The INSIDELANDS started off as an architecture project when we were given a prompt and asked to create, explore and resolve in the parameters of the urban backyard. After we decided to create the simulation tool, however, this project has developed into a two winged study.
As I mentioned in my previous note, we decided to take the information I have gathered from my weeks of research and create simulations that allow for community members to gain an idea of what kind of value they can extract from their backyards if they remove their fences. This value could be monetary, civic, environmental or social.
The data that we needed in order to create accurate simulations is available on public data sets; however, the data is disparate and very specific. For example, I can find data on topography and data on fog level in different neighborhoods but the two data sets need to be overlaid in order for me to understand how much fog can be caught on a specific site.
And that’s when I turned to the tech sector. I went to my first ever Civic Hack Night at Code for America in San Francisco and pitched the idea for the INSIDELANDS. Many people were receptive to the idea and excited to join the team. We got two developers, a map maker, and environmental consultant as well as an architect to join our team. The idea is to use existing maps and data bases and overlap them with one another in order to start discovering and visualizing patterns.
The app will take on its own orders and will be shaped as we go along. Many of the team members were interested in extending the context of the app beyond the backyard; some suggesting that we take the fog catchers and place them between lamp posts; that we utilize the rooftop areas more as well. The ideas are great, but they go beyond the breach of the original prompt or posed question for the architectural project, which is why I’ve decided to let the creativity flow freely with the development of the app while also working very restrictively on the INSIDELANDS as an architecture project.
Stay tuned for more updates on the app!