Update on Project Activities
We were fortunate enough to have members of SURI present during class this past week, and having them there really helped us better understand some concepts regarding earthquake preparedness. Specifically, their example of how soil liquefaction caused some of Christchurch’s residential and business areas to be shut off for years after the 2011 earthquake encouraged us to further our research into San Francisco’s own liquefaction zones. We are now gathering more knowledge about this topic and we hope to incorporate it into our charrette presentation or into the visualization/info-graphic we are to produce soon after the charrette.
We also had the opportunity to meet with the SURI team afterwards to ask them questions about their experience working in community-based development projects similar to the Strong Homes campaign, and to see if they had any data or infographics that we could incorporate into our presentation during the charrette.
This week we were also able to connect with our community partner through a webinar that all of our team members were able to participate in. We found the webinar to be very productive because it helped us better understand the structure of NEN and the goals of the Strong Homes Campaign. Additionally, the webinar gave us a much-needed opportunity to connect with our community partner and receive immediate guidance on matters that were unclear to us.
As part of our project, we are expected to produce a visualization/info-graphic that makes use of our research and the information that we are able to gather during the charrette. This week, our team continued brainstorming new ideas of how we might be able to do this. One idea is that we can create a digital (printable) pamphlet that contains useful information that can help Bay Area residents after a catastrophic earthquake. To jump start our progress in the development of this part of our project, our team has begun designing templates that may be used for the info-graphic using Adobe Illustrator.
What We Observed and Learned
One basic lesson is one of scope. Talking with SURI we came across the question of what can be observed at the individual, community, and city level. SURI, focusing on the city level in terms of study and preparedness, recommended that we emphasize personal accounts and dilemmas framed by data at different scopes. This distinction is key in determining where to place our focus and navigate these different scope levels during the charrette distinctions.
From our NEN webinar we got to clarify some basic information of where our work fit into the full vision of NEN. This was helpful in understanding how our work ties into the larger community oriented work of the organization and its mission. We are essentially working on developing resources based on a community-determined need, to then aid in the development of the toolkit at the neighborhood level. We are linking expert knowledge with the communities, and it's our responsibility to package it in an intelligible and productive manner.
It was confirmed that our role is very much on the backend of the charette. This means preparing for how we are going to effectively condense and communicate the takeaways from the charrette. We thought about different communication styles and useful focus for the toolkit (should it focus on utility topics or on responding to specific scenarios?). We also began to prepare for how we will code and condense the notes in a systematic way. We reaffirmed the need for thoroughness and consistency in going through the notes as a team.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
In our meeting with SURI, we discussed the methods they use to gather probabilities of various events occurring based on a region’s geography and infrastructure. For example, we were wondering if with their current models, they have been able to calculate the most likely duration of time it would take for government response to reach a particular area of the city. While we were hoping that there could be some existing models for San Francisco that we could use, their research is currently in very early stages and no such numbers currently exist. Although such data could have enabled us to tailor toolkits to each region, we are going to stick with the original plan of making a worst-case scenario toolkit that addresses general severe lifeline interruption. Since we are working on a large collaboration with a limited time schedule, including such revisions could take particularly long. In our case, we will focus on fulfilling our clear and established objective of creating a framework for a general, worst-case scenario toolkit.
In regards to the toolkit specifications, we had the chance to clarify our understanding of the exact specifics for our deliverable toolkit framework. As stated earlier, we envision it to be more of an informational pamphlet that can inform communities on the procedures and tools they could leverage to survive long durations on their own. Such a design could be easily presentable and engaging. Since we are hoping that the framework will be subject to further community review after it’s creation, having such a format will also make it easy to get feedback from stakeholders. Furthermore, it would serve as an excellent medium to present our findings during our culminating presentation on December 13th.
We also had the chance to better understand our role in the scope of the project. During the webinar, Daniel mentioned that Strong Homes campaign stems from a direct community request for solutions to challenges that may arise during disasters. Referencing our earlier concerns regarding this project’s relevance to communities, we are happy to see that there already is a community desire for this product, and that we are working towards something that is already wanted by our stakeholders.