At the 2010 GeoDesign Summit, University of Minnesota’s Dean of Architecture, Thomas Fisher, made a fantastic presentation on the value of geographical data in architectural design. Fisher argues that previous design processes have not utilized historical data in any meaningful way. Over the last fifty years, design has been based on trends and imagery with little influence from any real data. Fisher argues that as a result we have created an irresponsible, fracture-critical, built environment around us.
The basis of the GeoDesign concept is to utilize current and previous data (geography) to imfluence the future data (design). In Fisher’s book, In The Scheme of Things: Alternative Thinking on the Practice of Architecture, he makes a similar comparison to the investment banking industry’s dependence on real data. Fisher argues that the the design community has done little to study and archive the resulting data from our built projects, and this has made it difficult to sell design decisions to clients and ourselves…. there is no real information to point to in order to better justify the costs or energy of these decisions. Meanwhile most other industries, even investment banking; operate, control risk, and sell their value based on historical, collected data.
I envision the utilization of a centralized system such as Housing2.0 to incorporate a systematic feedback system for housing data collection. Using new and social media tools, this data can consist of infinite categories. These categories could range from subjective like/dislike, to very objective energy consumption analysis. The possibilities are endless if the architects just evolve the design and delivery process to a web-based, open system.