latest Grid Works issued

The latest issue of Grid Works has been issued and is available for download from here or from vendors on the Public Works area within Second Life.

Once again CivilE Writer (editor) has pulled together an excellent journal that illustrates how second life and other virtual worlds can be used to improve the real world built environment.

In this issue:

  • Conference in a sewer.
  • Using Second Life for architectural design and planning
  • Built Environment Tour to introduce you to Second Life
  • Job Seeking in the Virtual World
  • Website reviews of the UK FixMyStreet and FillThatHole from

The next edition of Grid Works will feature colleges and universities in Second Life offering engineering and related science programs in real life and/or Second Life. If you know of a school that should be included in this issue, let us know by e-mailing the following information:

•Name and real life location of school
•Location of school in Second Life
•Second Life contact information for school

(I guess I should declare an interest as contributing editor through my second life avatar Brand Woodin)

Grid Works is published quarterly for $L0 per year in Second Life.

cities and intention and collaboration and community

It’s actually about people making things together. What’s going to come out of this is cities and intention and collaboration and community, because the capability this thing provides is mysterious in the degree to which is allows people to do things together.

This quote from Philip Rosedale Linden was the turning point in Second Life’s beginnings.

I had heard this before but was reminded from the Really blog in their story on I am in your web browser. – a great title for a blog!

By the way did you know there are avatars virtually present on your websites, your homepages, as you view them, chatting amongst themselves?)  I can see a couple of weblins below – weird and uncanny but a glimpse of Web3.0 perhaps?  If you happen across a weblin called Snape do say hello

… on avatars

Was it just serendipity yesterday that minutes after reading the excellent Vision of the Future winner (Rob Ainsley)  in New Scientist (8 Jun 2058: So, from today, avatars have equal status in the workplace. ….) that I read the blog entry from Pam (GridWorks colleague and friend over in Illinois)  on her issues with having an avatar image on a real world futures forum. Or something more significant?

Lots of issues raised in both of these items, one being that of avatars finally getting equal rights in fifty years time, the other illustrating the start of that process where someone wanting to present themselves as an avatar, at least in pictorial form (for very good reasons imho) is not accepted.  The first being futuristic and sci-fi, but the second in the here and now.

Will sociologists and others have a field day now with the diversity issue widened to include avatars as more and more people take on second life businesses and enterprises, related or unrelated to their real world personae?

where is the service user innovation …

I attended the SCRI event on Service User Innovation in Salford Uni’s new Lady Hale Building yesterday, listened to four influential speakers and participated in thoughtful discussions and break outs.

POE (post occupancy evaluations) were mentioned too often – I have an issue with POE  as a means to evaluate performance, and as they have been referred to before are the wrong tool for the wrong job.  Yes there needs to be post project evaluation, for as Ian Cooper notes, every building project without a feedback loop is a prototype. But to measure people performance through their relationship with the building is the wrong starting point. After all its about the service users ‘experience’

The four key speakers were Prof Peter Barratt at BuHu Salford University – key message here for me was his comment that all the successful projects were led by Facilities Management, his case studies included the Sydney Opera House and Wm McCormack Place in Cairns as part of the Australian Facilities Management Action Agenda, the Trondhiem Hospital where the construction team were selected by psychologists to ensure they understood health issues, and John Zeisel‘s work in Boston USA with Alzheimer’s centers

Neil Sachdev, Sainsburys Commerical Director, illustrated how they engage with their customers on store design,

John Lorimer from Manchester City Council on testing furniture with pupils against a background of how the school environment shapes and influences education , and

Nigel Oseland on POE’s who also . Nigel also introduced the Dunbar’s number concept of 150 and talked on biophilia kinship, of our history of camp fires and story telling, of seeking nature and space and waymarking, but now confined into office cubicles.  (We need to get out more, tell stories have camp fire meetings and connect with nature – not surprising then the increase in barcamps and benchmarkwalks)

The investment in really engaging with and empowering end users is impressive. Five years in the case of John Zeisel in understanding Alzheimer’s needs in the USA , a huge investment from Sainsbury’ s and the patient work in understanding pupil and teacher needs from Manchester City Council.  None of these three examples start with the building, but with the users.  Why then as an industry do we fool ourselves we can do the engagement stuff with one or two value management exercises and a POE?

I was not alone in noting an under theme of web 2.0 in the presentations and discussions.  There was the mention of pupils using second life to determine space and colour requirements, of the use of Web2 (twitter maybe, blogs, or facebook groups) in getting real, unsolicited, feedback from facilities users. I sensed though it was something to put on the wish list and get on with the business in hand.

It is a pity this was an under theme as to me as is where the real service user innovation lies. Service users make use of web2 technology outside of the work place, ie in second life, in twittering, in facebook, in myspace … etc etc etc.  The innovation is in using this in design and facilities management.  We seem to be blind to or just awakening to its potential. The potential to allow continuous dialogue between service users and service providers / designers   This is not rocket science – those using twitter can contact the government on issues (and get a response) and be kept in touch with the Prime Ministers actions, speeches and even thoughts.

And then where – consumers constantly in dialogue with a supermarket on store layouts, on colour, on products and costs – office users ditto with the fm’s on suggestions and wc complaints –  pupils on school design, residents on city facilities and urban design – on eco town developments,  and all in real time as it happens.

Definitely a topic to be discussed at the be2camp event in October

virtual world fest for built environment?

Peak Oil awareness: today and tomorrow, Eco-Friendly sim Etopia is having a two day activity to help raise awareness of our global overdependence on oil.

