Shannon McElvaney at ESRI is working on a book on GeoDesign -- a growing movement of academics, community planning and development practitioners, ecosystem managers, and geospatial tool developers interested in the nexus between geography, design, planning, ecosystem management and community decision making. Shannon asked PlaceMatters to contribute to the book, asking us a series of questions. In the process of answering the first question "What does GeoDesign mean to you?" i fell in love with the combination of the two words and how they truely captured the range of interests engaging in the GeoDesign conversation.
Here were a couple of my thoughts:
At the GeoDesign conference in San Diego we heard mention of folks at MIT using helium balloons with cameras attached to take aerial pictures. Thinking this was a fabulous idea I decided to find out more and see if this was a technique we could easily incorporate into our projects. The MIT connection turned out to be the MIT Center for Future Civic Media and their partnership with others to create Grassroots Mapping, a project and resource site to encourage citizens to use these balloons to generate maps of communities and their surrounding environment.
Given today it the release date of the new iPhone, I want to talk about something else at Apple the really caught my attention -- their automated customer care. Last week I had to call Apple to find out how to get the sales tax removed from a purchase given our 501(c)3 status. It was a complicated set of questions I needed to ask -- and yet the conversation was as smooth as talking to a live person. It struck me I was getting a sneak preview of something that is going to radically transform how we use technology on a daily basis -- FINALLY.
PlaceMatters has partnered with the National Charrette Institute on a number of occasions, providing trainings and giving panel presentations at conferences. One of our common themes is "High Touch, High Tech Charrettes." During the sessions we talk about the advantages of low tech and when it makes sense to bring in high tech. Below I have embedded a video that is a montage of clips filmed during a downtown revitalization Charrette in Wichita Kansas. In this project, PlaceMatters partnered with Goody Clancy to help residents go through a series of exercises including keypad polling and mapping exercises to brainstorm about the future of downtown Wichita.
In town meetings we use the Internet for a wide variety of uses, from photo walls to display images collected during our WalkShop tours, to brainstorming and voting with our AnyWare suite of tools, to collecting ideas using Google Docs or Google MyMaps at round tables. The latest WiFi cards are making connecting to the Internet possible in places where the Internet normally is not available.
Yogi Berra said that. I also recall someone saying at some conference on smart growth or new urbanism: the more cars sharing the road, the more people get frustrated (hence all the car ads of people driving with no other cars in sight), while the more people on a well designed sidewalk, the more we tend to like it.
This evening my wife, Beth Conover, will appear on a televised panel discussion on "Immigration and Sustainability" aired on Rocky Mountain PBS's Colorado State of Mind, hosted by Greg Dobbs. The panel includes former Gov. Dick Lamm, former Post columnist Diane Carman, and State Rep. Michael Garcia (D-Aurora). An mp3 of the program is already available at the following link.