It makes me kind of angry…

Couldn’t agree more:

It makes me kind of angry that historians, human geographers, anthropologists, and at least 50 other academic disciplines, on top of practitioner disciplines, don’t talk to each other the way they should.  And, that the way they organize their knowledge makes it far to inaccessible to every day people who would really like to have a better understanding of their world!

Chris Tucker, MapStory Foundation

Visit to ASU

I had the opportunity to visit Arizona State University during the last week of October. The journey there was just as troublesome as I feared, but my stay there was rewarding.

The reason for my traveling there was the Decision Theater ASU built 6 years ago – Novia UAS where I work is planning to build something similar, but in a smaller scale. The Decision Theater (DT) at ASU cost 7 million USD when it was built and employs around 10 people, and many students work there as well. If we get financing for something along the same lines, I guess we are talking about less than 10 percent of that amount, and 3-4 people, max.

Apart from talking with Chief Operating Officer and Interim Director Sandy Epstein and a few other people at the DT, I also met the former Director, George Basile, with whom I was in contact already 2,5 years ago. The discussions strengthened my own thoughts about the direction in which our university should develop the concept and also gave me some new ideas. I final discussion with Clark Miller of the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU made the pieces fall in place for me.

It was amazing to see how a large university had been able to renew itself in less than 10 years, ASU calls itself “A New American University” and that’s not only marketing speech. A small university like the one I’m working for could be even more agile, one would think.

From ASU

Ombudsperson for Future Generations

I’m following the preparations for Rio +20 (Earth Summit 2012) at Stakeholder Forum’s Earth Summit 2012 site. They just released a draft declaration from the 64th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference held in Bonn. The 15 page document is worth a read, but especially this suggestion caught my eye:

We call for the establishment of Ombudspersons for Future Generations at global, national and local level, who will advocate for sustainable development as envisaged and defined by the Brundtland Commission: to enhance the well-being and prospects of present and future generations to meet their needs, serve as an auditor at the heart of governments and deal with citizens complaints.

That is exactly what we need. Or rather the future generations.

Latvia

I participated in a NordPlus meeting in Jelgava, Latvia at the beginning of the week. Apart from the meeting itself, there were two nice forest excursions. The first one was to Tervete Nature Park, the other to Cenu mire.

Here is the track for the visit to the mire:


Visa Latvia 2011 på en större karta

Zoom in to the north east part of the track to see the details.

The urgency of GeoDesign

One of the powers of GeoDesign is it makes these problems visual. They are easier to ignore when they are abstractions. Because we have been designing the world without data-rich knowledge of consequences, we’ve created a situation where we’ve made ourselves vulnerable as a species, which to me gives urgency to GeoDesign. This is something we don’t have a lot of time to develop.

Thomas Fisher