A blog on the Waste2no project: a design speculation on how the internet of things may be integrated into the urban fabric as a new type of infrastructure that enhances sustainability by altering user behavior
Waste2no introduces a new way of shopping and disposing in cities where every single consumer item can be tracked through an RFID and web based technology called the Stuff Cloud.
In a scenario where every consumer item is digitally tagged or can easily be tagged, it becomes easier to track and log its usage patterns, location, quality and status through a web based system. An online profile of every consumer item also makes it easier for users to coordinate the sharing, swapping, and reselling of things among each other. While this raises questions about privacy and control, one of the project’s main concerns is in the situating of user behaviors typically found in online communities within a more public and physical context. This concept is tested through the design of digitally enhanced urban and domestic spaces that physically support a social web based exchange of things between users. In a sense the project is more concerned in creating a sense of transparency in the process of exchanging things online with a system that has a clear public and physical manifestation. Moreover, the project questions ‘passive’ technical approaches to sustainability where networked self-regulating systems automatically handle environmental performance leaving the agency of the user out of the equation. Hence, it is more than a ‘smart’ system that makes resource use more efficient, its design situates it within culturally ingrained practices like shopping while contributing to the public infrastructure of the city.
The Share wall is a device/amenity opportunistically located in common and in public spaces (building lobbies, parks, street corners, alley ways, etc.) Share Wall supports high frequency sharing of items in a community. Share Walls can be located at close walking intervals in densely populated areas of a city. In less densely populated areas of the city they are strategically located by high frequency traffic locations (i.e. strip malls, Tim Horton’s, grocery stores, etc.).
A Share Space is a unit that measures the space that is saved by sharing an object with the community.
In her book, “What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption” Rachel Botsman uses the example of a drill to illustrate the fact that we keep a lot of things idling in our home which we seldom use (see collaborative consumption). For instance, a power drill is often only used for a few hours per year. As that one drill is shared using the Stuff Cloud application the potential savings in resources and space increase.
On February 3-6, 2011 I was at the Aedes Network Campus Berlin to participate in the TouchHouse.Smart Living Workshop. The workshop consisted of a one day symposium involving experts from the fields of architecture, interaction design, engineering and behaviourial science, followed by a three day workshop in which participants collaborated to conceptualize and visualize innovative, palpable approaches to the design of intelligent building systems. Participants were asked to consider how networked, self-regulating systems can be developed in a way that allows for an intuitive handling of basic human behavioral patterns. “If we can create, ubiquitous sensitive interfaces to change the boundaries of space and architecture, which are the fascinating and, at the same time, sustainable opportunities we can imagine?”
My team came up with the Stuff Cloud, an application that helps you share your stuff with people in your urban vicinity. We felt that addressing consumer social behavior is an essential part of abating the problem of urban consumer waste.
Welcome to Archinteractive’s latest project: “Waste2No”
Waste2No explores how the ways we consume and dispose in the city can be radically improved.
This project is being made in the context of my Masters of Architecture thesis project at the Daniels Faculty of Landscape Architecture and Design at the University of Toronto. The project is a design speculation on how the internet of things may be integrated into the urban fabric as a new type of infrastructure, one that enhances sustainability by altering user behavior. This concept will be tested through the design of a smart system for the reduction of urban consumer waste.