Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gamification: Good for the Community?

Pam's attempt at the Gamification of chores
is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context in order to engage users and solve problems.

We begin with a narrative.

It's nearly midnight as Agent DJ Goddessa makes her fourth lap of the surrounding 6 square blocks.  It's a chilly night as she makes her way through the park, cell phone light dimly guiding the way.  Appearing to ramble aimlessly she meanders across various terrains.  Though to someone watching she would seem lost, she could never be more accurate in her location.  She reaches the spot she was looking for, and anxiously awaits the confirmation from her phone.  LEVEL UP! She gave a whispered hooray, just as her phone notified her of a low battery.  She looks up at the monument, basking in the moonlight, she never really realized how pretty this park was at night.

Places like this.
All of a sudden she hears a rustling behind her! Spinning around she peers into the darkness and can make out a figure across the street.  Who could it be?! The shadow approached, slowly at first. When it crossed the street she could see the person was also lit by their cell phone.  Agent DJ peered through to see if she recognized the person. Almost as if in response the person flashes their cell phone screen.  She knew it, he was the enemy!  Though not at all dangerous.  She didn't have enough battery to battle over the park tonight, so instead she flashed her own phone as a sign of the torch being passed, a shift being changed, and for a little while longer this park will be safe. Even if it isn't Enlightened.

Can Gamification really make our cities safer, cleaner, and more popular? Can it bring about positive change in our communities?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Building a Better Battlefield: A look at two tech titans' shift into Architecture

Image from: The Poly Post
It seems that more than ever we as a nation are divided by one thing or another, and unless you've been living off the grid this past decade, you're more than well aware of the tech rivalry that is Apple v Google. What started with music, moved to phones, and then to the courthouses-has now evolved to the built environment as both companies have BIG plans for the coming decade. Each with their own creative ideas of 'a perfect work environment.' Which is ultimately the reason for constructing such (digital age) cathedrals.  As they both move forward to define themselves as an institution, the focus certainly seems to be on Building innovation through employee satisfaction. 
Stock-photo employees are easy, real people require a bit more...
Photo from Peaksurveys.com

Today, we are going to look at both buildings from not only a business and an aesthetic view, but of course a sustainable view as well.

Some notes before I begin:

I'm going to start by saying that the majority of information i've acquired for this article were posted online (linked below each piece) and many of them quoted each other, so i'm going to give you the same facts as you may find anywhere else.  However most of those articles are focused on either the aesthetics or the Financials- practically nothing is written about the Architecture, nor the green practices. Which is why I'm choosing to rehash it.

Secondly, I, the writer of this post, am particularly fond of one of these institutions; so I will be doing my best to provide an accurate view of the projects, and avoid bias. I will NOT  be slamming either company for their practices, however I cannot pretend that there isn't a clear winner in my opinion. That conclusion comes from the analysis of all information provided-not from my personal life.

Lastly, I decided to break this up into multiple posts to ease the reading load.  So below you will find both buildings in a stand alone post, with links to each other and back here.  Please feel free to comment on any of them to let us know how you feel about the projects, or share them among your social platforms!

Google Complex- Bayview

Location: Mountainview, CA
Architects: NBBJ
Estimated Date of Completion: 2015
Current Estimated Cost: Not Disclosed
Parti: Angled Interactions

Continue Reading: "Bayview: Letting the Data Drive Design"

Apple Campus - Spaceship HQ

Location: Cupertino, CA
Architects: Foster + Partners
Estimated Date of Completion: 2014-16'
Current Estimated Cost: $5 Billion
Parti: Circular Unity

Bayview: Letting the Data Drive Design

“We started not with an architectural vision but with a vision of the work experience and so we designed this from the inside out.” -David Radcliffe

Location: Mountainview, CA
Architects: NBBJ
Estimated Date of Completion: 2015
Current Estimated Cost: Not Disclosed
PartiAngled Interactions

Spaceship HQ: No Thrown Phones in Glass Houses

 “We have a shot, at building the best office building in the world. I really do think that architecture students will come here to see it.”-Steve Jobs

Apple - Spaceship HQ

Location: Cupertino, CA
Architects: Foster + Partners
Estimated Date of Completion: 2014-16'
Current Estimated Cost: $5 Billion
PartiCircular Unity

Friday, April 12, 2013

"Make it look like a duck..." or The Falsification of Sustainability

Courtesy of Brimen Cartoons

I have seen this all too often. A company makes an announcement of their intentions, the speech littered with hot button words,and in the end we all feel warm and fuzzy at the progress we're promised.  Fast forward some time and it seems more often than not these companies show little progress, if not backwards movement. Was it a lie? Was it a misunderstanding? How is it that we have been talking about Sustainability for over a decade, with so little to show for it?  I believe it all boils down to what we choose to call Sustainable, more specifically, how many things we call Sustainable.  Slapping labels on things, doesn't actually make them so.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

We are Champions at work!

Hey everyone!

So I apologize for not issuing my second installment of This Week in Sustainability, I hope you liked it, I sure did! Check it out here!

I tried to write up a little something Friday night, but I was wiped out from a day's worth of competition.  I will provide a write up soon on this as well, but in brief, Los Angeles Trade and Technical College participated in and totally rocked the State Level of Skills USA in San Diego!

In an impressive sweep, our school pulled in 10 gold medals, as well as getting 4th place in  highest membership growth, earning the title of Mega Chapter!