreneurs.

  • Send the best and brightest to Silicon Valley. I can hear the complaints already: “This will lead to a brain drain which is exactly what we are trying to prevent.” This attitude misses the essence of entrepreneurship: it’s not about preventing bad things, but fostering good things. Would it have been better for Hawaii if Steve Case had become a lawyer at his father’s Hawaii law firm instead of moving to the mainland and creating AOL? I don’t think so.

    The goal is to infect them with the disease called entrepreneurship and show them that there can be more to life than “a job;” that two guys/gals in a garage can change the world; and that a lot of money = millions of dollars. Sure, some people will never return—like me. But those who do return come back with a much broader perspective on what life and a career can be. Maybe they will build another Silicon Valley because they’ve seen it done before. Here’s a dirty little secret: Silicon Valley is more a state of mind than a physical location, and you can’t alter a state of mind by staying a home.

  • Celebrate your heroes. Every region needs its heroes. These folks take role modeling to an extreme; they have names like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Steve Case, Anita Roddick, and Oprah Winfrey. Kids need heroes, so that they can say, “When I grow up, I am going to be the next Steve Jobs.” In many places, a successful person is pulled back down because of jealousy. Sure, there’s jealousy in Silicon Valley, but our way of dealing with it is to try to outdo the person, not pull her back down.

  • Forgive your failures. There is no better place to fail in the world than in Silicon Valley. (Where else can you get your clock cleaned by Microsoft and become a venture capitalist and top-ranked blogger?) Indeed, some people here have made a career of failing. Some of this is cultural—failing in Europe or Asia casts a cloud over one’s family for generations. Not in Silicon Valley. Here, it doesn’t matter (within reason) how many times you fail as long as you eventually succeed. So many entrepreneurs who failed went on to create massive successes that we’ve learned that failure is a poor predictor of future results.

  • Be logical. Make the challenge to create a Silicon Valley as easy as possible. Thus, a region should use it’s natural, God-given advantages. For example, aquaculture in Hawaii, security technology in Israel, alternative fuels in the Midwest, and solar power in the Sun Belt. There’s a reason why the best woolen sweaters come from Norway and the best Aloha shirts come from Hawaii. It’s not because people tried to buck the trend.

  • Don’t pat yourself on the back too soon. Many regions declare victory because Microsoft, Sun, or Google opened a branch office. These branch offices don’t hurt but don’t kid yourself into thinking that the existence of a branch office means that you are now a tech center. Truly, a region is a tech center when its companies open branch offices elsewhere, not when tax incentives and kowtowing got a company to open up a branch office in it.

  • Be patient. There is nothing short-term in these recommendations. I estimate that creating something that begins to look like Silicon Valley is at least a twenty-year process. This is certainly longer than most politician’s reign—mdash;hence the challenge of doing the right things for the long run.”

"You can change everything about your house except the location," the old adage goes. The owners of Modern on Meadow loved everything about their Leawood neighborhood. It was the house that needed changing. The couple desired spaces that were open, modern and bright, and their 1950s single-story ranch home afforded them none of these things.


We set out to renovate it to fit their lifestyle. When it became clear early on that the program they needed wouldn’t fit inside the existing footprint, the renovation became an addition.

Read More

via hufftprojects:

Be a Player - Crowdfunding the Kansas City Bike Share

There is one day left to raise funds for new bike share stations in Kansas City.

Go to the B-Cycle campaign to donate to the cause.

Crowdfunding the Bike Share Revolution in Kansas City

Two years ago on a hot June night in North Kansas City, volunteers and bike advocates gathered on the shop floor of a giant warehouse with stacks of boxes at the back. As the volunteers mingled preparing for the task ahead, Eric Bunch, Sarah Shipley, and Eric Rogers, co-founders of BikeWalkKC, gathered the crowd to inform them of the unique task at hand. Their vision was bold: to transform one of the worst cities for biking into the one of the greatest with a world-class bike share as the catalyst. The goal of the bike share was to construct 90 bicycles that would be part of the new bike share system that would be launching later that year. All of the volunteers were eager to help and after two successful nights all 90 bikes were ready to hit the streets of Kansas City for their debut. It was a story I covered on This Big City  about the amazing power that a local community can have on transforming a city.

A lot has happened in Kansas City since those first 90 bikes were built. A city once devoid of bike lanes is now seeing the construction of the new streetcar line with the second phase being planned and urban pop-up events such as Cyclovia and BetterBlock having shown city leaders the potential of what a revitalized Kansas City can become with sustainable transportation. City plans that call for bike lanes are either being considered for implementation or have already been painted in. There is incredible optimism in the air, in part, thanks to the leadership of BikeWalkKC and the change that the B-cycle Bike Share program has had on the city. With over 9,500 trips in the past two years, B-cycle users have traveled over 30,000 miles offsetting 30,000 pounds of carbon. The bike share has been instrumental in providing local groups with bicycles for tours and sponsoring bike events like the local Tour de Bier that continues to build Kansas City’s bicycle culture. The success of the bike share system now has BikeWalkKC expanding the bike share network to the neighborhoods surrounding downtown Kansas City.

