00:01Tom Fisher from the University of Minnesota.
00:02Thank you, Diana.
00:03One of the advantages of coming up last is with these devices, you can keep rewriting as you go.
00:08So I've been rewriting this, and we've heard a little bit of history.
00:12But before I talk about the infrastructure issues that I wanted to talk about...
00:15...I wanted to give you a little bit of history about why I think this event and geodesign is so profoundly important.
00:20And for that, I want to go back to 1452, and Gutenberg's invention of moveable type.
00:25As we know from Marshall McLuhan's book, The Gutenberg Galaxy, it was profoundly important.
00:31Moveable type, as an invention, and the inexpensive printed books that came from it...
00:35...led to the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, scientific revolution in the seventeenth...
00:40...the political revolutions in the eighteenth, the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth centuries...
00:44...through one invention, through one technology.
00:48And there are three things, though, that I think are important to what we're doing here,
00:52and I just want to talk about as a result of that invention.
00:54One, as a result of moveable type and the Enlightenment that came from that...
00:58...it led to the partitioning of knowledge into disciplines.
01:02So that we now have knowledge neatly packaged into departments...
01:06...ensconced in their own buildings with their own language and their own literature.
01:10And this kind of partitioning of knowledge is something that pervades not only universities...
01:15...but corporations and the government at well.
01:18The second thing it did is it led to the separation of mind and body.
01:22The separation of humans and nature.
01:25And it led to the rise of the expert, the rise of the professional.
01:29The person who was trained, given advantage in the marketplace, through knowledge...
01:34...with others who carried out or implemented our ideas.
01:37It also, of course, led to the separation of us from the natural world, and the idea that we had the right to exploit it.
01:44And then the third idea that came out of moveable type, out of that one invention, was the abstraction of reality...
01:50...which of course, we see in the abstraction of the landscape.
01:53The partitioning off of the landscape into properties, into boundaries, the fragmentation of habitat...
01:59...and again, the idea that somehow we, as a species, have a right to own the planet.
02:07Now, this all changed in the twentieth century, at the end of the twentieth century, through two big areas, two discoveries.
02:14One of which was ecology...
02:17...which of course has its roots earlier than the twentieth century, but largely a twentieth-century phenomenon.
02:21And the second thing was computing, and particularly the Internet.
02:25And the reason those are important is that the previous revolutions came from an idea...
02:30...that moveable type led us to believe that the world was a machine.
02:35And we had a metaphor for reality that was mechanistic.
02:40We saw the world as a machine, the human body as a machine, the mind as a machine.
02:45The end of the twentieth century has brought an end to that three-, four-hundred-year cycle.
02:50And we now live in a new metaphor, a new reality, one which is based on the web.
02:55We see now the reality in weblike ways.
02:58We see neural networks in the mind, rather than as a machine.
03:01We see social networks.
03:03We see ecological and natural ecosystems.
03:07So a networked reality is the new reality that we are in.
03:11And the reason why I think this is so important is that GIS is a fascinating transition technology in this cultural shift that we're in.
03:20And that the paradox of GIS is it uses machines to create a weblike way of looking at the world.
03:29It is still in some ways very Enlightenment-based.
03:32It is still looking at abstractions of nature through layers.
03:37And it's still data driven.
03:40All of those are the legacy of the last 300 years.
03:43And yet by its mashing-up of information, and allowing us to see connections that were not seen before...
03:50...it actually propels us into the next millennium.
03:54It's a tool as profound, I think, as what Gutenberg developed in 1452.
04:02And geodesign, then, I think is a result of this intellectual revolution.
04:08It is not so much a tool, per se, it's a new application or a conceptual infrastructure of what arises out of this new tool, GIS.
04:18And it is weblike in its reality, reconnecting mind-body, left and right brain, humans and nature, and so on.
04:25And design thinking, the reason why design is so important is that because this kind of form of creative thinking is inherently weblike.
04:33It is inherently interdisciplinary, it's lateral and nonlinear, it's not entirely rational.
04:39It's about imagination as much as logic, about emotion as much as reason.
04:44It's about storytelling, as we heard Janet talk about today, as much as data.
04:48It's about aesthetics and ethics, as we heard David talk about, as much as analytics.
04:53It's about place, as we've heard Constance, Nicholas, and Tamara talk about, as much as space...
