be2camp north shapes up

www-constInterested in the Built Environment?  Not sure about Web 2.0, social media, blogs, Twitter and the like?

Then Be2camp North is the event for you.

Following on from the world’s first Web 2.0 construction event, in London in October 2008, Be2camp North in Liverpool on 15 May brings together people interested in how Web 2.0 can help industry professionals create a more sustainable built environment. From using social media for marketing to GIS, BIM and virtual worlds, Be2camp will stimulate and challenge how you use the web. Find out more at http://www.be2camp.comJust looking at the potential scope and range of topics for the up coming be2camp north event in Liverpool on the 15th May.

be2camp

The topics and themes for the day are shaping up as follows?  Where else will you be able to get the following for ‘free’ ?

Register Here

Topics:

Ada Lovelace Day – Women and technology (Suw Charman-Anderson – via Skype)

Geographical information

  • Geographical information and urban design (Rollo Home)
  • Earth Exchange, map mashups for construction (Alex Albon)
  • Geo-caching – talk and game (Martin Brown and others)

Second Life + other Virtual Worlds

  • Wikitecture – a Second life view from USA (Keystone Bouchard)
  • Pivote – Second Life emergency training (Dave @ Daden)
  • Maybe a Second Life contribution from Leeds? (Angrybeth)
  • SL Pennine Lancs (elevate) visualisation (Jeff Smithson)
  • Sustainability Now 2009: lessons from the latest virtual exhibition (Phil Clark / UBM?).

Ubiquitous computing

  • Arduino session (Amon Katz)
  • The internet of things – Adrian McEwen

BIM

Other topics

  • Web 2.0 and construction PR and marketing (Paul Wilkinson)
  • Social media guide for AEC people: out of beta (Pam Broviak)
  • Online communities: the Constructing Excellence collaborative working champions (Martin Brown / Paul Wilkinson)
  • Bazaart: Street art and urban design (Daniel Gilbert)
  • Possible Passiv Haus link with San Fransisco
  • CWC recession survival guide launch?
  • Kalexo: new levels of interaction in construction collaboration (TBC – possibly input from California)

What would you like to see?  Please use the be2camp discussion forums feature to:

  • volunteer to speak on an existing topic/idea
  • suggest additional or alternative speakers
  • suggest additional or alternative topics
  • nominate speakers where nobody is currently listed
  • volunteer a presentation, a story or anecdote of your own

Background:

The Be2camp concept started as a Twitter conversation between Martin Brown and Paul Wilkinson, following Martin’s attendance at Barcamp-type events, suggesting we do ‘something’ for the (UK) built environment. This discussion was picked by Jodie Miners in Australia, through Twitter, and through conversations within Second Life with Pam Broviakfrom Illinois, USA. The timing of Be2camp 2008 was fixed to coincide with Jodie’s visit to the UK, while Pam helped coordinate Be2camp’s Second Life activities. So now you know who to contact, praise or blame!

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sustainability now champion

susnow10-160px4

Phil Clarke at Building Mag @zerochamp has asked me to be a  champion for the forthcoming Building magazine’s Sustainability Now virtual event taking place 13 and 14 May.

Still awaiting details, but I will be online in the discussion lounge on the 14th May and look forward to chatting with you there (and hopefuly drinking virtual champagne with Mel and others?) 

 

I will be in great company with fellow green bloggers:

  • Lucy Pedler, an architect founder of the influential body The Green Register, which has a membership of 600 influential sustainable professionals
  • Principal at green consultancy Inbuilt and green blogger Mel Starrs, who writes at Elemental
  • One of the sector’s most popular figures on Twitter, blogger Su Butcher – a practice manager at architect Barefoot & Gilles who blogs at Just Practising.

A detailed agenda for the event should be available next week. In the meantime here’s a bit of a snapshot of the type of content at the show:

  •  Live seminar on refurbishing existing houses with the Energy Saving Trust
  • Discussions on issues such as PassivHaus design, the zero carbon definition and the CRC
  • Videos from Ecobuild 
  • Some content from Bioregional on their views on sustainable legislation and updates from their projects
  • A survey on BREEAM 2008 

More here 

To take part in the online event sign up here  Its Free ! with the benefits you’d get from major conferences without the travel and from your home / office computer.

web tech construction

Do you know your Twitter from an Avatar, or RSS from a BIM?

