GrowBot Documentation & Analysis

3, ديسمبر 2010



  • series of public interactive workshops
  • throwing “technologists” and “growers” together to learn from each other and produce something
  • workshops introduce general function of robotic technology in sensors to public, then ask about problems in maintaining and managing local gardens and ideas on how to solve them with self-guiding robots
  • Basically, open, discussion-based forums are held to come up with ideas to integrate robotic solutions into small, local, organic agricultural practices. These ideas are documented and shared among more of the public to generate even more ideas that will eventually bring these solutions into practice.


  • farming
  • Critical Design
  • a series of public and participatory workshops that bring together diverse constituencies to critically think about, discuss and debate, and re-make the near-term future


  • Members of the Public Design Workshop
    • Carl DiSalvo – Digital Media Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech; the “head honcho”
    • Thomas Barnwell – Digital Media graduate from Georgia Tech
    • Laura Fries (“Lady Rogue”) – cook, organizer of events, underground “social butterfly,” blogger; Her background remains a mystery.
    • Thomas Lodato – PhD student in Digital Media at Georgia Tech
    • Beth Schechter – Masters student in Digital Media at Georgia Tech; supporter of “do-goodery”
  • farmers


  • farming
  • a farm
  • a robot factory
  • a man using a computer
  • a booth at a convention


GrowBot incorporates several negotiations which have recently begun to move towards the forefront of discussions of culture and design. The interaction between digital media and the physical world is emerging as an extremely popular subject for speculation; catastrophic intersections between virtual systems and everyday life are emerging as a common topic in popular culture. GrowBot also addresses interaction across human boundaries, with ‘technologists’ leaving the ivory tower for a rare exchange of ideas with agricultural workers.

TechTastic: Additional Research

30, نوفمبر 2010

Below is qualitative research we collected through interviews to offer insight into possible solutions outside of a redesigned floor plan.

Interview with Freshman Dorm Resident

Interview with Freshman Dorm Peer Leader

Interview with Freshman Dorm Hall Director

Interview with Suite Resident

Interview with Suite Resident Advisor

Interview with Apartment Resident

Interview with Apartment Resident Advisor

Recycling Research

28, نوفمبر 2010

Recycling facts in the nation:

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) – used when calculating national recycling figures

–        includes common household throw-away items such as food scraps, package wrapping, grass clippings, and even bigger items like an old microwave, sofa, or refrigerator

–        not taken into account = items such as hazardous, industrial, and construction waste

–        U.S. waste reduction improving, but overall MSW continues to rise

–        1980 – 2005 — U.S. MSW generation increased 60 percent = 246 million tons of trash created in 2005; 2 million less than 2004

–         Organic materials make up the bulk of wastes that go into landfills. Around 35% are paper and cardboard, while yard trimmings and food scraps total about 24%

EPA plans to calculate Recycling Statistics every 2 years – last time in 2008

–        Facts & Figures:

–        Data Tables:

–        2007 general data:

  • Recycling, including composting, diverted 85 million tons of material away from disposal in 2007, up from 15 million tons in 1980.
  • Recycling and composting rates recovered 33.4% of MSW.
  • There were approximately 8550 curbside recycling programs active in the U.S. in 2007, compared with 8875 programs that existed in 2005.
  • Container and packaging recycling increased to 40%.
  • 42 million tons of paper products were recycled, approximately 55% of what could be.
  • 64% of common yard waste was composted (leaves, grass clippings, etc)
  • Batteries are recycled at a rate of 99%

–        2005 general data:

  • recycling trends positively increased from 2003
  • Recycling and composting rates recovered 32.1% of MSW (79 million tons). 32.1% is higher than before but still way too low
  • ~8,550 curbside recycling programs existed throughout the United States; lower figure than the 8,875 programs in 2003
  • Composting programs (recycling of leaves, grass, and other organic items such as food) jumped from 3,227 in 2003 up to 3,470
  • Container and packaging recycling increased to 40%
  • 62% of yard waste was composted
  • 50% of all paper products were recycled = 42 million tons
  • 1990 to 2005 – the amount of MSW going to U.S. landfills has decreased by 9 million tons and continues to decrease each year

Competition between states can encourage recycling

–        Electronic recycling programs

  • Oregon has a bottle deposit where you receive five cents back for each bottle you take to a deposit facility. The recycling areas for Oregon are everywhere and are easily accessible in places such as grocery stores.
  • Gallup, New Mexico has a recycling program for plastic bottles where you’re paid one cent for each pound of plastic bottles you recycle

Keep America Beautiful Inc.


–        National volunteer-based community action & education organization dedicated to helping people improve their community’s environment

–        Network of over 1000 organizations

–        Addresses challenges with 3 focus areas:  litter preventionrecycling and waste reduction, and beautification and community greening

Other helpful things:

– – local recycling finder; specific to type also

– – regional as decided by EPA

Recycling across campuses nation-wide:

One of the main organizations that is currently pushing for on campus recycling is called the College and University Recycling Council (CURC) and it began in 1992.  It is a sub-section of the National Recycling Coalition.  The main purpose of the CURC is to help educate campuses about how to recycle and the importance of recycling.  The CURC has provided many initiatives for colleges to initiate recycling programs such as national awards and grants.  The CURC is also a helpful resource for colleges because it provides information about ways to recycle, such as a program where colleges can get contracts with soft drink companies so the company helps pay for can recycling programs.

Other programs have been enacted to encourage colleges to promote recycling on campus; in 2001 a competition was created called RecycleMania.  The challenge was to see which campus recycled the most and had the least trash, proportionally over a 10-week span.  The competition has grown rapidly since 2001, beginning with 2 schools and now up to 510 in the 2009 competition.  Programs like these are helping to get college campuses interested in recycling.

Waste reduction programs on campus are not just limited to recycling aluminum cans and plastic bottles, however, many campuses are coming up with innovative ideas to cut down on food waste, paper waste, and other on-campus items that could be reused instead of thrown away.  Campuses have made simple changes, like offering documents and news bulletins online rather than printing handouts and flyers.  Many schools, including Georgia Tech have made two-sided printing the default setting on printers to cut down on paper waste.  Other ideas for conservation include a program enacted at the University of Wisconsin known as the Solid Waste Alter-natives Project Shop (SWAP); unwanted furniture and office supplies are collected on campus then swapped with other universities.  This innovative idea follows the thought that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and takes this idea to the university level.

One of the main ways campus recycling is being promoted is through online resources and grassroots campaigns where environmentally-conscious students can go to get information about how to enact recycling programs at their own schools.  Programs like the Grassroots Recycling Network or Zero Waste aim to provide resources to help students encourage recycling on their campus.

Student Interview: Caroline Swartz

>What university or college do you attend?

> University of Miami

> Do you recycle on a normal basis?
> Yes
> If not, what holds you back?
> n/a
> Are you familiar with the recycling options your school has to offer?
> Yes, we have recycling bins around campus.
> Does your school keep you informed on how and where to recycle?
> For the most part, I feel informed. I have seen the bins at various locations around campus and flyers and posters promote students to participate.
> Do you feel like there is incentive for you to recycle at your school?
> Apart from helping the environment, nothing else is offered. It just makes you feel good and like you helped.

Read the rest of this entry »

Field Research Innovation Project

28, نوفمبر 2010

Alternative Sustainable Transportation


Jason Leonard, Chris Sovchen, Kyle Jennings

Field Research

Each member of our team conducted various field activities. Jason investigated transportation via MARTA trains and busses. Kyle investigated transportation via walking and scooters. Chris investigated transportation via cars and bikes. We also asked some people using these methods for some extra opinions.


1. How often do you use these methods of transportation?

2. Is it efficient?

3. Does it affect you or others? (Bystanders, the environment, etc)

4. If you could improve this method what would you do?



  1. I use this everyday to get to and from classes.
  2. This method is efficient for getting to and from places that are close together. Far distances take much too long to get to and way too much effort.
  3. Besides when it is really hot outside or super cold, it’s nice to walk to and from class. It gives you a breath of fresh air and some time to relax.
  4. This method requires no improvement whatsoever.


1. I use this method one to two times a week to get across campus or to the CRC.

2. It is very efficient, I am able to get where I am going quickly and easily.

3. This method pollutes the environment as it uses a gas motor. It is also very loud and sometimes scares bystanders. It also annoys some people because you zoom around them.

4. If I could improve this method I would probably replace the gas motor with an electric motor. I would also put in designated paths for scooters.



1.  I use this method of transportation about 3 to 4 times a week.

2.  It is easy extremely easy and efficient to get to class. It also allows me to get some exercise.

3. People are walking are often annoyed by bikers “Hogging” the sidewalk and cars also get annoyed but other than that it doesn’t affect anyone.

4. I would want more bike racks around Atlanta. Also, the building of more bike paths on the roads and streets.


1.  I use a car about 4 times a week when picking up fraternity brothers or just having a long distance to travel.

2. I hate driving in Atlanta; the roads are extremely confusing as I am not from here. Also, the traffic is horrendous.

3. Besides just being another car on the road and making the city more crowded it doesn’t affect anyone.

4. I would want to somehow make a benefit for carpooling possible also maybe more parking.



1.  I use MARTA everyday to get to school.

2.  MARTA is extremely easy for me to use. I get to school on time everyday because of it. It’s cheap and I don’t have to drive.

3. No

4.  More trains running at the busier times in the day. I sometimes just miss my train and am stuck waiting for another.


1. I use the busses after I get off MARTA to get to school.

2.  The busses are also very easy to use. I simply get at the MARTA station and it takes me right where I need to go. It is a very efficient system that the city has in place.

3. No

4. Nothing I can think of.

Dijon- MARTA employee

1.  I walk to the MARTA station near my house and then get on MARTA to get to the station I am working at that day. It is usually the North Avenue Station.

2.  MARTA is very efficient we move thousands of people through Atlanta each day. This allows people to cut back on their transportation costs and is also an easy way for people to get through Atlanta without a car. It is also helping reduce some of the pollution in Atlanta as people use the MARTA instead of cars.

3. No, MARTA if anything makes life easier for residents as it is a way for them to travel around the city.

4. At the moment we really don’t have anything to improve upon. The system is about efficient as it can possibly be.


1.  I use my bike everyday to get to and from class.

2. It is very easy for me to walk out of my apartment and get on my bike and go to class. It saves me the time of having to go get my car and then trying to find a parking space.

3. People just get annoyed with bikers but they need to learn that we also have a spot on the road.

4. More bike paths!!


1. I originally used my scooter just for fun, but have found it to be one of the easiest ways to get to class.

2. It is very efficient as my scooter is small enough for me to fold up and take to class.

3. People sometimes get angry with me as I whizz by them but that’s about it.

4. Nothing really.

Jarred -Busses

1.  Not only do I use the MARTA busses to go throughout Atlanta, but I also use the Georgia Tech busses to get to class every day.

