Friday, October 31, 2014

Good Design Or Just An Accident?

This was the view from the room where the complexity presentation was held.  It's really a peaceful landscape.  What impressed me was . . . well look at the next picture.

Yes, there is a road that goes through this landscape.  But from this room, at least,  you don't see the road.  When there's no car, you don't even realize it's there.

So, I was wondering - was this designed this way?  Or just an accident?  From the second floor, you won't have this same illusion that it's just an unbroken field to the trees.

Now, on the way to the presentation, I did pass an accident.  There were at least two other cars behind me that were also involved.  I didn't see an ambulance and you couldn't crash much closer to the emergency room than this intersection right between UAA and Providence hospital.   Not sure how this car got in this position.  Well designed intersections have fewer accidents. 

And putting some thought into land use can avoid making terrible mistakes too.

At the complexity talk, Dr. Jamie Trammel's presentation was titled: Alternative Landscape Futures: Using Spatially-Explicit Scenarios to Model Landscape Change.

OK, that title sounds pretty academic.  Basically, he was looking at ways to look at land use by gathering data, then projecting maps of the landscape with different possible futures based on different conditions.  If you, for example, see where threatened species live, leave wilderness corridors, look at the best land for urban areas, you can make maps that show different possible land use patterns.  He gave examples from Australia, Las Vegas, and the Kenai Peninsula.   This slide probably gives a better sense of how this works. 

Clearly Trammel's work is to try to bring some sense and order to future land use rather than letting things just happen haphazardly.

This was the slide that I didn't quite understand and I didn't have a chance to ask him to explain it more fully.  But it's a diagram, as I understand it, for developing these alternative futures so that people can visualize all the data that normally is too dense for most people to make sense of. 

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