Networked Urbanism

design thinking initiatives for a better urban life

Design critics: Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo, principals of Ecosistema Urbano

I’m proposing to link the idea of understanding energy infrastructures with public education. I think there is a way to encourage sustainable behavior insofar as it relates to energy conservation by engaging a network of young students in Boston. The first step is to visualize the vast amount of information that exists about our energy infrastructure, and then create a system whereby students can interact with that infrastructure via a web or mobile interface to a social network. Without going into too much detail, I think it’s possible to combine educational programs with incentives to conserve and/or responsibly use energy (in all its forms). I am really inspired by the Natural Fuse project by Usman Haque, and I’m wondering how that system might be scaled up.

Think Big:

How can we encourage people to understand, appreciate, and sustain our urban energy infrastructure. Is it possible to develop a system that teaches people to conserve energy, on a scale large enough to make a significant contribution to offsetting our collective carbon footprint?

Start Small:

The first step is simply to understand how energy is created, distributed, and consumed in the city of Boston. In order to approach the complexity of the energy infrastructure that exists in this city, I propose to develop an energy monitoring and visualization system for a select number of households, to get a sense of how a typical Bostonian uses energy in real-time. The next step is to connect this system to social networking sites (Facebook/Twitter) and open the platform up to students in the area. The ultimate goal is to incentivize energy conservation by engaging a large network of students who can keep each other accountable in terms of their energy use.

Act Now:

Currently refining the ideas of the proposal, and trying to think how this system might be different from energy conservation programs that have failed in the past. What would be the most effective way to visualize the information at hand, and how will I engage the community to garner interest in the project?

No comments. Yours could be the first.

Your email will not be published.

* is a platform for sharing knowledge and design thinking experiences with the world around us, breaking through the walls of academia in an attempt to improve the society in which we live.