Update on Project Activities
Before Thanksgiving break, our team emailed the notes we took at the charrette to our community partners at NEN. Each of our team members took charge of two the 6 topics (food, water, energy, waste, communication, and shelter management) that were covered during the charrette, and each of us submitted our parts of the notes separately to the NEN team. Since then, NEN has requested that the notes to be consolidated into a single document, so we are now working on bringing everything together in a format that will present the notes on all 6 topics in a uniform way. Additionally, we are continuing our work with the visual graphic that is part of our project deliverables. This graphic is designed to represent the vision we currently have of the toolkit and will contain much of the information we gathered during the charrette. In the next couple of days, we will be coming together as a team to further refine the layout of our visual graphic and to make final adjustments to our Expo presentation.
What We Observed and Learned
Going through our data we gathered many insights from the charrette, relating both to technical specifications of survival mechanisms and large constructs to consider when designing a toolkit. Some of the most important insights were separation between preparation and response (depending itself on the level of preparation), resource availability for individuals and communities, and legibility of information. There are many existing resources pointed out by the attendees, however they pertain to specific solutions at an enthusiast’s level; the question becomes how to rephrase that information for a more general crowd. It is important then to also consider what information is important for whom. Though building a “survival shed” is a great solution for a higher income community member, what would be a comparable set of advice for someone who is more strained on resources? These are the kinds of tensions we will need to outline in our report so that they are are appropriately addressed in the toolkit development with communities.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
During the class meeting on Wednesday, our team worked out a plan of action for the exposition next week and prepared an outline for our deliverables. Going through the notes we gathered from the charrette, we’ve identified a central theme across all of the topics: The best tool somebody can have in an emergency situation is literacy. Our plan for the toolkit is to present basic survival concepts related to the topics we believe people should be familiar with. We also want to incorporate the role of community in resilience by including contact information for local hubs and block champions. These are the two main “takeaways” in our opinion, however we hope our results will continue to be reviewed by the NEN team and presented to community stakeholders. We furthermore believe there are more discussions to be had about the actual content included. Primarily, we currently present a portion of our information as URLs, which may not be accessible in extreme cases of lifeline interruption. The idea behind this is that members of the community can pick the information they believe is most relevant to their needs, and not us. Considering the importance of community input in design decisions, we want to keep our content open-ended. In terms of physical appearance, our current design for the toolkit is a laminated pamphlet that is resistant to harsh conditions (such as rain).