04:58...and it is about the world as it could be, as much as it is.
05:03So what I want to do with that preface is just talk about three different infrastructure ideas that we're pursuing at the University of Minnesota...
05:12...as a way to talk about how we can begin to implement this new weblike mind in our institutions.
05:21The first of which is a youth spatial project...
05:24...where we are really, literally beginning to, and talking about remapping the entire university around challenges.
05:30So that students would major in a discipline and minor in a challenge.
05:34And over the course of their time at the university, work interdisciplinarily with others around major challenges.
05:41Fresh water, immigration, poverty, homelessness.
05:45There's a long list of them that we're working on.
05:48And by that, it sort of takes us out of our sort of discrete, little buildings which are so neatly packaged in an Enlightenment mode...
05:57...and beginning to find connections, in our case, across three different campuses in the Twin Cities...
06:02...people who are working on these areas in multiple disciplines, with geodesign as the platform.
06:07And so there will be geodesign nodes, where different disciplines will be working real-time, around challenges...
06:15...and using the spatial knowledge that this allows, to help understand and find solutions to these complicated problems.
06:24The second thing we're doing is a net zero campus project...
06:30...where we are using geodesign to basically bring one of the largest campuses in the country...
06:37...there's over 50,000 students on the Twin Cities campus...
06:40...into a zero to net positive position.
06:46And one of the things that this does is it's reconnecting the academic and the operational side.
06:50It's not just academics thinking about this.
06:52We're working with all the facilities people, our students are working on the campus.
06:58And so it isn't about this separation of mind and body that came with the Enlightenment, it's about thinking and acting...
07:05...and using the campus as an opportunity to do that.
07:07It also is using a kind of neo-geography idea, which is where...
07:13...having students gather information, participate in this whole project...
07:18...as well as we're even thinking about our own internal barter currency, called Gopher Dollars...
07:22...that would reincentivize different kinds of activities.
07:27So, you know, things that should be extremely valuable, like clean water...
07:32...things that we want to discourage, like waste...
07:35...are reset, recalibrated in a new kind of an economy, internally inside of the university...
07:40...that we then monitor and begin to measure.
07:45And the third thing that we're doing is setting up what may be one of the largest immersive experiential labs...
07:53...it's a 6,000-square-foot geodesign lab that we're setting up in one of our buildings.
07:58It's an immersive space.
07:59The reason why it's so large is we want to do an experiment with geodesign and community participation.
08:04This place is big enough to get whole communities involved.
08:07There's this rack of projectors and motion detectors that will be projecting on large screens.
08:16It doesn't show in this image...on all four sides of the court as well as down on the floor.
08:21And so you will be able to bring a community in, and real time, begin to assess different ways of planning and making decisions real-time...
08:31...and building consensus in a space big enough to accommodate everybody as well as to project things full size.
08:39So we've also begun to do other kinds of maps.
08:42We've been doing layers, faculty members have been doing mapping of joy and pain in the city.
08:48We've been mapping happiness.
08:50We've been mapping other kinds of layers that are based on storytelling...
08:54...that are based on ethical ideas, and overlaying these onto GIS maps.
08:58Because, I would argue, that this is where geodesign takes us.
09:03It's not simply data, it's also affect.
09:06It's also feeling and emotion as well as rationality.
09:09And that this is the potential that this new tools creates for us.
09:12So as McLuhan said, the media is the message.
09:16GIS, like moveable type, is a tool that will transform our world, and will change the way we think and what we do.
09:26Geodesign, I think, is the message to come out of this media...
09:30...and it represents a change of mind and a method that really derives its power from GIS.
09:36And I think I would end by saying that we have put in place here an absolutely transformative set of activities.
09:44I think we should feel privileged to be alive at time when we're going through one of these major cultural shifts in Western culture...
09:52...something that doesn't happen except every three, four hundred years.
09:55And we're right in the middle of it, we're right at the brink.
09:58And also, I think, the sense that all of us should recognize the power of being in this room.
10:03Here, at the conception and birth of the moveable type of the next millennium.
The Infrastructure Needs of GeoDesign
Tom Fisher from the University of Minnesota presents "The Infrastructure Needs of GeoDesign" at the 2011 GeoDesign Summit.
- Recorded: Jan 7th, 2011
- Runtime: 10:20
- Views: 18170
- Published: Feb 25th, 2011
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