Precedents and Diagrams

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The next step of my thesis work has involved a large amount of research about related precedents, and then a process of analyzing two of them through a series of diagrams that pull out and highlight relevant relationships that could benefit my own work. The two precedents that I looked at were several community engagement and data gathering app interfaces, as well as the methodologies of an architectural and urban design and research office called Chora.

Looking at apps was helpful to get a sense of how people can use technology to collect information and interact and engage with a community, and also gave me a better understanding of the relationships that can exist within the interfaces. What would normally be a very spatial interaction (give and take) in the physical world, becomes nothing but a network link (input and output) in the virtual world. Yet, it is a connection all the same and will eventually have an impact on what does happen in the physical world.

Studying Chora’s work was beneficial because the office, similar to my own ideas, tackles regional issues through a method of game play. They first collect a database in a framed area wherein they track processes described in mini scenarios at randomly chosen points or “beansites” in the area as well as map larger processes and flows. Next they establish prototypes that are proposals for new concepts that increase efficiency of the current processes and act as “instruments of new urban form”. After this they create scenario games that test the conditions of the prototypes, and lastly they develop Action Plans that outline the procedure of implementation of the prototypes . Chora’s methodologies were helpful but in my opinion, shallow. The theory sounds comprehensive, but I couldn’t find any real examples of how it was applied and how the nitty gritty details resolved themselves. How does Chora collect their data? What is an example of one of their detailed prototypes? What are the specific rules of their scenario games and how do they program their charettes? Who are the participants and players in these games? These are all questions that I haven’t yet found answers to.

What Chora’s methodologies did help me with was how I could pull apart the different processes of a city into different layers in order to better understand how different “players” could influence and engage with each one if each were perhaps a layer in a larger interface or game board that was Beni and perhaps even the region. In this way I was able to apply the analysis that I made of each of these precedents and apply it to the development of my own ideas.

 

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