2. The bus system here is very efficient I can take a bus right to the building I have class in. I also save a lot of money on gas that I would normally have to use.

3. No.

4. Nope.


1. I use my car about once a week to get back to my house and see my family.

2.  Parking here stinks but other than that it’s a pretty efficient way of transportation. I am used to all of the traffic as I have lived here my entire life.

3. In the sense of pollution I guess I would be putting my fair share into the environment but that’s about it.

4. Just more parking and the widening of a couple streets.

When we compiled our experiences we found that MARTA is very efficient if you are near a station and where you are trying to go is near a station. The busses were also efficient but can get delayed in traffic, be crowded, and don’t always hold the friendliest people. Walking is very efficient if your destination is very close, but is a bit time consuming. Scooters are also very efficient in getting to where you need to go except they are loud, are stolen frequently, and require either gas or plugging in at night. Chris found that cars are also efficient except he found many problems. Traffic in Atlanta is terrible, he is also unfamiliar with the roads as he is not from here, and it can be very hard to find a parking spot. Bikes worked great. You can go anywhere on a bike, they provide a great source of exercise, and as long as they stay locked up they usually won’t get stolen. Bikes also do not require gas or a charging station; they are environmentally friendly which is what Atlanta needs. Also, you are able to bring the bikes on MARTA or place it on the rack on the front of the bus.

From our field research we found that bikes were the best method of transportation.

We thoroughly researched bike transportation. In Atlanta there are many public bike racks located across the city. All of the MARTA stations have bike racks. Also, many of the large office buildings have bike racks out in front of them. Most of Atlanta’s streets have bike lanes; there are also plenty of sidewalks to ride your bike on. Since 1974, Atlanta has been trying to make the city more bike friendly do the congestion of traffic and pollution. Through our research we have found that some places do community bike sharing or even more improved methods of this.

Furthermore, we discovered that in light of MARTA’s revenue issues they might in fact benefit from this program as well. Not to mention, they are already set up for this type of addition. They already have video surveillance, and a proxi-card that is linked to the owner. Therefore, setting up a bike rental at every Marta bus stop and station would be a sinch. It would also help alleviate passengers bringing their own bikes onto the trains and buses. The major flaw in the previous systems has been vandalization and theft, hence why the video monitoring is crucial. Not to mention, there is already a staff presence, making it a bit easier for bike rental transactions. Our ultimate goal is to incorporate this system on Tech campus, we also have a proxi-card system and a plethora of students without cars or bikes. Furthermore, it could be staffed entirely by students, with some of the proceeds being the main contributor of their pay. So, not only does this system provide green transportation on campus but it creates jobs as well.

Project Research

This idea developed in the Netherlands by Luud Schimmelpennick in the 1960’s. It was called the White Bicycle program it failed quickly as most of the bikes were stolen or thrown into canals. The idea was for the bike to be used for a trip somewhere and then left for someone else to use. This idea has been developed and improved over the last 50 years. It has spread to communities, cities, groups, and college campuses. There are many different categories in this type of sharing. There is unregulated where the bikes are just given out and left for people to be used. There is the deposit method where a deposit is made on the bike and then you get it back when you bring the bike back. The membership method is when you belong to an organization that lets you use the bikes. These are only a few of the methods.

Davidson University
On February 21st, 2001 Davidson released a fleet of 20 new bicycles for faculty and students to use across the campus. This provided transportation to students across the university for free. We chose this example because it relates to the idea of unregulated use. It is a great example because it was one of the first to branch out to college campuses.

>>>>We would like to try and bring a program like this to Tech. Our group believes we have a valid design that would work and be efficient. Who would we go to for something like this?

Velib in France
This program was implemented in 2007 in Paris. Over 20,000 bikes were placed across the city at 1,450 stations. People simply swipe their card and are charged for the bike if it is not returned in time. This is the largest and best example of community bike sharing in the world.

Mystic Community Bikes

This program was started in Mystic, Connecticut. This program provides bikes for the community and maintains them. This is another good example of unregulated use.

Community Bikes in Santa Rosa California
In 2003 this program was started and gave bikes to mentally disabled adults. This program has expanded and trained the adults to also help repair the bikes. This example is specific to a group of adults and without this they would have never had the opportunity to experience anything like this. It brings the community closer together and also reached out to people less fortunate than most of society.

Along with the original idea we already posted on the website we have a couple more.

Another idea would be unregulated use of the bikes but we fear that this would fail miserably as it has before in the past.

Similar to the other system we posted on RAND. This method of bike sharing would be one where everyone who wants to participate in the program would buy a bike and place it into the system. This would give members more incentive to take care of the bikes in the system as they own a piece of the system.

LIFEHACKER.COM is a weblog that allows users to search for videos, instructions and step-by-step tutorials about many computer related questions they may have.

It is set up where you can search for exactly what you’re looking for, or you can simply scan through article headlines and such to find something that interests you. The homepage contains some of the new and popular how-to articles.

This website is not your typical design, but it is definitely something that is used consistently nowadays. Many people find this website a lot more helpful than, say, a book, and a lot more inexpensive than having a professional fix your computer problems.


Utility vs Price- This website is, of course, useful: thousands of people solve their problems using it everyday. As of now, it is completely free to use, but should people have to pay to use it? Designers probably made the right decision on this one: I, personally, wouldn’t pay very much if any money at all to use something that I could possibly just Google online. Having all the information in one convenient place is very nice, but not for a price.

Online vs Offline- Most people have computers nowadays, or at least access to one, so having this website online is the best option for reaching as many people as possible. If it were offline, maybe having all these tutorials in a book, not nearly as many people would make use of it. An important concept today is having things paperless; not just to keep things eco-friendly (another reason why this website is a plus) but because having this be a website instead of a book makes it much more accessible to users.

Public versus Area-focused- Another reason this design is a good one is because anyone can use it. People want something they don’t have to sign up for or pay for, which is exactly what is: a free, no sign up necessary weblog. This makes it trouble free and a lot more appealing to users.


Eco-friendly design- is completely paperless and uses not man-made materials, so it does not harm the environment.

User-friendly design- This website is easy to use, helpful, and free to all who use it, making it a first choice to computer users with questions.

This design is something that is meant to help people, and along with helping its users, also helps the environment: a priority now. The negotiations I chose to discuss were the ones I found most important to the design of this website, and the taxonomies were the two main ones I thought the most prominent.

Defend New Orleans: Assignment 1

25, نوفمبر 2010

Part 1:

Defend New Orleans

“Defend New Orleans continues to evolve and maintain relevance. As things continue to decline or remain unimproved, we feel that it is as important as ever to fight for our city at home and to show people around the world what is really going on in New Orleans today. We see no end to the need for Defend New Orleans and no limit to what we can accomplish.”
-Jac Currie

The Organization

Defend New Orleans started in 2003 as a T-shirt design company created by Jac Currie in 2003. Originally, DNO was created by and for friends as a celebration of local pride.  After Katrina, there was a need to guard the city from aggressive homogenizing forces who wished to exploit the city without a care for its intricate history.  It was at this time that Defend New Orleans stepped up as a subversive protest movement. Since then, the purpose of the brand has evolved into preserving the city.

The slogan was never meant to be taken literally, but rather was a general statement regarding the city. The brand has an appeal, especially to the youth of New Orleans, that has united the community by creating a new ‘I Heart NY’ shirt.  The simple desire to make a difference and maintain the culture of New Orleans sparked a passion that caught like fire.  Soon hundreds of bathroom mirrors, walls, and cop cars all bore the now-iconic graphic. Two stores, Turncoats, in the bohemian Lower Garden District, and Rocks Off, a record store on Magazine Street, began carrying the merchandise to an ever-growing base of like-minded locals who were ready to fight back to save their city.

There was a movie created about the maker of DNO called “No Place Like Home”. It is about his first trip back to New Orleans after the hurricane hit.


Defend New Orleans makes money by selling merchandise and then gives all the proceeds to various charities.

Main People Involved

Jac Currie (founder)

Paul Cianciulli (co-founder)

Promoted by Ellen DeGeneres

Drew Stubbs


Defend New Orleans donates to a wide variety of local organizations including: New Orleans Musicians Clinic, Save Our Coast, Renew Our Music, and Sweet Home New Orleans, Habitat for Humanity, the New Orleans Restoration Fund and the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).



Part 2:


Cultural Design

The t-shirts that DNO sells are very culturally aware. As we mentioned in our first post, t-shirts are a huge current fad amongst this generation. DNO also books performers that our generation will appreciate and respond well to.

Social Networking

The purpose of DNO is to make connections amongst the people of New Orleans in order to solve social, economic and cultural issues. DNO makes social connections with vendors, artists, performers and other charities in order to spread their ideas.


Reviving Culture vs. Providing Need

One of the important negotiations of Defend New Orleans is the idea of  reviving the culture and customs of New Orleans versus providing help to residents of New Orleans who are in need.  How should an organization such as Defend New Orleans go about finding a balance between the two arguments?  DNO started as more a statement of cultural support than an actual call to action, but now has grown and developed into an organization that works to promote everything they love about the city of New Orleans.  The Defend New Orleans Blog, is particularly interesting because it is a source of information about events happening in the city, as well as cultural stories about food and traditions.

Awareness vs. Action

Defend New Orleans looks to raise awareness about fading culture in the city, as well as take action to revive the unique culture of New Orleans.  There lies a negotiation in how much money, time, and effort is to be spent raising awareness versus actually taking action.  DNO has combated this issue through selling a variety of  “Defend New Orleans” shirts and other products.  The shirts not only raise awareness when people wear them, but also bring in money so that action can be taken.  A majority of the proceeds from these sales go to sponsoring events to take action and help the people of New Orleans.  Money from the sale of Defend merchandise has aided Bridge House, Tipitinas Foundation, NORF, New Orleans Musicians Fund, Sweet Home New Orleans, and The Gulf Restoration Network among others.  The DNO organization has grown from a small statement of cultural support rather than an actual call to arms, to a community focused lifestyle brand. DNO works to promote the things they love in their favorite

Café Habana

25, نوفمبر 2010

Café Habana was founded by Sean Meenan, well known for his eco-driven lifestyle. Café Habana’s owner is also responsible for the creation of a coloring book titled “Alternative Heroes”. This restaurant is classified as an eco-eatery. The plates are utensils are made of compostable materials like potatoes, sugarcane, and corn. Toilets are flushed with harvested rainwater. The door is recycled from a Latin American monastery. The smoothies are made from a bike-powered blender. The roof is made up of solar panels. Even Sean Meenan’s 1965 Lincoln convertible was converted to run on discarded cooking oil. Not only does the restaurant use sustainable means themselves, but they educate customers and the community about sustainability. While waiting in the restaurant, servers talk about sustainable methods. They also offer weekend programs of arts and crafts for kids. The only time the restaurant uses electricity is, of course, when solar-powered roofs don’t provide energy. Only on cloudy or rainy days does Café Habana use other sources of power. Even then, however, things like a bike-powered blender can be used. Toilets can still be flushed with harvested rainwater. After speaking to a worker from Café Habana, we were able to go more in-depth into the workings of this eco-eatery and discover how much they do in fact promote sustainable methods. Not only do they reach out to their customers, but Café Habana participates in a number of expositions to promote sustainable means of living. At the Earth Day Expo, they work with local businesses and teach others about composting and gardening. Habana Outpost in particular, boasts a thriving business, bringing the community together in more ways than one in their Outpost Market, where local designers and artists unite in a colorful experience.

