Monday, September 5, 2016

21st Century Parks-Mixing Physical Reality with Virtual Reality

Note In 2010 NYC produced a document High Performance Landsacape Guidelines  21st century Parks  for NYC

 It says...

Accommodate the full range of recreational and park use pref-erences expected from the local community


Not everyone’s preferences can be accommodated, especially in smaller neighborhood parks.

 The document does not talk about Loose parts, nor does it talk of the introduction of 21st century technology (information and computers) into our parks.

Perhaps if New Yorks guidelines were updated our neighborhood parks might actually start to "Accommodate the full range of recreational and park use pref-erences expected from the local community"

Everything in the universe is information.

That statement is based on  Shannons Infomation theory  For anyone interested in its scientific underpinnings in more laymans terms  look at the work of James Gelick , suffice it to say that

- at the most basic level life is based on DNA and DNA is really a way of  encoding information for use by organic life forms.

-much of 21st Century  life is now based on Shannons Information Theory (in the form of computers and the internet) and far more of it will be moving there in the near future

Libraries have got the message that everything is information, and that they are in the information business more so then the printed book business.

In realizing this they have been embracing 21st century Information technologies.The 21st Century library embraces ebooks and the internet. What's great about libraries too is that they are embracing a kinda mixed  reality concept. rather then abandon branch libraries  (physical reality) for virtual reality (the internet) they are working to combine the two and to find new community uses for their physical spaces that don't rely on physical books.

Many Parks departments havn''t gotten this yet. They are still building parks that do not embrace the fact that our world is now driven by information.

 In her book the Science of Play Susan Solomon makes the statement:
More and more, preteens avoid the playground altogether, choosing instead to spend time indoors, most likely sitting in front of some kind of screen

Looking at Susan Solomons preteens statement, the preteens are having so much better a time sitting home at a screen(virtual reality) , why go outdoors to a park (physical reality) that offers nothing  as enticing as the screen. ?

The answer to this problem is  "if you can't beat them join them" do this you need to add information resources  to parks. 

 One city that has gotten this is Long Beach, their Innovation Team is working on placing Augmented reality in one of their parks...

Harvey Milk Park will mapping virtual reality onto the existing physical realirty of the park. By  embracing the internet tLong Beach expects to get more people to use their park.

This is a idea that parks designers in other cities should be looking at too.

For the moment more thoughts on creating  21st Century parks can be found at this link