The expansion comes from BikeWalkKC’s early business plan, developed with their sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, two years ago to ensure that the bike share would be able to sustain itself. “B-cycle has chosen to expand now to make the most of a resurgent Kansas City.” says Sarah Shipley, “Bike share has played a big part in recent revitalization in Minneapolis, Chicago, and elsewhere, where it has filled in a gap in local transportation networks: Bike share is for those situations when we need something more convenient than driving and finding parking but faster than walking or taking the bus. B-cycle wants to ensure this benefit comes to neighborhoods, not just the big entertainment districts.” BikeWalkKC has already received federal funding for seven new bike share stations for the southern neighborhoods of Kansas City, one station sponsored by the local philanthropic Kauffman Foundation, and another station is being sponsored by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. These funded bike share stations will help provide much needed bike share stations to the growing neighborhoods south of downtown Kansas City, but BikeWalkKC decided not to stop here. BikeWalkKC had the audacious goal to launch the largest civic crowd-funding to date to bring even more stations to the surrounding neighborhoods of Kansas City.


This heat map shows the bicycle trips taken in Kansas City over the last two years. 

For this ground-breaking campaign, BikeWalkKC turned to long-time friend and local tech start-up was developed as a crowd-funding site specifically designed to help support civic projects and community initiatives. “Unlike most bike share systems around the world, Kansas City B-cycle is locally owned and operated. We would like to keep it that way. That’s why we’ve turned to the community to raise funds for our expansion.” Sarah Shipley noted on why B-cycle choose to launch a campaign on The campaign will fund additional bike share stations for other neighborhoods such as Westside, the historic Brookside neighborhood to the south, and the historic Jazz District of 18th and Vine. If the campaign is successful, this will be the largest civic crowdfunded project to date and radically transform Kansas City’s public transportation infrastructure.

Each neighborhood has its own page under the master campaign. This is in part to a strategy BikeWalkKC has implemented since the beginning of the bike share operation. When the first 90 bicycles hit the streets, they were equipped with a GPS to track the bike’s movement and location through the city. While helping prevents thefts, its main intent was to track where the most demand for new stations would be in the future. Tracking a year’s worth of data revealed key nodes where people would often travel to that did not have bike share stations and those locations were integrated as a part of the campaign.

The individual pages for each location also allow for the various neighborhoods to develop their own campaigns within their communities to bring civic infrastructure to their location. “In this way, everyone has a little piece of the pie…When all of this is over, when we have our bike-share system, we’ll have worked for this as a community” says Sarah Shipley. It is this community aspect that BikeWalkKC takes great pride in and is reflected in the support the community has for its bike share.

You can check out the progress of the campaign on BikeWalkKC’s page on With about a month left in the campaign, BikeWalkKC still has a way to go but the future looks bright.

by Kyle Rogler

via ThisBigCity

The projected shift from single-family to multifamily living will likely have many large, long-lasting effects on the U.S. economy…Similarly, the possible shift toward city living may dampen demand for automobiles, highways, and gasoline but increase demand for restaurants, city parks, and high-quality public transit. Households, firms, and governments that correctly anticipate these changes are likely to especially benefit.
Kansas City Fed senior economist Jordan Rappaport, “The Demographic Shift From Single-Family to Multifamily Housing” | Read more about it on the Wall Street Journal’s economics blog, 1/7/2014 (via atlurbanist)
GPS data shows where B-cycle members ride around Kansas City
Bike share is taking transportation planning to a whole new level! With GPS on every B-cycle, bicycle travel patterns can now be visualized and analyzed in new ways. City planners, traffic engineers, and advocates have powerful new information about where people are biking, and where to focus resources and investments for new infrastructure, traffic enforcement, and education.

GPS data shows where B-cycle members ride around Kansas City

Bike share is taking transportation planning to a whole new level! With GPS on every B-cycle, bicycle travel patterns can now be visualized and analyzed in new ways. City planners, traffic engineers, and advocates have powerful new information about where people are biking, and where to focus resources and investments for new infrastructure, traffic enforcement, and education.

Back in 2012, BikeWalkKC started out with 90 bicycles built by volunteers and 12 stations downtown with the vision of creating a world-class bike share network in Kansas City (A story I covered in Kansas City Residents build their Bike Share Scheme on After two very successful years, BikeWalkKC is expanding its bike share network to the neighborhoods surrounding downtown Kansas City. With federal funding for 7 new bike share stations, 1 station sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation, and another station sponsored by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art the southern neighborhoods of Kansas City will be a new destination for the expanding bike share. Yet it does not stop there, BikeWalkKC is using the civic crowd-funding site to fund additional bike share stations to neighborhood to the west like Westside and Westport, the historic Brookside neighborhood to the south, and the historic Jazz District of 18th and Vine. If the campaign is successful, this will be the largest civic crowdfunded project to date and radically transform Kansas City’s public transportation infrastructure.

Spread the word to your friends and colleagues about the campaigns and donate at

We were promised flying cars…so where are they?