The negotiations that we’ve chosen to focus on are profit vs. environment and waste vs. recycle. The purpose of the profit vs. environment negotiation is that, instead of a focus on earning the largest profit possible, there is the consideration of things such as discounting items that are made by the customer through sustainable means that allows for a eco-friendly environment. Also, the capital spent at the beginning of the project is greater than the average. In the case of a typical restaurant, the amount of money utilized at the start is less because instead of considering a more “green” energy source, they focus purely on future profits, not thinking of the money that could be saved in using a renewable source of energy such as solar power.  In place of a more traditional means of energy, Café Habana supports itself with its solar powered roof, offering excess energy to its neighbors and saving money on electricity.

Our second negotiation is waste vs. recycle. Obviously this topic is gaining momentum in the world today. Now, people are trying to move away from simply throwing things away and moving towards recycling products. In the spirit of “going green”, Nike created a soccer jersey made of old plastic bottles. In fact, nine World Cup teams were wearing uniforms made of recycled bottles. Just as Sean Meenan has converted his car to run on recycled cooking oil from his restaurant, people are now in search of new ways to recycle and reduce their carbon footprint on the world, and Café Habana is leading these people forward. Instead of disposable plastic utensils, they use compostable materials. Although these are much more expensive for the average person, Café Habana buys them in bulk, making it more cost-effective for them and, once again, making Café Habana more eco-friendly.


24, نوفمبر 2010

Google Buzz is one of Google’s attempts to provide people with social tools to better connect with their friends.  It is, however, only one social network on the internet.

Facebook is one of Google’s prime competitors. In many ways, both companies are fighting for web superiority.  Many new developments each have made are attempts at taking over a service or feature the other boasts of having. Buzz is similar to Facebook’s newsfeed. One of the newest Facebook features, Facebook Messages, has been called a Gmail killer by some, and Facebook’s version of Google Wave by others.

In addition to Facebook, there are many other social networks on the internet. One of the newest ones is Path, a social network based entirely around a smartphone app. Path advertises as a more personal network than others that are available.

Google has blogged about their thoughts on social networking. On the blog, Joe Kraus(Director of Project Management) says

When you live apart, things change. Suddenly it takes effort. It used to take a lot more effort when writing a letter was the primary way to communicate over distance as opposed to email or IM or telephone. But, even with our current technology, it still takes work. As a result, we share less with our friends. And when we do share, we tend to share the big stuff (big shifts at work, major family events like birthdays or school milestones) and leave the small stuff behind. We start to feel less connected because we don’t know the details.

The promise of the social web is about making it easy to share the small stuff — to make it effortless and rebuild that feeling of connectedness that comes from knowing the details.

Because of this focus, Google chose to add specific features to Buzz. They put emphasis on easily sharing any images, videos, updates, and more.  Their official video about this feature talks about how one can easily share and see what their friends are doing, and even customize their feed to show what they feel is important.

One thing that Google did not foresee as a large issue that really hurt them later was the issue of privacy.  When Buzz first launched, it automatically set up every user that chose to use the service with followers and people to follow. It also by default set this list of people as public to anyone who looked at your profile. One of the major problems was that this information was public, and even beyond that your ‘followers’ were automatically made up of people you frequently emailed and chatted with. In addition to this, Google automatically registered every user for Buzz. If they chose to opt out and disable Buzz, people were still able to follow them. This lead to some very angry users(such as this one:, as well as a class-action lawsuit that Google has since settled. These initial mistakes were quickly remedied by Google, but not before the popularity of Buzz plummeted. While a website such as Facebook, where everything a user posts must be added at or after signup, may be able to get away with privacy concerns, the fact that Buzz was automatically connected with Gmail and other Google services created a different user base than that of Facebook, and the privacy violations went well beyond even legal standards.

Additional Sources:


Online communication versus closeness

In a time where a majority of our social interactions take place online, a key negotiation is whether people become closer or farther apart when they can communicate with one another instantly and whenever they want. Although communication is instant, it is not necessarily convenient to a person, especially in this current age, to share every small thing they do, say,  see, and think. Google asserts that the way to combine online communication and closeness between individuals is by looking to the ‘small things’ that individuals share with one another. Buzz attempts to solve this problem by making it easy to share images, location, thoughts, comments, and more. They even include an interface that allows the users to choose which events posted they want to see, and which they do not.

Public versus privacy and security

Privacy has always been a concern online. With the emergence of the social network and the internet, as well as instant communication, being more prevalent in everyday life than ever before, privacy is even more of an issue.  Google’s first mistakes with Buzz’s release highlight this. Is there truly a safe place for information to be stored online? Users who thought they were able to safely store their frequent contacts, stories, favorite blogs and online websites, and more found their information quite public when Buzz was launched.  Most, if not all, social networking websites, as well as many other websites, have privacy settings each individual user is able to set. When a user signs up for a website and chooses their privacy settings, they are setting an expectation for the company that runs the site to keep their information safe. In the case of Buzz, the trust that users put into Google regarding their personal information became misplaced. Is it the user’s fault if their personal information is made public, or is it the website that betrayed the user’s trust that is to blame?

Taxonometric Categories:

Community-Based Design

Buzz classifies as Community-Based Design because it is Google’s attempt to create a social network for its users. It brings people together as a community and allows them to communicate and share with each other.

Online Design

Because it is a website, Buzz has specific negotiations that would not exist if it were a physical source. Privacy and communication concerns become huge issues.

Inner-City Arts

Documentation Classroom


  • Founded in 1993 by public school administrators Bob Bates and Irwin Jaeger
  • Formed partly in response to California’s Proposition 13, which was added to the state constitution in 1978.  It resulted in several tax caps that virtually eliminated arts education from many California public schools.


  • ICA occupied a small, temporary space for several years. This is similar to many other not-for-profits, but it wasn’t conducive to the learning environment ICA was trying to be.
  • Architect Michael Maltzan collaborated with the ICA team to repurpose an abandoned garage in Los Angeles’s Skid Row.  The finished product is described on the website for MoMA’s “Small Scale, Big Change” page, as “employ[ing] a restrained and unified architectural language of simple, abstracted geometries with accents of bright orange, in which student creativity takes center stage. Highly adaptable interior and exterior spaces are intimate yet airy arenas for kids; tArchitecture of campushe main courtyard is a comfortable environment in which to gather, play, and explore, a haven in a neighborhood whose outdoor space is often unsafe.
  • ICA’s building was designed with community in mind; low, bright white stucco walls communicate the openness of the organization to the community and its commitment to upkeep, even on Skid Row.

What do they do?

  • As stated on their website, ICA’s mission statement is: “Inner-City Arts provides elementary, middle and high school students, many living in Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods, with the tools and skills they need to succeed academically and personally.”
  • ICA works in partnership with many Los Angeles area schools to provide school age children with the only art education they will have during the school day. ICA allows students who are most at risk for academic failure (those with Limited English Proficiency, living in high-poverty areas) to experience academic and personal growth.  ICA’s after school program preoccupies students who might otherwise get involved with gangs or other violent activities.

AnalysisStudents on campus

Information that we would need to gather to understand the negotiations

  • We would have to research the architect who designed the campus as well as the neighborhood that the institution is located in.
  • The area is located in the inner city. Inner cities are usually considered rough parts of town, so it would be necessary to gain information on inner cities, such as the education systems in inner cities, drop out rates, as well as the positive effects of inner city programs like this one.
  • We could also look at how the art benefits the children, not only in academics, but also in the fact that the kids will stay away from bad activities such as gangs and drugs.


The Fun Theory: Reassessment

24, نوفمبر 2010

The Fun Theory: Piano Staircase

by teamWill


Incentive and Social Change:

In the past, companies relied on penalties and extra costs to keep customers behaving in a way that is beneficial to the company. This method of thinking created a a chasm and disconnection between people and organizations. As a result, when companies attempted to inspire change for the better – for the environment, society, or individual – the citizens they hoped to inspire ignored them. People adopted the mindset that big companies were out to squeeze every cent from their bank accounts, and were very reluctant to trust these companies if they had a genuine concern. In reaction to this, companies have recently started to give incentives for good behavior instead of penalties for bad behavior. As an example, All State and several other car insurance companies currently offer incentives for not being in a car accident over a specified time. This simple change in approaching the customer has made customers much more willing to trust these companies. As this trust has built, some companies have jumped from encouraging behavior benefitting the company to encouraging behaviors benefitting society. In the Tin Drum Asian Café located in Tech Square, consumers get a discount for choosing a healthier meal option. The unique aspect about the Fun Theory experiment is the seemingly idealistic nature of the project. Each new experiment in the contest has no connection with buying Volkswagon, which is a completely new way of approaching advertisement and social obligation.

Cost and Functionality:

Often a deciding factor in business ventures, the relationship between cost and functionality is a delicate one. If the costs outweigh the benefits of the pursuit, then the idea is often dropped. For decades, cost-cutting in the area of environmental responsibility led to today’s environmentally degraded situation. Often, the benefits of a good idea are unforeseen and unexpected, and this unanticipated aspect of life is not accounted for in the design process of new businesses, products, and ideas. Perhaps part of the beauty in the Fun Theory is its facilitation of a more unassuming mindset. Though not purely philanthropic, the Fun Theory is also not purely business focused. The ideas constructed through the Fun Theory challenge seemed to overlook cost, at least initially, to bring about change.


Activist Design:

This experiment is taking an active role in changing our world. The idea behind the Fun Theory is that fun can inspire change. The Piano Staircase seeks to surprise people who do not expect to see a staircase that they use everyday turned into a functional piano. This will cause the everyday commuters to be thrown off their daily routine of a quiet, faceless commute into something exciting. Curious, the people will want to walk up the piano stairs instead of the escalator, which most of them ride every day.

