Archive for January 2014

The Dangers of Premeditated Solutions: Limiting the Search for Perfection

Patchopolis examines community connections to find physical and social ties that strengthen relationships through improving economic and natural resource efficiencies. When applying new concepts and methods to an existing system one of the easiest mistakes is to presume to know too much too early, limiting the vision of an urban patch to result in something recognizable. In striving for utopian ideals it is necessary to start at the beginning, aim high, and let the solution develop naturally, allowing for the creation of the most efficient, resilient, and enjoyable urban community advancements.

While it is necessary to have some preparatory consideration for what connections are possible within communities, the process needs to begin open to growth and experimentation in any direction. Reading Nidhi Subbaraman’s article on 3D printing of food my first response was, “How uninspired to try to use a 3D printer to make a pie” (Subbaraman, NBC News). Early in the process it is necessary to test what new tools and technologies are capable of, so making something familiar makes sense. However, why debate popular acceptance of food that is 3D printed by comparing it to traditional means? The potentials and benefits of 3D printing food and lab grown meats for that matter isn’t to simply recreate Thanksgiving dinner, but to allow the creation of appealing and nutrient rich foods that allow human adaption to other environments or living conditions (consider the previous post on the adaption of society to space life, underground survival, or urban centers where traditional items cannot be raised in sufficient numbers). In those situations food will not need, or potentially want, to be in the form we traditionally recognize, considering gravitational, utensil, and dining setting differences. The debate on acceptance of new technologies should be had when considering the results of its use on its own volition. In waiting to debate a tool, technology or community change, first push the development to its limits to see the full array of what it offers, rather than giving up through by limiting the review to a comparison to existing means and results.

Through not starting from what is known but starting from a blank slate, the potential to reach new heights is made possible. During graduate school I completed a project studying LEED for Neighborhood Development as a guideline for developing a new community. In reviewing the project, one member of the design jury asked if I had any concept of what a truly sustainable building would look like. The point of his questioning was not to take and apply green or sustainable attributes to what is already recognized as a building and neighborhood, but to take the opportunity to begin at square one and design with these attributes as a starting point, allowing the shape and character of a community and its buildings to evolve from these concepts. The more limits put on a new patch, the less unforeseen outcomes can be achieved, possibly losing the full advancement potential. In developing new plans and connections to improve the resiliency of urban areas it’s necessary to avoid being presumptuous and starting the development from a recognizable ‘safe’ place. In doing so the connections that will be possible are presumed to be known, limiting new tools’ potential impact and what the final result will look like.

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With my new computer now fully functional, I have again picked up the digital model of a patch for the stripmall parking lot. I hope to get some screen shots up for comment soon :). Thanks for reading and I wish a happy, healthy and productive new year for everyone in 2014!