Geospatial analysis, relieving burdens on existing infrastructure

How do we design and build to accommodate changing economics, family sizes, and employee and student populations? How can we merge online technologies with physical architecture to more directly serve our real-time needs?

“The city is a dense network of relationships. The best way to provide infrastructure is to not go in with a meat ax but to practice urban acupuncture, finding thousands of different spots to go into.”
–Nicholas de Monchaux

### February 3, 2010, 6:45 pm
Space: It’s Still a Frontier
By Allison Arieff

Our beds are empty two-thirds of the time.
Our living rooms are empty seven-eighths of the time.
Our office buildings are empty one-half of the time.
It’s time we gave this some thought.

–R Buckminster Fuller

That quote is 40 years old, but I continue to be amazed by the extent to which we haven’t begun to address the problem Fuller highlighted. There’s a staggering glut of empty space around the country right now, unused space that’s not doing anyone much good. That in itself isn’t new; what is unprecedented is our ability to visualise that data in an entirely new ways.

The ability to use GIS (geographic information systems) to locate data spatially, for example, is one reason Barack Obama is president today. His campaign turned a database of voters and volunteers into a map and was able to strategise house by house about how to get those votes. More broadly, GIS allows us to literally view our place both globally and in a hyperlocal context.

That level of specificity, both at the micro and macro level, is helping revolutionise the way we think about, plan for and design the space we inhabit (or abandon). A visual map can show us patterns of overbuilding, abandonment, mis- (or lack of) use; it can teach us something about our current tendency to overbuild.

How can this now-instantaneous access to data add clarity to ingrained patterns, and perhaps allow us to change those patterns according to evolving needs and requirements?
Read more

● Allison Arieff lectures and consults on media, design and sustainability, most recently for Urban Revision and IDEO. She lives in San Francisco.

Local Code’s quantifiable effects on energy usage and stormwater remediation eradicate the need for more expensive, yet invisible, sewer and electrical upgrades. In addition, the project uses citizen participation to conceive a new, more public infrastructure as well —a robust network of urban greenways with tangible benefits to the health and safety of every citizen.
Nicholas de Monchaux is an architect, urbanist, writer, and Assistant Professor of Architecture & Urban Design at UC Berkeley.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Democracy, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Inspiration, Media, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

3 responses to “Geospatial analysis, relieving burdens on existing infrastructure

  1. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed, 5 Jan 2011
    Tree study aims at biodiversity
    By Ellie Constantine
    As urbanisation threatens more and more pockets of nature, University of Otago PhD student Ed Waite wants to provide the tools for people to retain, and even restore, them.
    Read more

  2. Elizabeth


    Delivering Sustainable Growth and Meeting the Challenges & Opportunities Urban Intensification Provides for New Zealand’s Growing Cities

    At this conference, local councils, urban planners, urban designers, and architects all of whom work with communities and cities will all be offering their viewpoint and practical experience on key aspects of urban intensification.

    Opening keynote presentation by Dr Roger Blakeley, Chief Planning Officer, Auckland Council with a follow-up Q & A session with the Auckland Spatial Plan team.

    Hear about core concepts and challenges of urban intensification including:

    · Spatial Plans
    · Do spatial plans work?
    · How effective are they?
    · How can they be applied?
    · What are successful examples?
    · What are the alternatives?

    Urban limits

    · Are they useful policy tools?
    · What do developers think of them?
    · How can they be better managed?
    · How does the property market affect it?

    Smart Networks and Sustainability

    · What role do transportation, social and cultural networks play in urban intensification and how can we better manage them?
    · How can we make smarter networks? What are successful ways to deliver commercial, environmental, and social sustainability?

    Urban Design

    · How does good urban design link to a better tomorrow?
    · What are the successful elements of any urban design?
    · How do you meet and measure up to community expectations of good urban design?

    Also: full day separately bookable workshop on 25th of February by Kobus Mentz from Urbanismplus one of New Zealand’s leading urban designers: “Advancing Strategies for Councils to Lead Urban Intensification and Renewal Planning

    Date: Wednesday 23 February – Thursday 24 February
    Venue: Crowne Plaza, Albert Street, Auckland

    To view the programme in its entirety or to register on-line, please click on the following link: or phone Bright*Star Conferences & Training on (09) 912 3616.

    CPD points available.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s