We may not be too far from the stuff of sci-fi fantasies. In this fascinating talk at TEDxKC, designer Jared Ficklin introduces a new type of transportation: high-speed urban cable cars that run on wires above the ground. Modeled after ski lifts, these fast, energy efficient cable cars reduce traffic, save cities money, and help everyone avoid a heinous morning commute. We’d swap New York’s jam-packed subways for these flying pod cars any day. 

Watch his whole talk here.

via tedx:

Mod3rnConcepts is an emerging sustainable furniture design company based in Kansas City. The company is committed to creating repurposed, handcrafted furniture and products. My friend is the director of design and has been working on some really interesting pieces over the last couple of months.

 Mod3rnConcepts has recently launched a kickstarter campaign to fund their vision and first product, the Imperfect Beauty tablet stand. The intent of the stand is to encourage and educate citizens to think about sustainable and local product design in Kansas City. By taking a much needed product in today’s world, they have developed a version with less of an impact on our planet. The are 3 concepts for the 100% recycled solid wood phone and tablet stands, each with their unique qualities and appearance. The launch is to help build the infrastructure for the company to run by purchasing tools and hiring additional man power to develop new future concepts. 

By donating just $20, you will help them realize their vision and receive the Concept 001 stand (and the company is shipping all over the U.S.). Please donate by following this link and tell your friends about this amazing company.


Solid Wood Stand Concept: 001

Imperfect Beauty
  • Charging slot
  • Pocket size friendly
  • Magnets for ease putting together and taking apart
  • Assortment of (9) stains to select from
  • (3) finish types
  • Lightweight
  • Dimensions: Closed = 8” x 3 1/2” x 1 1/2” Open = 5 1/2” x 3 3/4” x 7 1/4”

Solid Wood Stand Concept: 002

100% Recycled Wood
  • Pocket size friendly
  • Magnets for ease of putting together and taking apart
  • Assortment of (9) stains to select from
  • (3) finish types
  • Lightweight
  • Dimensions: Closed = 7” x 3 1/2” x 1 1/2” Open = 7” x 3 1/2” x 6 1/2”

Solid Wood Tablet Stand Concept: 003

100% Original Design
  • Magnets for ease of putting together and taking apart
  • Assortment of (9) stains to select from
  • (3) finish types
  • Lightweight
  • Dimensions: Closed = 7 1/2” x 5” x 4”

Made in Kansas City Initiative

My friends at have recently started an Indiegogo campaign to support their new initiative to help bring together and celebrate the products that are made locally in Kansas City.

They are seeking funding to take their organization to the next level. They need to take the next year to find local products and build them into an app that people can use to find their favorite local products and where they’re available. Funding raised here will go to that work and the establishment of the 501(c)(3) statues need for them to continue to grow and operate as a not for profit.

If you love supporting local business, please support these guys in helping to brand local products in Kansas City.


Made in Kansas Initiative

The next Better Block KC is coming Friday, October 4! Stay tuned for more details!

via betterblockkc:

It’s tough work being a local government in the United States these days. Cuts in federal and state grants, stagnant tax bases and diminished borrowing continue to produce budget shortfalls. The result has been a downward spiral for many of our nation’s communities.

At, our mission is to help these communities continue to pay for these civic projects by leveraging the power of crowdfunding and other sources.

Crowdfunding for civic projects — this is pretty cool. Read more on the Knight Foundation blog. (via sunlightcities)
Kansas City is on the verge of investing in several rail transportation projects. At this critical juncture, the Kansas City metropolitan region has the opportunity to develop a new vision of its future.
Transform Kansas City is a new project asking residents for ideas to improve their city. We love it so much we’re hosting a tweetchat inspired by it. Come join us! (via thisbigcity)

(via thisbigcity)

El Dorado brings Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Echo Ridge Community to Topeka, Kansas

Echo Ridge in Topeka, Kansas is an innovative and sustainable community-based affordable housing project by El Dorado, Inc. El Dorado was hired by the Topeka Housing Authority to create two sustainably designed duplexes and a community center under a tight budget to receive tax credits. They came up with a stellar set of buildings that won several AIA awards and Residential Architect Design Awards in 2012.

Boulevard Brewing Company Cellar 1 Expansion / el dorado

Boulevard Brewing Company desired a fast-track process for design and construction for an expansion project that would add (8) 40’-0” tall tanks to a 15’-0” tall existing structure. The tanks, planned for the production of hops beer, needed to be accessed 24 hours a day to regulate the addition of ingredients. BBC selected a project team assembled by an architect-led design-build delivery process to execute a complex assembly of components within very tight quarters. From the onset of the design process, the architect-builder had to plan the project to allow all adjacent space to remain open throughout construction.

During Schematic Design, the architect-builder discovered an underground river within a 1920’s culvert running under the north corner of the existing structure. The architect embraced this constraint, allowing historic infrastructure to shape the new expansion into a dynamic form that directly engages a busy intersection emerging from a nearby train overpass. The Cellar One Expansion serves dual functions. It provides a functionally sound, naturally illuminated space for the new tanks. The expansion also rises as a celebrated light monitor, providing natural illumination to existing adjacent brewing space below. Careful placement of perforated screening eliminates unwanted heat gain from the brewing process.