I am currently running an innovation circle for Construction Knowledge Exchange (CKE) looking at the use of web technology in construction at UCLAN.  The first session  took a lightning tour through communication, design and collaboration in the sector, from fax machines to BIM storms.

Innovation circles are based on a cycle of four 2 hour sessions, the content of each being decided by the delegates based upon the first ‘overview’ session.  Web technology in construction flyer

Future sessions will look into the worlds of:

■ Communications—blogs, twitter, skype and conference tools.(Thursday 10th April 1pm)

■ Information—google and wikis

■ Design—beyond CAD to Second Life, BIM and Bimstorms.

…. and, technology (wifi) permitting will be more hands on and interactive wih the web applications. (Why is I find the most trouble some place to get wifi or internet connections is within universities?  OftenI feel like taking the workshop “across the road” to a MacDonalds or Starbucks !)

Following the fourth session the presentation materials will be available here and on slideshare, with a recap at the be2campnorth event on 15th May in Liverpool.

twittering on the edge of chaos?

It seems everyone is trying to understand and analyse  twitter at the moment, so after nearly a year of twittering , here are my thoughts:

Perhaps it is a little more than coincidence that Twitter has been named after our feathered friends,  as it is very close, in my mind, to the classic edge of chaos example of how birds flock.  

Birds flock  through following a set of unwritten, uncommunicated simple  rules.  Flocking birds have no manual, no procedures to follow, no dos and do nots, no bird etiquette, they just do it , and do it by instinct and in spectacular fashion. 

And they all do it. (Have you ever seen one bird turn the wrong way at the wrong time to create a mangle of free-fall bird feathers – no, never).  

And so it is, could, should? be with Twitter

It works at so many different levels for so many different purposes, and here is its power, it is all things to all people and brilliant for it, and we twitters like them boids, don’t need lists of dos and donts, guidance, rules or twitterquette, we just do it,  we just twitter.  (Maybe this is why many say they just ‘dont get it’ – there is a sense of jumping in and using twitter and see what emerges, rather than a calculated action plan) 

Indeed it is the relationships between the agents (us as twitters, or the birds) and the scope for emergence are is so important in keeping twitter at the edge of chaos.

Chaos theory is often illustrated through the butterfly affect ( a butterflies wings flapping in Chile can cause storms in Europe, a concept I have called small in large out – SILO)   Again Twitter demonstrates this concept incredibly well – one tweet  can spread through the global twitter community probably faster than any other form of communication known. (eg news stories broken through twitter) 

So is twitter really an application of complexity theory in practice, a demonstration of the ‘edge of chaos’ paradigm?   I think so, and  having long used the concepts of complexity theory (simple rules, agents, relationships, SILO and emergence) to allow management system processes and procedures to become so much more effective and efficient, (eg where many ‘control’ procedures can be replaced with a few simple rules)  I see twitter applications having a future within management systems, just not sure exactly how yet!

But … others more learned in the complexity / chaos theory may like to comment, agree  or correct me ?

Oh, and since tweeting I have, through twitter,  purchased a chicken coop, won and let work contracts, helped others win work,  learnt so much, made new friends and contacts, been inspired and shocked, eaten humble pie once or twice and hopefully shared something of use in return.  Fellow twitters have shared births, deaths, job losses and job finds, sadness, anger and great happiness ….. Brilliant.

defining zero carbon – more clarifications (for homes at least)

On Wednesday I sat in on a Zero Carbon Hub consultation event relating to the defining-zero-carbon-homes-presentation2zero carbon definition  for buildings. I did manage to send some tweets via twitter during the session, and here, I have pulled these together to give a view on the consultation paper.

