Future Ecology Designed

Sustainable design theory manifested in products, infrastructure, and graphic representation. A utopian glimpse of a future New Zealand where environmental considerations are of tantamount importance, and society is designed to accommodate the native ecosystem.

Elements of Interaction.

The Sup>urb network will consist of elements of personal interaction. I like the idea of having a connection to warmth and shelter (Energy and Structure), a connection to movement (Transit), and a connection to sustenance and health (Biodiversity).

The network will be provided with input from the perspective of an individual, forecasting overall population movement. Each of the three elements will also be in constant autonomous communication via data collection points, to ensure correlation of the overall network. Symbiotic relationships between elements will be explored subsequently.

Each element will provide users with an interface at practical points of contact, where variables and relevant system operational detail is displayed. These interfaces will be interactive on a personal level, augmented by publically viewable displays of the overall system stasis.


Energy and Structure.

The residential system interface must comprise information, with facility for function adjustment where necessary, in three basic areas- energy input, energy use, and energy output. Each of these areas will have both primary, visual information, and secondary, adjustable information. Note that in the case of Sup>urb residents, the allotted stream is allocated after all energy requirements of the overall structure have been met first, including that of internal Transit and Biodiversity systems.

Energy Input

Primary Information:

-Actual electricity stream received from generators one, two and three, and if applicable the grid, and biogas production.

Secondary Information:

-Current performance of individual generators with technical specifications, and if applicable, current location.
-Projected performance of generators, taking into account climate condition forecasts, and migratory patterns of generators.
-Sup>urb specific, but possibly applicable to other situations: production details of biogas from organic waste. (Link: Biodiversity).
-Next half yearly fee, breakdown of costing thus far, projected additions to costing, date due. If this is within a Sup>urb, then this is referred to the body corporate payments, with KwH bought and sold from the grid also taken into account.
-Current dynamic price to buy KwH from the grid with market projections.
-KwH bought from grid, accounting for dynamic price when bought, added to half-yearly fee.
-Information on generation shares held, contact details to discuss addition/subtraction of shares, or data on percentage of Sup>urb energy percentage held.

Energy Use

Primary Information:

-Total electricity use of residence.
-Power cell level.

Secondary Information:

-Breakdown of use, with recognition of the loads required by various devices. This would include the operation of the resident’s own internal hydroponics (Link: Biodiversity). The greater food production capacity of the Sup>urb will have electricity distributed to it before streams are allocated.
-Possibility of controlling individual devices through above overview.
-Scheduling of high-load tasks, in particular charging a vehicle (Link: Transit).
-Proportion of electricity stream deposited directly into power cell.

Energy Output

Primary Information:

-Electricity returned to grid.

Secondary Information:

-Current dynamic selling price of KwH to grid, with market projections.
-KwH sold to the grid, to be rebated from half-yearly fee according to dynamic price when bought.

All the categories of primary information are directly related, and would suit representation through the sculptural concept of abstracted form. This would be more logical to read at a glance, and provide a beautiful sculpture as interface.

Major Relationship, Primary Information.

Overall electricity consumption <–-> Overall generated stream (supported by individual generator performance).

Secondary Relationship, Primary Information.

Electricity returned to grid <-–> Power cell level.

Of course, both these relationships are themselves related.

The secondary elements of information would require a more complex interface, and one which allowed a degree of interaction. Some form of touch screen would perhaps be the most useful solution. There are many interrelationships between various items of secondary information. For example, the proportion of electricity sold back to the grid would relate to the dynamic selling price of KwH to grid, and the market projections would allow a decision to be made as to whether to keep charging the power cell, or begin diverting surplus energy into the grid to take advantage of greater returns. These interrelationships must be identified and added into the user process.



The transit interface will mainly deal with interaction through public modes, and where other contact with infrastructure occurs, such as in public car parks. The interface will be similar in operation to a GPS based navigation system, where a starting location and destination are both entered to determine a route. The output will then follow with both public and private alternatives or a combination thereof, showing associated costs. Billing to an account will be centralised across all public modes and car parks to a council department. Routes will also be predicted according to real-time demand and forecasting based on historical use, these statistics presented in context on a map display.

The fundamental idea is that the user will be responsible for the actual energy cost of the trip. When a route requirement is entered, the variety of alternatives will of course show public route schedules that can be used, with their associated billing, but where a private vehicle is to be used, the system will work out the actual cost in terms of recharging/ refuelling to be recouped (Link: Energy and Structure) and parking fees (which differ according to whether one parks in their own urban node or a further one).

The system will take into account adjustable bus stops, so that the best compromise can be found for a bus with regard to meeting the needs of the greatest number of passengers. If a bus is required to divert further, then the ticket price will be increased proportionately. This will mean either waiting for an alternative route which brings a bus slightly closer, or walking to a more practical stop. The actual deviation will be confined to levels which do not cause significant inconvenience, but the result should be fewer buses carrying well under capacity. The system could be rigged with a number of varying bus sizes for further efficiency, a hybrid of shuttle buses and conventional buses tied to route areas.

Ticketing would be processed on the conclusion of each modal leg, and because the whole system would be digitally automated through the interface, actual costs would be more easily represented through fairly small increments of currency. The account would be paid according to the user’s preference: daily, weekly, monthly etc.

The Interface would guide the user to stops via a moving map display, also showing real-time wider population movement on request, as well as the locations of related public transport vehicles. When private vehicles are being used, the moving map would be transferable to a Head Up Display unit, giving directions to the driver. Route alternatives involving parking private vehicles in car parks would take into consideration car park capacity, actually allocating the vehicle a park to which it would be guided. The parking cost would relate to the size of the vehicle (flexible parking spaces) and preference would first be given to the forecasted requirements of vehicles in the same urban area as the node, which would not endure parking costs, as the assumption would be that the users had parked to take advantage of the light TGV at the node.

Routes specified for private vehicles will of course be adjusted to allow for traffic flow. When public transport routes are altered as above, it is of course the user requesting the diversion that covers the cost. The ticket for each user will always remain at the initial price quoted under the alternative route suggestions.


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