Community Design:

The concept of the Piano Staircase was conceived out of concern for the community. The community’s issue of choosing easier routes over healthier ones that required exercise was decided as an easily fixed and potentially very beneficial project idea. From start to finish, the design was made for and relied on the community.

Enjoyability Factor:

For the Piano Staircase project to have the desired effect on the community, it had to be enjoyable. Without the factor of enjoyability or fun, no change would have occurred. Travelers would have looked at the stairs and seen a change, but would not have been inspired to change their own actions. The success of this project relied on the enjoyability factor.

Incentive-driven Change:

In Government, there are two main lines of thinking about change. Change can come from the stick method or the carrot method. The stick method pushes citizens to change through fear, force, and punishments. This is very effective, but once the coercion is removed, people rarely continue doing what they were forced to do: they had seen it as a burden for so long. The carrot method gives citizens benefits for good behavior. This method can lead to results even after the incentives have been removed, because the people associated the action with reward. The Piano Staircase takes the carrot approach. By offering the incentive of a fun experience, the Staircase may make people think twice every time they look at stairs, giving the desired effect.

Social Philanthropy:

In the Piano Staircase, no benefit can be seen for the workers and funders of the project. There is no money that seems to be flowing back to them for their investment. Their work, though, overflowed with social repercussions and benefits. This project was basically an outpouring of money for the social good, improving the local community and inspiring others to do the same.

SitBPE | Hannah Williams, Deborah Hudson, Sean Sims, Trey McMillon

The Idea: The New York Street Advertising Takeover (NYSAT) was a project operated by the Public Ad Campaign that set out to better the landscape in which New Yorkers work and live.  The founders and participants of the project considered advertisements in public spaces to be derogatory and a misuse of the landscape.

Many of the billboards and advertisements targeted during NYSAT were unregistered with the city yet received no prosecution. The Public Ad Campaign felt that this failure on the part of the city to take action against the mistreatment of the public’s environment lead to the public’s desensitization to the constant barrage of ads.

NYSAT volunteers whitewashed a number of illegal public ads in the city.  Many of the 120 street level billboards that were removed and replaced with public art were owned and operated by a company known as NPA City Outdoor.

The Goal:

Members of the project were primarily interested in bringing the public spaces in New York City back to the citizens.  Jordan Seiler, one of the leaders of the project from the Public Ad Campaign, has been quoted as saying that the reason for conducting the project was, ” to better the city’s psychological health by improving the environment that those who live in the city or are visiting interact with.”

NYSAT sought to expose the problems that resulted from the NPA’s (and other advertisers’) use of public space as a placard for consumerism. The PAC claims that the NPA’s activities not only physically change the environment created for the public but also take a psychological toll on those who live in the spaces altered by the advertising industry.

The NYSAT’s goal was not solely to condemn the NPA, but also to make known to citizens their ability to contribute to and improve the environment in which we live. The spaces that were returned to their original condition by the NYSAT became, “empty spaces on which the public could project their own thoughts and desires.”

The Project:

The event has been held twice thus far. The first event took place on April 25, 2009, and the second on October 25, 2009.  The April version of the project saw 27 volunteers removing illegal ads across the city, with 50 artists returning to the locations to bring the space back to the people.  In October, the project had grown to nearly 100 volunteers.

Awareness of the project was left to be spread by word of mouth for months before the first event. Both events were carefully organized; Volunteers were divided into teams and assigned specific areas and times to cover.  Activities of the NYSAT were conducted in brought daylight in order to remove any suspicion of the intentions of the project and to also make the public aware of the event. All in all, the volunteers of NYSAT renovated over 200 spaces previously used by the NPA as billboards for advertising. These spaces were not only stripped of the advertisements but also turned into places on which artists were able to express their sentiments and better the environment in which New Yorkers reside.

Between the two events, roughly 10 members of the project were arrested on various charges and a large number of the billboards were reclaimed by NPA City Outdoor within the hour of them being wiped clean. However, the efforts of the NYSAT were intensely documented by photographers to continue the aims of the NYSAT beyond the events held.

Media Coverage of Event

The internet quickly took notice of Seiler’s project, as many blogs posted about the group and put up hundreds of pictures of the newly painted street art.  Soon a few major newspapers caught on, including the New York Times and the Toronto Star.  However, few people outside of New York are aware of the advertising takeover due to a lack of major news coverage.  On an interesting note, the Toronto government took notice of NYSAT’s visit to Canada, and rolled out whitewash teams of their own to help clean up the city.

THE TORONTO STAR–guerilla-action-aims-to-turn-advertising-space-into-public-space?bn=1







Private Sector vs. Public Sector :

The negotiation of the protection of the private sector over the public one is shown through the conflict of the interest of the companies to protect their investment by making the ideas of what they profit from seen everyday by the public and the Public Ad Campaign’s interest in protecting the rights of the citizens to not be illegally bombarded with the ideas of major companies while in a space that is meant to be for their own expression.

Marketing vs.  Expression :

This project addresses a negotiation between Marketing and Expression. While advertisements can be seen as a form of art, their goals are to convince and impose on the consumer not to serve as an expression of values or a means by which to ask a question. Marketing is not a malicious action in itself. However, when it begins to filter through our everyday activities, that is when it becomes an encroachment on our lifestyles and on the way we view ourselves. The founders  NYSAT clearly believed that the NPA’s use of public space as a place for advertisement dimmed down the importance of public expression in the creation of art (versus expression by the things we purchase and consume).

Assignment 1- part 2

24, نوفمبر 2010

As the founder of Clinica Verde specified in her email, there are many concerns that make this project difficult to complete. Mrs. Susan Lyons mentions the struggle of eco-friendly design vs. comfort and utility, as we agreed upon in Part 1 of this assignment. But she also mentions the fundraising aspect of the project, something we had not originally considered as a negotiation.

The taxonometric categories we labeled this design with originally still apply: sustainable, environmental, and community design. But we could also add Donation Design and Societal Improvement to that list of tags.

In order to learn more about the eco-friendly aspect of this design, we will have to delve more into the details of the sustainable qualities of the building.

Which elements of the clinic will be environmentally friendly?

The clinic is completely self-sustainable completely taking advantage of natural day lighting, passive cooling, water conservation, and solar electric energy generation.

What effects on the usefulness of the building and the success of Clinica Verde’s vision would the eco-friendly aspect have?

Directly from their website, under frequently asked questions, one asked, “Why are you building “green” clinics?”

We believe that health should start from the ground up, beginning with sustainable building practices that take a holistic approach to the environment, community and life quality of the people we serve. Sustainable building and design saves energy, protects and conserves natural resources, contributes to a safe, healthy indoor environment, and has a positive impact on the community.

Bill Bylund, the architect of Clinica Verde:

Bill Bylund is architect and principal of Valley Architects. He began his career as a designer at HOK Architects in San Francisco, where he worked on such projects as the Stanford Library, Ryhad Airport and Moscone Center. In 1980 he and partner Tom Faherty founded Valley Architects, whose projects include the Napa City/County Library Expansion, Japan Airlines Flight Training Center, Santen, Inc. corporate headquarters, Towpath Village Expansion and a number of wineries including Domain Carneros, Domaine Napa Winery, Rossini Winery, Villa Francioni Winery in Brazil and Monte Xanic Winery in Mexico. He is a member of or has been active in the following civic groups: The Napa Valley Environmental Design Group, National Trust for Historic Preservation, St. Helena Community Center Group, Urban Design Group, Sierra Club, Napa Land Conservancy and Calistoga Arts Council. He has been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2006. (from

Societal Improvement comes into play when considering the social quality of life in Nicaragua. With a very high infant mortality rate (more than 30 times of the United States) and a staggering maternal mortality rate, Nicaragua is in dire need of social reform.

These charts show the causes of death in children under 5 years old. 100% of the deaths are caused by neonatal deaths, relating to or affecting the infant during the first month after birth. This clinic is designed to educate the women and provide healthcare and supplemental teaching materials. Clinica Verde also focuses on supplying information on what types of foods are safe and good to grow for children.

We would also like to know how the women are going to be able to travel to the clinic. There are few means of transportation available, so the location needs to be fairly easy to get to by foot in order to make this truly a community design. If the community cannot use it, what’s the point?

Clinica Verde is located in Boaco, Nicaragua, having a population around 56,900 people, around 1% of the inhabitants. The terrain throughout the city is very hilly, hence the nickname, “Cuidad de Dos Pisos” (or The Two-Story City). Although the land was donated by the mayor, is this the most ideal place to have a clinic?

please refer to the video from the Assignment 0 post for more details:

NoPark; Assignment 1

24, نوفمبر 2010


EHC logo

The NO PARK green space is a project actualized by the Environmental Health Clinic in New York City.  Rather than addressing health issues like a medical clinic, they work to solve environmental issues brought forth by “impatients.” Patients at this clinic are referred to as impatients because they are too impatient to wait for government action to improve environmental health.  Impatients set up an appointment with the EHC to discuss environmental issues in their area.  Their so-called prescription is data detailing what they can personally do to improve environmental health, and how they can get involved with community action as well.  As well as diagnosing the issues of impatients, the EHC conducts their own experiments and projects.

Natalie Jeremijenko, a renowned contemporary artist and engineer with a background in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience, and precision engineering, currently heads this organization.  She is known for radical ideas and projects involving the environment and social change.  As well as heading the EHC, she is an assistant professor at NYU in the Visual Arts department.  TechTacular learned of the NoPark project through listening to Jeremijenko’s speech, “The Art of the Eco-mind Shift.”

NoPark is a solution to an environmental health problem that is most prevalent in cities.  This project tackles the need for more green space in big cities and the issue of excess pollutants. This project places micro engineered green spaces adjacent to fire hydrants in the no parking zones.  The green space mainly consists of low growth mosses and grasses.  The NoPark zones not only provide more green space but also serve to prevent oily storm water from running into the rivers, stabilize the soil, and be a durable and low maintenance surface cover.  NoPark areas also help clear out road pollutants and work to decrease carbon dioxide levels by sequestering air pollutants.  While these spaces continue to function as emergency vehicle parking, they will now have a greater purpose on the many non-emergency days.


Taxonomic categories

Activist Design, Urban Space Design, Environmental Corrective Design, Micro-Landscape Design, Fire-Hydrant Garden Design

Activist design: Through the Environmental Health Clinic, environmentally conscious people within a community are able to go in and talk to workers of the clinic who can help them figure out ways to remedy their concerns.