The event was not quite what I was expecting, as confusingly although the document out or consultation is entitled Definition of Zero Carbon Homes and Non Domestic Buildings, it doesn’t, Neil Jefferson head of the Hub informed us, cover Non Domestics – a separate consultation is expected soon.

Key to the proposal and principles are three elements expressed in the pyramid:

zero-carbon-hier

There is so much thinking, science , technology and even politics behind this hierarchy that isn’t (imho) expressed in the paper, but was covered in the slides from the session, handed out on USB drive and from here : defining-zero-carbon-homes-presentation2

Some interesting thoughts:

As to the rate of homes being built to CSH 6 (zero carbon) the following profile helps to explain the anticipated progress to 100% post 2016:

of-homes-to-zero-carbon

The aspirational target is a UK version of the German PassivHaus concept.  (as Denise Chevin mentions in Building Its principles are simple – the best way to go low carbon is to build a well-insulated, airtight envelope that is nice to live in. It also comes with a copper-bottomed pedigree, with thousands of completed buildings over its 17-year history.)

Nearly 50% present at event were developers and contractor and saw the on site achieving of standards as most demanding aspect of zero carbon. (Cost and quality) 

Will allowable solutions be just another complex carbon off-setting scheme? Could offsite allowances mean business as usual for designers / developers / builders ?  although 2/3 of those present thought that offsite renewables should n0t be included within carbon compliance.

New build house projects to (could?) decarbonise existing housing stock – this is an exciting new idea but received low interest in terms of potential (votes) from those present 

And as to who should monitor and police zero carbon?  Given three options ( Local Planning Authority/ Building Control Bodies/New form of accredited body) those present opted for c, New form of accredited body.

musing on a carbon 1:5:200

Reading many items and articles on the carbon issues that the built environment faces in the coming years, I have jotted a number of random thoughts in google notebook, which may one day be useful ‘spin’ for example:

…almost every building uses more energy than design calculations …… technology alone is not enough …… design 20%, people 80% … attitudes and behaviour towards energy use need to change …….. it is our responsibility to make sure that the building users understand what they need to do to meet the carbon objectives set at the design stage…… people just change the lightbulbs and appliances as soon as they move in ……. eco bling in buildings is too complex for fm’s so they switch it off and open the window..

And then, describing the 1:5:200 concept to someone today, it clicked, maybe it is the  1:5:200 thinking that joins these snippets together and is a new paradigm required in relation to sustainability and carbon management.

Maybe, if  the impact of construction is set to 1, then could the impact or influence of fm be 5 and the impact of building users 200? (in this thinking the influence of design is 0.1)

(and of course, as with the cost 1:5:200, these are indicative magnitudes to illustrate relationships between construction fm and buildings in use, not absolute figures)

Comments welcome ….

interacting with information

“There’s a clear direction … away from people thinking, ‘This is my PC, this is my hard drive,’ to ‘This is how I interact with information, this is how I interact with the web.'”

Occasionally you come across a quote that reinforces up what you have been trying to communicate for ages, such is the comment above from Dave Armstrong, head of product and marketing for Google Enterprise, reported in the Observer article Google plans to make PC’s history .

This illustrates that the move towards a more web2.0 environment is no more about the technology but about people, trust and empowerment.

Over the last week or so I have seen many examples of the silo approach to information and knowledge, from projects to corporates to universities to industry champions, all concerned over loss of some kind of advantage (claims, profit, competitive edge, intellectual rights etc) in the face of sharing on web2.0 platforms or apps.

Maybe the built environment sector need to look at the mess the music industry has gotten itself into by trying to retain some degree of ownership for a solution.

There is also the generation thing here, as Paul commented at last weeks collaborative champions meeting, Y Gen and Google Gen people are unconscious collaborators , and yet the more influential generation (boomers) maybe stifling such collaboration by taking away and banning collaboration / sharing tools such as facebook and twitter and blogs and ….

There is also a parallel here to the anti-benchmarking school of thought, but history has shown that those who share, learn and benchmark mark with others have gained rather than lost advantage and made progress on many improvement fronts.

Time for us in the built environment to re-evaluate how we  interact with information and the internet…