Etopia will host a concert, panel discussions, freebie hunt, videos, exhibits and displays in the hope of touching more people in SL and all over the globe and inspiring changes in our world.  Etopia Bamboo Bikes will be given away with bike hikes scheduled as peaceful demonstrations of our support of alternative methods of transportation. We hope that riders will then take their bikes and ride all across SL.

Read more for the schedule and see how SL can be a tool for positive change.

Thursday, June 26th

Opening Events (Main Entrance)                               12:45p – 1p SLT
Live Concert – Pillowfish (Community Center)          1-2p SLT
Pedal-thon (Main Entrance)                                        2-3p SLT
Panel Discussion (Community Center)                       3-4p SLT
Sailing Tour (Etopia Prime – Beach)                            4-5p SLT

Peak Oil Video (Main Clocktower)                               5-6p SLT

Pedal-thon (Main Entrance)                                         6-7p SLT

Friday, June 27th

Class: Cooking Without Oil (Main Entrance)              1-2p SLT
Pedal-thon (Main Entrance)                                          2-3p SLT
Peak Oil Video (Main Clocktower)                                3-4p SLT
Freebie Hunt (Main Entrance)                                       4-5p SLT
Pedal Thon (Main Entrance)                                          5-6p SLT
Discussion (Tsidel’s Cafe – Prime)                                6-7p SLT
Live Concert – Sassy Nitely (Prime Bandshell)   7-8p SL

thanks to HodgePodge and Faythe Zauber at the Going Green Store  (on Etopia )

And ….

And then hot on the heels of the Public Works Group orientation and Open Day, this Saturday (28th June) a Second Life birthday event that runs along side the Sustainability Now, Building’s online conference on July 1st, is “Urbanism, Architecture, Planning: How Second Life Can Help Build the Urban Landscape of the First Life–and Vice Versa“ See you there?!?!

from the Arch Blog:
Date/Time: July 1, 12:00 p.m. PT (thats 8pm in the UK?)


Moderator: Rissa Maidstone (RL Kim Smith)

Tab Scott (RL Terry Beaubois), Creative Research Lab, Montana State University
Diva Canto (RL Cristina Lopes), Dept. of Informatics, UC Irvine
Boston Borst (RL Eric Gordon), Department of Visual and Media Arts, Emerson College, Hub2
Keystone Bouchard (RL Jon Brouchoud), Crescendo Design, Studio Wikitectur

built environment events … coming soon

News of up and coming events which in some way isite / fairsnape are involved or participating in. Information and contact links are included below but please feel free to leave comments or contact here for more information, or indeed for help on accessing the online events

(V indicates the event has virtual or online access elements, saving your travel and environmental footprint.)

Saturday 28th June. V

Open and Orientation day on the Public Works Island in Second Life. Your chance to pop into second life and see what all the fuss is about, get a guided tour around interesting construction activities, view environmental and education projects, talk to second life users and see how second life can help with your collaboration projects and meetings.

Details: Open Day register through the Public Works Group Web site,

July 1/2 V

Sustainability Now, Building‘s online conference organised by ZeroChampion blogger Phil Clark, is to take place from 8am to 8pm on the 1 and 2 July. From your home or office computer, visit this unique FREE online event and have the opportunity to Network with like-minded professionals; Hear from industry thought leaders; Visit the exhibition, and take part in Q&A sessions.

A series of live online seminar topics are planned  including “EPCs – Surviving Them Now and Assessing their Impact” and “The Cost of the Code for Sustainable Homes”.

Details: Sustainability Now virtual conference

July 10th

Best Practice Procurement and Support. A Lancashire Best Practice drop-in event hosted by UCLAN, (University of Central Lancashire)  in Preston. Find out the ‘best practice’ issues your customers are looking for in procurement and seek assistance from the ‘best practice’ support organisations. There will also be a series of mini presentations throughout the day and a chance to network and chat.

Details: Latest event news here

July 16th

Route to Zero improvement module as part of the Elevate Constructing the Future programme.  An early evening event to learn about starting out on a route towards low or zero carbon future for your organisation

Details: Route to Zero . Register through Constructing the Future here

October (date to be fixed but between 10-17) V

be2camp. A planned event to discuss and explore the use of web 2.0 technologies and applications for built environment activities.  The event is being organised on non-conference and bar-camp ideas, which means you can get involved in designing the event, speaking at the event, or providing support and sponsorship. This event is already attracting much interest in the UK, the USA and Australia.

Detailsbe2camp wiki, blogs

October 29th / 30th V

Elevate’s Constructing The Future national sustainability conference.  Details to follow but get the date into your diary now.

Note that it is planned to host a Best Practice Club Question Time Event on the evening of October 29th

Details: background competition contact for more info

Watch this space for more events and updates

Web 2.0 meets Built Environment – possible event

Some Web 2.0 enthusiasts, including myself, have started talking, Tweeting, wikifying and now blogging about a possible UK event where built environment people interested in Web 2.0 (and, equally, Web 2.0 people interested in the built environment) might get together and share ideas about synergies between the two worlds.

Provisionally named BE2camp, the event would be run on unconference, BarCamp principles (similar to PodCampIreland), possibly in mid-October, but as the BE2camp wiki-site currently says: “At the moment this is just a seed, an idea that has bounced around….”

It needs people’s involvement to make if fly (can a seed fly? – bit of a mixed metaphor there!). If you are interested in getting involved, whether as a speaker, attendee, a sponsor, a host (we need a venue – London would be good, but don’t let that put you off suggesting an alternative), or an online participant, please register your interest on the site. In addition  this would be a great event to find out just what is Web2.0, blogging, wiki, twitter and second life all about – and how it can help you and your organisation.

Thanks to Paul over at EvolutionExtranet for writing this item – feel free to syndicate to your blogs 🙂