Urban Space Design: The designers of this project have used the urban setting to simultaneously address the issues of insufficient green space and excess pollutants.

Environmental Corrective Design: The NoPark project was designed to provide a green solution for the issue of chemicals and toxins in the street flowing into rivers and estuaries.

Micro-Landscape Design: The aspect of increased green space with NoPark involves placing plant life in an area that is generally unused, like no parking zones. Since these zones are small, the idea of miniature landscaping comes into play.

Fire-Hydrant Garden Design: These gardens are planted in no parking zones, which are normally in front of fire hydrants. However, in the case of an emergency, fire trucks or emergency vehicles can park over the gardens and they will still regrow.


Negotiations include: who maintains these green spaces and how they are maintained; how pedestrians and commuters treat these spaces; how the project is financed and who pays what; and where will these spaces exist and for how long

Maintaining the space vs. who should maintain it: These projects are completely voluntary so whoever plans out the projects must have a team that regularly maintains the space. If not, the plants could get out of control, and it would end up looking like a mess of weeds.

Recognizing aesthetic value of a space vs. viewing it as a waste of space: this ties into the maintenance of the project because if the space looks aesthetically pleasing then passersby may recognize that it’s there to serve a purpose or simply respect it because it looks presentable.

Cost vs. Gain: these projects are voluntary, so in order to pay for them the project coordinators have to use funds from their own pocket. This poses a challenge because although the intent is for the benefit of the community, some people are reluctant when it comes to using their money to help a local cause. This is especially the case when it has the potential to fail because it isn’t a fully established organization but a team of people planting gardens in urban areas. There is also the possibility of having to replant then over and over due to destruction from either emergency vehicles or troublemakers.

Location vs. Durability: these gardens have to be strategically placed since they are funded through the assets of everyday people, and there are several no parking zones around the city. They need to be placed in areas where they will provide the most benefit and last the longest.

Urban Slums

24, نوفمبر 2010

Urban slums are areas of self-developed residences at fringe areas of major urban cities. This means that basic infrastructure, such electricity or sewage, is improvised, stolen, or simply not present in these areas. Put eloquently by anthropologist Oscar Lewis, “the culture of poverty is both an adaptation and a reaction of the poor to their marginal position in a class-stratified, highly individualistic, capitalistic society.”

Despite their many obvious problems and often bottomless-pit nature, the thing that urban slums do right is provide housing to poor, itinerant people near the areas they may work or desire to work. Another result of this limited mobility is that individual slums themselves form distinct cultures of their own. This immediacy also provides faster opportunities for capital gain when successful, as well as quick proving grounds to weed out bad ideas for gain.

This lack of rigidity or plan allows them to negotiate the gaps between supply and demand, concept and production, production and availability, and even adaptation and replacement seemingly instantaneously. Additionally, the generalized understanding of slum nature also allows for the boundaries of privacy, permanence, definitiveness, and ownership to be blurred as slum populations fluctuate, interact, and adapt to challenges and opportunities that arise within their hectic frame of existence. Since immediacy is so embedded in the nature of these settlements, attempts to revitalize them into the city proper often fail because the rigid process of traditional development conflicts in a way that either stifles the thriving culture of the slum or results in the slum developing without regard to the effort. Those efforts that are most successful are those that offer minimal obstruction to the existing fabric of the slums and allow the slums to continue to develop accumulatively and organically using the intervention as a springboard for progress.

While they may be unsanitary, limited resources combined with the density of these settlements creates surprisingly eco-friendly dwelling sites. While this is obviously not a consciously achieved result, the fact that these spaces thrive on so little means a lot could be learned and applied from them. However, many of the conditions that allow this are probably cultural so it wouldn’t be all that easy.


Poverty vs. Capitalism: The main negotiation achieved by urban slums is that of providing poor, marginalized people with residences in urban areas. Because of their concentrated wealth, large cities often exclude or deter people of lower (let alone the lowest) socioeconomic status from living within them. Real estate works by attempting to make properties more desirable than others, and in urban areas that usually means the addition of both space and costly amenities beyond the economic reach of most itinerant citizen in developing countries. By using undesired or fringe areas to build bare-bones structures for themselves, inhabitants of urban slums find a solution to the disparity between supply and demand for affordable housing in urban areas. This results in both increased and decreased values of areas near slums: increase because of the economic opportunities awarded by immediate access to a large number of people in a concentrated area, but decreased because of the perception of slum areas as underdeveloped and dangerous.

Development Efficiency (planned vs. accumulative): Urban slums also bring up negotiations between the efficiency of itinerant spaces and planned spaces. Western society usually assumes that planning is the direct means to maximum efficiency and rewards, but urban slums challenge this perception by coping with problems of space and flexibility more accurately and expediently than any planned settlement does. Another problem with planning is that the people who are educated in planning more than likely come from privileged backgrounds so their ideas of efficient and successful planning often embedded with some preconception of open space as a requirement for comfort. While space is undeniably nice, sometimes supplying space does not coincide with the larger needs of the public. This dichotomy of intent is exemplified in this map comparing space occupancy of golf courses vs. informal settlements in Nairobi. Nairobi slum population: 200,000 to 1,000,000+. Nairobi golf course population: squirrels… and maybe some itinerant caddies.

“Fun” and expanded links for slums:

Google Maps:
Rocinha / Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro
Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong
Kibera, Nairobi
Dharavi, Mumbai

Mansheiet Naser, Cairo, Egypt

Favela Chic
Life in Rocinha
Epic Kowloon Walled City Thread
UN-HABITAT (tons of info)
How Slums Can Save The Planet
Oscar Lewis
The Slum Economy Revisited
Nairobi Land Use: Slums vs. Golf Courses
Mansheiet Nasser

Bethania Branch of SABHA

24, نوفمبر 2010


The Bethania branch of SABHA began in December of 2004 as a response to the destruction caused by the Asian tsunami. The Atlanta International School (known commonly as AIS), a private school located in Buckhead, joined forces with the Kodaikanal International School in southern India, using the school’s local knowledge in order to send aid to those who were in most need. It was through the Kodaikanal International School that AIS came into contact with the Bethania Orphanage, formally known as the Bethania Association. Located in the small town of Kannivadi, Tamil Nadu, the orphanage houses both orphans and needy children.


In the summer of 2005, Mrs. Shanta Kalyanasundaram, the founder of parent organization SABHA and a teacher at AIS, formally adopted the orphanage and created a student run CAS (Community, Action, Service being the three pillars in the International Baccalaureate’s extracurricular requirements) group in order to raise money to support it. The Bethania group is, therefore, run almost completely by the students, including both high school students as well as middle school ones. Each year these students plan and run the annual Bethania Benefit, an event that acts as the group’s primary fundraiser. As this is such a large event, involving not only a dinner but entertainment, which usually manifests itself as a varied assortment of performances by the students, as well, it takes most of the year to plan. Every week, the group meets and discusses the details of this fundraiser, which has traditionally been an immense success, raising money not only through the tickets purchased by the attendees, but also through the items bought in the live auction that takes place throughout the evening.


The fact that Bethania relies so heavily on the students for its success is only one part of what makes it such a unique organization. Using the concept of sustainable development as its basis, the Bethania branch strives to provide aid to the orphanage through less traditional means. Instead of simply sending money, the organization chooses to provide the orphanage with the tools it needs to cultivate its own continued success. In the past, Bethania has raised money for livestock, seeds, a proper water supply system, and education for the children. These projects along with many others have served to improve the lives of the children drastically with the final item being the most important. The Bethania branch believes that, if given the proper education, a child will be able to better their lives and then, in turn, better the lives of others living at the orphanage. This use of a cyclical model of benefit has proven to be extremely successful so far, much more so than the traditional one-way flow model that is seen so often in foreign aid models.

For more info see:


The concept of sustainable development and sustainable design focuses solely on creating something that is either renewable or capable of supporting itself without additional input. This has been applied to the idea of foreign aid with varying success. The plan created by the Bethania branch of SABHA falls under sustainable development and design as it aims to create an environment in which the receivers of aid, in this case being the orphanage, can use skills and infrastructure they have been provided with to support themselves without any additional interference from the organization. This forces the orphanage to sustain itself and, in turn, produce a renewable resource in the form of its educated children, who can then go on to join the workforce as skilled laborers.

The two negotiations we find the most interesting are: the relationship that exists between the orphanage and the Bethania organization in terms of “donor” and “receiver”, raising the question of who being what, and the effect of education on the community as a whole, how it influences development and quality of life not only for those being educated but their surroundings as well. Through the Bethania case study, these two areas of interest raise interesting facts as well as questions, creating a complex web of exchange between not only the organization and the orphanage, but between the orphanage and its surrounding communities, allowing the organization to indirectly benefit a much broader area of need.


Government vs bicyclists

Initially we viewed the relationship between government and the bicyclist participants of Critical Mass as a negotiation between breaking laws to draw attention to a situation and having the right to peacefully protest. However, with further research, cases of law enforcement showing unnecessary hostility and withholding rights from Critical Mass bikers surfaced.

Motorists vs bicyclists

To be effective, Critical Mass must balance peacefully highlighting the safety issue for bikers and further irritating motorists. We searched for more information concerning motorist reactions, emphasizing the extreme attitudes.

These two negotiations are the most critical because the interaction between the government and bicyclist and motorists and bicyclists can easily be witnessed; visible evidence of these negotiations flare up in daily life for many individuals in media and direct experience.

Videos about Critical Mass:

This video celebrates the 10th anniversary of Critical Mass in San Francisco with clips from rides and commentary from participants. The footage indicates the hostility between motorists and bikers.

This short documentary emphasizes the negotiation between government and bikers. The film was made in March 2007 after a new law prohibiting the assembly of more than 50 people in New York City. The police clash with the first Critical Mass participants since this law was put into effect.

This video powerfully portrays the concept of Critical Mass with simple graphics. The clip argues for the environmental importance of bicycling as a means of transportation and thus a needed respect from motorists and other sources of traffic, reinforcing the “safety-promoting design” taxonomy.

Ride Locations:

Clearly, Critical Mass has taken root across the globe as a means of “urban outreach”. Since the conflict between motorists and bicyclists is most prevalent in cities, the purpose of the design fits well into this taxonomic category. The spontaneous yet influential nature of the event is contagious; as demonstrated by the world map, hundreds of cities appreciate the effectiveness of the design and embrace this means of protesting hostility towards bikers.

Critical Mass Ride Documentation:

Critical Mass 2008 - Budapest

Reactive Movements to Critical Mass:

Scientifically, a critical mass is defined as “an amount or level needed for a specific result or new action to occur.” Rather appropriately, Critical Mass rides have inspired  multiple biking movements, including Critical Manners, Bike Summer, Kidical Mass, Critical Sass, Tweed Run, Free Tibet Rides, and the San Jose Bike Party. Other passionate bikers recognize the power of Critical Mass to draw attention to a certain situation, whether that involves the environment, the rights of bikers, inspiring children and families to be active, female unity, or the human rights of Tibetans. The inspirational nature of Critical Mass reflects the design as a “massive collaboration” and “community cooperation”; unity plays a significant role in Critical Mass’s essence.

Critical Mass Incidents:

These reports reflect the tension in our two key negotiations.

Riga, Latvia- Policemen arrest Critical Mass participants without vocalizing any accusations and ran over bicyclists with their vehicles.

Honolulu, Hawaii- Police tackle a woman peacefully riding her bike in Critical Mass, which results in her hospitalization

Minneapolis, Minnesota- 19 Critical Mass riders arrested.

Berlin, Germany- Police confiscate a Critical Mass participant’s bicycle during a ride with 60 others.

Chicago, Illinois- A drunk driver runs into the mass of bikers and flees the scene.

Berkeley, California- A motorists intentionally drives into the Critical Mass, damaging bicycles.

Sacramento, California- Police oversee the event and issue citations, occupying more of the road than the Critical Mass participants.

Evidence of Impact:

-In New York City, a Department of Transportation Commissioner was hired in 2007 with a vision for creating a bike-friendly city.

-Grassroots efforts to change mindsets and treatment of bikers in Istanbul gains momentum.

-RAND corporation analyzed Critical Mass as an effective yet spontaneous design in “What Next for Networks and Netwars?”



Assignment 1 – Part 1 and 2

24, نوفمبر 2010


Group GWAM

Many people are against constructing massive buildings and projects, because of how much space and materials they consume.  However, the designs given through giant eco-friendly building designs can solve many problems.  Green building is good for the environment because it’s energy efficient, which reduces the need to burn fossil fuels and helps fight climate change—one of society’s most pressing environmental issues. This type of design building could be directly beneficial to us since we do live in the large urban environment of Atlanta.  It would not only help us today, but it will help the future of earth. The benefits from implementing these buildings are endless:

It provides accessible green spaces for dense urban living, grows fresh produce in the ‘concrete’ jungle, and just provides an overall cleaner atmosphere for living in.

This type of design could also be incorporated into business buildings to help them be self sustaining and efficient.  This can be done by collecting rain water and recycling it through filters using it throughout the building in its gardens and other facilities that require water.  Cutting down costs and energy is key for this to be efficient and beneficial to the future.

Some new possible taxonomies:

  • Urban Living Design
  • Concrete Farming Design Within a City
  • Eco-friendly Design with New Innovation

Initial Negotiations:

  • Between the grower and the consumer, how the design project is financed and how it is paid for, between the people and the green space

Negotiations out of text:

  • the Green Giant and the Earth, energy used and energy conserved, initial cost and maintenance, productivity of employees of the building and the surrounding environment


  • the Green Giant and the Earth:  It will have positive impacts on the earth bringing a more stable atmosphere and other Eco-friendly benefits.
  • energy used and energy conserved: it will be a more efficient building in that it will use less energy and water to maintain its structural status.
  • initial cost and maintenance:  It may cost a little bit more in the beginning building the green giant, but in the long run, it is able to stay kept up with less maintenance.
  • productivity of employees of the building and the surrounding environment:  there was a concern in traditional office buildings that having all glass exterior walls to let light in hindered the work of the employees because it irritated them when the beam of light became to strong.  With the implementation of the greenery system incorporated into the building it would help reduce this preventable aggravation.

Two Negotiations:

  1. The first negotiation would have one of the initial negotiations that we came up with.  That one would have to be between the grower of the produce and the consumer of the produce.  We found this relationship intriguing because it is unusual to find farm in a concrete, urban area.  Therefore it would take the consumer by surprise and change his or her whole experience buying fresh produce to a whole new level.
  2. The second negotiation we found interesting was the one between the energy used and the energy conserved.  The Green Giant would be Eco-friendly therefore it would be good for the environment.  By being good for the environment, this mean it would be using less energy to operate.  The building would incorporate solar panels into its window frame and/or rooftops, it would collect rain water and process it within its own filters, and it would require less energy to operate an air conditioning system throughout the building with an open floor plan.


STARSTRUKK | Assignment 1

24, نوفمبر 2010

Part 1

iFixit. The name itself embodies the idea of the company. Instead of sending your Apple products off or bringing them in to your local Apple store, give yourself the opportunity to save some money, learn how to fix your electronics, and enjoy doing it.

Company Development. Originating in 2003, iFixit is the dorm room creation of two CalPoly students who decided to fix an old iBook together, the hard way. The company evolved as the two continued to buy broken Apple products, break them down, and use or sell the parts. Their tear-downs of newly released Apple products have been published in PC World and Mac Observer for several years now. In early 2009, the company decided to launch a platform in which users could actually publish their own tear-downs. Later that year the website expanded to a system called Answers, giving users the opportunity to collaborate on repairs. In early 2010, iFixit opened up guide-creation software to the public giving their website an attractive format and easy to use interface.

Click for full iPhone 4 breakdown.

Consumers. Users are encouraged to collaborate with the online community and are given the tools to do so. The writing guides and teardowns section offers camera tips, device nomenclature, and other resourceful information for creating a coherent theme throughout the website. An easy to use interface breaks down iFixit into four main categories: Parts, Repair, Answers, and Contribute easily navigated between on the top bar. The company collects revenue from part sales and publishing tear-downs.

All of the repair guides are organized in visually friendly format, like below, so the least experienced internet user can still find what they need.

Activism. iFixit donates a portion of every sale to the following non-profit organizations: Basel Action Network, Creative Commons, Doctors Without Borders, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Feed the Children, Free Software Foundation, Greenpeace, El Camino Homeless Organization, and Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County. Information on each of these foundations is displayed on the website letting consumers and users take pride in their contributions. iFixit – Activism

E-Waste. The most notable goal of iFixit is to decrease e-waste by partnering with BAN(Basel Action Network). This is the world’s only organization committed to reducing the toxic trade and it’s impact. The issue arises when toxic waste, products, and technologies are exported to poorer countries. iFixit donates to the BAN organization as well as the encouragement of reuse and responsible end-of-life recycling.

Click for more info on e-waste dumping

Part 2

Previously we listed three different negotiations for our ifixit company concept:

Part cost vs. new item cost– how much you pay to get the itm fixed rather than paying for a new one all together.

Fixing vs. dumping– instead of throwing it out and adding to the e-waste, repair the item and keep it longer.

Part availability vs. tool availability– after reading these manuals to learn how to fix the problem, do you actually have the tools and parts or even access to the tools and parts needed to do the job?

It did not take much researching and decision among our group to decided that the two negotiations we believed to be the strongest where: Part cost vs. new item cost and Fixing vs. dumping.


Part cost vs. new item cost– This was a strong negotiation because almost everyone has dealt with a faulty item before, at least once in your life. Sometimes its new items that break and sometimes it old ones, either way our first questions is what’s wrong with it? and how can we fix it? There are two options you can go about, which we will compare in this negotiation. You can choose to buy the part(s) to fix the item or buy a completely new item all together. This negotiation is not only talking about the monetary cost but also the personal cost at hand as well. Although at times it may be cheaper to buy a new item all together, in most cases fixing it would be the cheaper thing to do. However, by choosing to fix it, you then start to cut into your personal time and therefore sacrifice time that could be spent doing something else.

Fixing vs. dumping– We chose this negotiation because this was the reason the founders of ifixit decided to start the company in the first place. When something breaks some people just don’t have the time, knowledge, or will to fix it. Therefore they go out and buy a new one in order to replace the old. The problem comes when these old, broken, unused items are moved to once considered trash. One Hundred million pounds of electronic waste are illegally imported to third world countries every year. This is where children as young as six years old work to burn down the different by-products of these electronics. This creates tons of pollution and other harmful outcomes. If half of the people decided to fix their broken products instead of dumping them, we could drastically cut down on this e-waste and significantly improve the environment.

Dead Drops Assignment 1

24, نوفمبر 2010


Clean files Vs the spread of viral and illegal files

The people who wish to participate in Dead Drops should      appreciate the experience and the excitement of sharing  information and files with somewhat ‘virtual’ friends. However,    there are people in the modern day who take advantage of such  public spaces to plant viruses and other types of illegal information  using these USBs. If such a person decides to plant viruses, any  innocent participant who finds the dead drop, and plugs their  computer in, can be instantly sabotaged.

Dead Drop location Vs property damage while placing Dead Drops

The video on hosts a video on the home page that is an exciting introduction for future participants of dead drops. They give various examples and a step by step process into how to create a space for the USBs. In the video, they install USBs into the side of walls by stuccoing the USB into a hole. Also they show a participant using rubber cement to stick a dead drop under a payphone at a subway station. As wonderful and exciting as this program is, people need to be cautious as to where they install these dead drops. Shop owners may not be too keen on a USB sticking out of the side of their brick wall and the government may not be thrilled that the participants are cementing USBs to their property.


Community Sharing Design:

Through this program, the community participants share data with one another. The program is more of an experience than it is like the internet, another form of community sharing primarily data based. The experience involves the hunt, the search for the dead drops to add to ones collection of gained information. It also consists of the thrill of the find and the excitement of looking for a new one, along with planting your own and hoping that people find them, almost like a scavenger hunt. However, it is different from a scavenger hunt because, instead of just gaining clues to the next one, you gain information and ideas that would otherwise remain unknown and unshared.

Sharing Unexposed Ideas Design

For a participant that doesn’t have any connections, this can be a form of networking ideas. They can spread their ideas and get feedback and have others share their ideas. For example, an inventor knows who to give their ideas to, however, a rookie, or amateur, wouldn’t know how to get the necessary attention to get their ideas seen or published. The Dead Drops system can help spread these ideas. People have become famous off of websites such as and with their music. This could be an alternate way of spreading ideas and sharing them with the entire community.


24, نوفمبر 2010

Field Research

In order to further delve into how Georgia Tech students feel about greenspace on campus, we came up with a standard set of five questions to ask various students living on east, west, and even off-campus.  We wanted to find where the majority of students like to hang out, if they use greenspace when they hang out, and if they preferred the current state of greenspace on campus.

The five questions we asked were as follows:

  1. Do you live on east or west?
  2. How often do use the greenspace on campus?
  3. What do you use greenspace for?
  4. How often do you travel from east to west/visa versa?
  5. If there was greenspace on east, would you use it?

Student #1:

– East.

– Uses greenspace three times a week.

– Plays sports like flag football and soccer.

– Travels to west to use fields three times a week; “So far away.”

– Would use greenspace on east to play soccer for fun, but still has to go to west for    intramurals.

Student #2


– Uses greenspace three times a month; more often during field sport intramurals like flag football.

– Uses greenspace mostly for sports; doesn’t like mosquitoes.

– Used to travel three times a week, but thinks it is too far away.

– Would love to have SAC fields on east.

Student #3

– East.

– Uses CRC more than greenspace.

– Travels to SAC fields four times a week.

– Has to travel to east for volleyball/soccer/frisbee four times a week.

– Would definitely use it; more convenient to use for recreation purposes.

Student #4

– West.

– Only used greenspace twice this semester.

– Used greenspace for studying/hanging out with friends.

– Travels to east often; all friends are on east.

– Would only use the greenspace on east if available because friends are on east.

Student #5

– West.

– Most every night.

– Plays frisbee on SAC fields.

– Travels to east for class and football games, but not much else.

– Would still stay on west to use greenspace.

Student #6

– Lives off-campus/commuter from Fayetteville.

– Rarely.

– Uses greenspace for eating space, if at all.

– Mostly contained to east campus; doesn’t really like west; “seems dingy and quieter.”

– Would not personally use it, but greenspace would be significantly used on east.


What we found through our interviews was that a majority of people that live on east would prefer to have greenspace available to their side of campus.  The common reason for this is the travel time, which we found to be about 15 minutes, to west is too long.  Added greenspace to east would be a great convenience to them, and in some cases would be a convenience to those on west.  As most students live on east (including the North Avenue apartments), those who lived on west had many friends on east and tended to spend most of their time on east.


We sought out to actually compare the greenspace between east and west and find if there really is a need for greenspace on east.  What we found (and can be seen in the pictures below) is that there really is a discrepancy in the amount of recreation fields and just grass in general between the two sides of campus.

Just looking at the campus map, there is more green on west than east.

All field sports, such as soccer and football, can only be played on the SAC fields, which is on west campus.

The area on the bottom is on west, while the area on the top is east.  The sitting areas are directly across the street from each other, but the west side has grass.

The ropes course is only available on west campus.


Advertisement vs. ineffective solution

The Skip Garden concept requires a great deal of advertisement. The focus of the idea is on a shared garden for the community. Those members of the community that need free produce are the ones with the inability to provide for themselves or their family. The cities in which the Skip Gardens are most likely to be implemented in are those with large amounts of construction projects. These booming cities tend to attract a larger community of impoverished individuals. This natural tendency provides a larger probability for a successful program. However, without sufficient advertisement, those who are in the most need for Skip Gardens would not be able to utilize them. The program relies on advertisement in order to be an effective and efficient solution to a large problem: food for the poor.

Necessary gardening conditions vs. poor harvest

The gardening conditions are crucial to the success of the Skip Garden program. Without appropriate weather conditions and provisional care, the harvest will be unproductive. Problems may arise regarding this condition and the location of the construction site. In other words, the weather conditions of the garden depend on the location of the construction, which cannot be controlled. Skip gardens in construction site dumpsters will only benefit the community if the dumpster is in an area exposed to sunlight and rain. The gardens must also be looked after regularly. Gardening, especially when growing produce, demands substantial care and attention. The skip garden plan is not simply a one-time implementation of a good idea. It requires continual attention in order to be successful. As soon as the needs of the garden are neglected, the idea falls through.


Mobile Design

In downtown King’s Cross, the idea of a garden in an urban environment seems to be a difficult idea. Skip Gardens are extremely beneficial for the community, particularly the impoverished, and can be easily transported from place to place. The mobility of the dumpsters allows for easy transitions to new construction sites upon the completion of each construction project. Furthermore, the upkeep of the dumpsters positively impacts the communities through which they travel by allowing for volunteers across areas to come together, spread the word about the Skip Gardens, and allow for more Skip Gardens to be developed as communities see its many benefits.

Strategic Situational Design

The Skip Garden is designed to conserve the limited amount of space within an urban environment. This design is strategically placed in a situation in which it seems impossible to incorporate ideas like communal sharing. The booming development of King’s Cross created a starting point for such an idea to formulate. These community gardens are placed in dumpsters at existing construction sites. This design is not solely meant for one location, becoming useless at the end of the construction project. By being placed in dumpsters, these gardens are easily transportable to other construction sites nearby. In cities of thriving development, the strategic placement of community gardens in portable dumpsters creates a convenient and effective solution to problems of poverty and a lack of communal relations.

Vertical Farms

24, نوفمبر 2010

Vertical farming is a proposed agricultural technique involving large-scale agriculture in urban high-rises or “farmscrapers” Using advanced greenhouse technology and greenhouse methods such as hydroponics, these buildings would produce fruit, vegetables, edible mushrooms and algae year-round.

Researchers, including Bryn Nelson, argues that, by allowing traditional outdoor farms to revert to a natural state and reducing the energy costs needed to transport foods to consumers, vertical farms could significantly alleviate climate change produced by excess atmospheric carbon. Critics have noted that the costs of the additional energy needed for artificial lighting, heating and other vertical farming operations would outweigh the benefit of the building’s close proximity to the areas of consumption.

It took humans 10,000 years to learn how to grow most of the crops we now take for granted. Along the way, we despoiled most of the land we worked, often turning verdant, natural ecozones into semi-arid deserts. Within that same time frame, we evolved into an urban species, in which 60% of the human population now lives vertically in cities. This means that, for the majority, we humans are protected against the elements, yet we subject our food-bearing plants to the rigors of the great outdoors and can do no more than hope for a good weather year. However, more often than not now, due to a rapidly changing climate regime, that is not what follows. Massive floods, protracted droughts, class 4-5 hurricanes, and severe monsoons take their toll each year, destroying millions of tons of valuable crops. Don’t our harvestable plants deserve the same level of comfort and protection that we now enjoy? The time is at hand for us to learn how to safely grow our food inside environmentally controlled multistory buildings within urban centers. If we do not, then in just another 50 years, the next 3 billion people will surely go hungry, and the world will become a much more unpleasant place in which to live.


The following is an excerpt from Dickson Desponmmier’s interview by He describes the proposed function of a vertical farm:

“Each floor will have its own watering and nutrient monitoring systems. There will be sensors for every single plant that tracks how much and what kinds of nutrients the plant has absorbed. You’ll even have systems to monitor plant diseases by employing DNA chip technologies that detect the presence of plant pathogens by simply sampling the air and using snippets from various viral and bacterial infections. It’s very easy to do.

Moreover, a gas chromatograph will tell us when to pick the plant by analyzing which flavenoids the produce contains. These flavenoids are what gives the food the flavors you’re so fond of, particularly for more aromatic produce like tomatoes and peppers. These are all right-off-the-shelf technologies. The ability to construct a vertical farm exists now. We don’t have to make anything new.

For the full concept of vertical farming to work, a series of technologies and devices are needed. Such technologies and devices will need to be able to combine and live in integration. Desponmmier and other researchers and scientists are busy formulating and developing various methods for these technologies. Such technologies include:

Grow Light

– The concept of using a grow light as a means of growing produce involves the use of an electric lamp that emits an electromagnetic spectrum necessary for photosynthesis to promote plant growth. Grow lights would be used at an industrial level for vertical farms and would be applied when natural sunlight is unavailable.


– Phytoremediation is the use of green plants to remove pollutants from the environment or render them harmless. The process of phytoremediation can be more thoroughly explained here:

The People Involved

The original concept of vertical farms was developed by Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental health sciences and microbiology at Columbia University in New York City. After performing a simulated test to see how much 13 acres of rooftop dedicated to farming would feed the population of Manhattan, it was determined that the system would only feed about 2% of the approximate 2,000,000 people. This simulation sparked the minds of various scientists, architects, and investors, who then moved the concept of vertical farming to an actual creation. “Architectural designs have been produced by Chris Jacobs and Andrew Kranis at Columbia University and Gordon Graff at the University of Waterloo.” They dub their design, Skyfarm. A simulation of this design can be found through this link:

The following cities feature developers and local governments who have formally expressed serious interest in the establishment of a vertical farm: Incheon (South Korea), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Dongtan (China), New York City, Portland, Ore., Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Surrey, B.C., Toronto, Paris, Bangalore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Incheon, Shanghai and Beijing.

A short article expanding on Las Vegas’ plans of a unique vertical farm, the world’s first 30 story vertical farm:

The Illinois Institute of Technology is now developing a detailed plan for Chicago, led by Dickson Despommier and Eric Ellingsen. It is suggested that prototype versions of vertical farms should be created first, possibly at large universities interested in the research of vertical farms. The following pdf presents the dynamic of the plans, as well as some detailed designs.


The situation that would be necessary for the implementation of a vertical farm directly is dependent on the population of a given area and how that population is expected to change in years to come. Areas of high population density will have to cope with the conflict of feeding the nation without sacrificing too much farmland. Vertical farms propose a solution to this problem. As urbanization continuously grows, so will the importance of establishing vertical farms.

Taxonomy Categories:

Urban spatial design integrates land use planning and transportation planning to improve the built, economic and social environments of communities. It is the interface between urban planning and architecture. Urban design should also form the interface between all the relevant specialties that deal with the human and the human environment, both objective and subjective. Urban design should thus function as a multidimensional interdisciplinary interface, with the responsibility to manage and transform the interactions of the different aspects of urban life into a physical and/or usable form.

Clarence “Du” Burns when asked about the formula to the success of downtown redevelopment he responded, “Determine where you are and what you have to work with. Decide where you want to be. Develop a strategy to get there.”

Urbanization vs. Agricultural Expansion:

The amount of U.S. farmland in metropolitan areas increased by nearly 50 percent between 1974 and 1982. Nearly 300 additional counties were redefined as metro as a result of the 1980 census (figure 1). This increasingly metropolitan character of the Nation presents both problems and opportunities for farmers in those areas.

Metro areas now contain 16 percent of the total U.S. land area, 20 percent of all cropland, and 31 percent of all farms. The best farmland is actually more fully utilized in metro areas. That is, the percentage of prime farmland used for crop production is higher in metro areas than in nonmetro areas. Also, the percentage of land classified as prime farmland is slightly higher in metro areas than elsewhere.

Urban growth certainly does not mean the end of agriculture in a given area. Urbanization does not usually take the best farmland. Farmers tend to intensify production on their best land, often changing crops and inputs, and exploiting new marketing and employment opportunities.

The loss of agricultural land to urbanization in the US has evoked recent concern due to current food price inflation and global agricultural shortages. The possibility that future energy and other nonland inputs used in agricultural production may become very expensive and push agriculture back into  more land based forms of architecture is a modern concern. It is important also to consider if this continuous loss of urban farmland could exacerbate a possible shortage of productive agricultural land in the future.  (Thomas R. Plaut)

Reuse vs. Wasteful Disposal

Everyone is familiar with recycling materials such as glass, plastic, aluminum, and paper, right? We simply throw them into a “Recycle Only” bin and forget about it. However, what about the food that used to inhabit those empty glass jars and flattened cardboard boxes? We know we do not consume every food product we buy. In residential areas,” food waste and food-soiled paper make up about 25-30% of a typical household’s waste.”[1] “ In  restaurant and other food service establishments the food waste is more than 76% organic. A single restaurant, on an average, disposes more than 50 tons of organic waste every year.”[2] Therefore, we should invest the same amount of consideration into efficient, beneficial reuse of food waste as we do for recycling. Fortunately, there are numerous cases in which communities/organizations have invested this consideration and developed solutions to this wasteful problem; solutions that can be implemented into Vertical Farms:

  • Always known for its Golden Gate Bridge and liberal activism, San Francisco has recently gained recognition the past several years for offering a “green” service to its residents:

“San Franciscans like Ellisa Feinstein have another option for their organic waste: put it out on the curb with the glass, plastic and paper, where it will be picked up and recycled by the city. For the past several years, San Francisco has offered curbside recycling of food scraps, shipping leftovers to industrial-scale composting facilities, which process 300 tons of organic waste a day. For Feinstein, the curbside program allows her to salve her green conscience without the ickiness that came from composting her own used tea bags. “It’s great because it helps me do my job of diverting garbage from the landfill,” she says. “And it’s really easy.”,9171,1813956,00.html

  • The National Renderers Association focuses primarily on re-using meat waste:

Members of this association are all in the business of rendering, i.e. transforming waste from the meat industry into useable products for animal feeds and technical use. Renderers are even known as the original recyclers. On average slaughter houses, packing plants, supermarkets, butcher shops and restaurants collectively generate at least 40,000 metric tonnes of animal byproduct each week. Without the rendering industry, byproducts from meat and poultry processing would fill up landfills very quickly and the decomposing waste would contaminate our soil and water with disease-causing microorganisms and vermin




Sodexo, the company that provides food on our own Georgia Tech campus, warns us that the first and best step to reduce food waste among colleges is to portion the amount of food we eat.



The following is an excerpt from Dickson Desponmmier’s interview by He describes the proposed function of a vertical farm:

“Each floor will have its own watering and nutrient monitoring systems. There will be sensors for every single plant that tracks how much and what kinds of nutrients the plant has absorbed. You’ll even have systems to monitor plant diseases by employing DNA chip technologies that detect the presence of plant pathogens by simply sampling the air and using snippets from various viral and bacterial infections. It’s very easy to do.

Moreover, a gas chromatograph will tell us when to pick the plant by analyzing which flavenoids the produce contains. These flavenoids are what gives the food the flavors you’re so fond of, particularly for more aromatic produce like tomatoes and peppers. These are all right-off-the-shelf technologies. The ability to construct a vertical farm exists now. We don’t have to make anything new.

For the full concept of vertical farming to work, a series of technologies and devices are needed. Such technologies and devices will need to be able to combine and live in integration. Desponmmier and other researchers and scientists are busy formulating and developing various methods for these technologies. Such technologies include:

Grow Light

– The concept of using a grow light as a means of growing produce involves the use of an electric lamp that emits an electromagnetic spectrum necessary for photosynthesis to promote plant growth. Grow lights would be used at an industrial level for vertical farms and would be applied when natural sunlight is unavailable.


– Phytoremediation is the use of green plants to remove pollutants from the environment or render them harmless. The process of phytoremediation can be more thoroughly explained here:

The People Involved

The original concept of vertical farms was developed by Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental health sciences and microbiology at Columbia University in New York City. After performing a simulated test to see how much 13 acres of rooftop dedicated to farming would feed the population of Manhattan, it was determined that the system would only feed about 2% of the approximate 2,000,000 people. This simulation sparked the minds of various scientists, architects, and investors, who then moved the concept of vertical farming to an actual creation. “Architectural designs have been produced by Chris Jacobs and Andrew Kranis at Columbia University and Gordon Graff at the University of Waterloo.” They dub their design, Skyfarm.

The following cities feature developers and local governments who have formally expressed serious interest in the establishment of a vertical farm: Incheon (South Korea), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Dongtan (China), New York City, Portland, Ore., Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Surrey, B.C., Toronto, Paris, Bangalore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Incheon, Shanghai and Beijing.

A short article expanding on Las Vegas’ plans of a unique vertical farm, the world’s first 30 story vertical farm:

The Illinois Institute of Technology is now developing a detailed plan for Chicago, led by Dickson Despommier and Eric Ellingsen. It is suggested that prototype versions of vertical farms should be created first, possibly at large universities interested in the research of vertical farms. The following pdf presents the dynamic of the plans, as well as some detailed designs.


The situation that would be necessary for the implementation of a vertical farm directly is dependent on the population of a given area and how that population is expected to change in years to come. Areas of high population density will have to cope with the conflict of feeding the nation without sacrificing too much farmland. Vertical farms propose a solution to this problem. As urbanization continuously grows, so will the importance of establishing vertical farms.


23, نوفمبر 2010


Improv Art is the conceptual idea that perpetuates the artistic and innovative design creations of Jason Eppink. Many of his projects including his Take A Seat campaign involve the New York City subway station as that is his main mode of transportation. Because he is always in the subway stations, he seeks to make the experience of waiting, boarding and passing through a subway station more enjoyable for the average American. Eppinks projects in general are focused around the concept of community involvement and bettermen; he seeks to create Universal Design that all experience and appreciate.

-organization: Jason Eppink is a communal designer and artist who’s goal is to design for the needs and appreciation of ALL rather then SOME. Eppink’s work is featured on Investing in Social Art Projects art blog.

-procedures He is spontaneous in nature who is inspired on a whim and acts on those points of inspiration instantly. Most of his designs have a ‘prankster’ attitude about them as well.

-the people involved Jason Eppink is the designer who creates universal design that is meant for all to utilize. To put the “take a seat” project in context the videos below are portrayal of several of this other projects.

-the situation within which it takes place Eppink’s designs happen many times in subway stations or just in natural city settings as well.


social design: the main focus of this design project is to provide seating/comfort to a wider audience range at any given time (to lessen the physical stress of traveling via subway)

community design: design that will benefit the entirety of the New York subway riding community regardless of age and socioeconomic status. (everyone can appreciate the comfort of sitting over standing for a long period of time)

innovative design: creative design, unique, while also aimed at solving a widely felt problem

environmental design: environmentally friendly design because it takes someone’s trash that would have been left to decay in the streets or to rot in the landfill and recycles it by reassigning its purpose/situation.


Previously, we identified several design negotiations in Eppink’s Take a Seat project

*Finalized Design Negotiations List as of November 17th:*

Comfort vs. Clutter- comfort of people in subway station vs chairs being clunky and taking up limited/valuable space

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: too broad/clutter is not really a pertinent issue just not aesthetically pleasing whereas some of the other negotiations are more pertinent in the safety/life of the person experiencing the subway space.

Flow of traffic vs. increase of sitting spaces- chairs limiting walkways for the cause of creating sitting spaces

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: too broad again-need a narrow and pertinent negotiation to further analyze.

Individual (introverted) experience vs. group (extroverted) experience- standing (annoyed, waiting for a bus, anxious, nervous, stressed) is more of an introverted experience while sitting and congregating comfortably is more of a group event in which dialogue is more likely to occur (breaks the tension/ice and is a stress reliever)

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: an abstract concept whose pertinence is diluted by more obvious design negotiations-possibly a final decicion

Timeliness vs. Friendliness- being on time for destination/job-being prompt and on time vs. sitting, relaxing, losing track of time, conversating

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: WE LIKE this one because it makes the abstract idea of the individual vs. group experience more tangible and easier to grasp. Standing and being frustrated allows people to think individually while also enabling them to complete the task that they set out to do in a timely manner where as sitting and being comfortable opens up dialogue and friendliness that could cause a detour from the original time itinerary.

Comfort vs. Safety- comfort of sitting vs. hazardous clunky objects in subway space

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: WE LIKE this concept because many of the previous concept related to this concept at their core, also it is referred to in the video posted on our initial site (it is listed below) as many people protested this design for safety measures-definately a FINAL

After a series of debates, trying to determine what would be the best and most important negotiation to mention, we concluded that the negotiations timeliness vs. friendliness as well as comfort vs. safety are the main points.

::FINAL Negotiation BreakDowns as of November 23rd::

TIMELINESS vs. FRIENDLINESS: this is the major design negotiation because people are in subway stations for timely and efficient purposes-to go from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.The environment of standing and waiting passengers helps to perpetuate this timeliness. This chair project changes the level of time efficiency as people get more comfortable in the chairs and become increasingly more friendly with one another-as people talk more and become more friendly, the efficiency of the subway station changes. (people lose track of time in their comfortable state and negotiate their timeliness for their comfort-enables distraction)

COMFORT vs. SAFETY: Again the concept of comfort is key in these design negotiations as implementing a seating system is meant for the sole purpose of lessening the load of the people waiting in the subway stations. However, this argument is based on the fact that having extra chairs in the already small and limited space of an underground subway system is hazardous to people’s safety within the subway situation.

Jason Eppink Video Interview of Take a Seat (design negotiation reference)


1.      For: Users of beverage vending machines, environmentalists, recyclers, polymer engineers, etc.

2.      What target market is dissatisfied with: People not willing or just too lazy to recycle will just dump empty bottles wherever they want. With these people illegally littering and not recycling, these recyclable materials are just put to waste. The lack of recycling has been such a significant issue over the past years, and a viable fix is essential to saving our environment.

3.      Innovation Offering: Our innovation project offers a durable re-usable drinking bottle, 30% of which from plants, that will fit into a unique vending machine. This machine will provide customers with an insert for their re-usable bottle where they can get a refill. A discount will be given to those who use this bottle.

4.      That Provides: Our innovation project will provide a solution to the amount of plastic bottles that are in circulation by developing the above concept.

5.      Unlike: This product will be unlike any other in that it will give consumers a bottle that they can re-use and not worry about the recycling that is seemingly forced upon society today.

6.      Solving Problem: The PlantBottle currently advertised,  states that it is 100% recyclable. However, this does not mean that 100% of people recycle. With this new vending machine design partnered with the PlantBottle, we promote recyclable materials, as well as reduce the current amount of these materials in circulation.