Monday, August 4, 2008

Online Collaborative Planning in Iowa

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

Collaborative Team Completes Bike Based Online Economic Development Exercise

First-of-kind planning project includes Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce Member

Strategic Planning Online and in 3-D

Online bike economic development planning sessions deliver surprisingly deep insights by gathering information from many sources at once and showing results on the web.

Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce member and collaborative consultant James L. Salmon, Esq. participated in an innovative Bike Economic Development Planning session that combined advanced surveying and strategic planning systems and web-based architectural software that results in 3D images that can be viewed on Google Earth in a first-of-a-kind demonstration.

A national team of professionals used an annual bike-ride across Iowa as the motivation to show that bicycle community development can provide economic and health benefits if supported properly.

The community-driven planning exercise volunteered by buildingSMART alliance™ members focused on the Quad Cities region of Iowa where the 8,500 bicyclists ended their ride on Saturday, July 26. The purpose of this planning exercise is to demonstration the power of combining 3D building models with strategic planning technology and public presentation of information through web-based tools such as Google Earth. However, Salmon believes similar sessions using advanced technology could benefit Greater Owensboro’s ongoing urban planning efforts.

“The general public can use simple, yet powerful, internet tools to leverage their professional experience and personal interests for economic development planning in new ways that unleash business development opportunities we didn't even know were possible," says Salmon, a Fort Thomas, Kentucky resident.

Working under the name “Easy Bikers,” the team also included California State University Professor Emeritus, Bob Smith; Iowa structural engineer Terry Jordan; Miami architect/BIM consultant Hector Camps; Iowa web designer Amanda Cousins and representatives from the Miami Beach, Florida change management company Sofi® Executive Systems.

The sophisticated, yet easy-to-use Sofi® strategic planning system was used to create relevant questions and collect knowledge from a pool of national bike advocates. The collective knowledge was processed and analyzed to provide clear indications of what actions can be taken to increase bike economic development plans in any community and then guided building plans that were then “landed” on the Quad Cities in Google Earth.

Sofi® Executive Systems Chief Intellectual Property Officer Phillip Cousins says, “This type of knowledge collection, analysis, planning and visualization typically takes months. We are able to leverage advanced technology that is available today to deliver equivalent results within just five days.”

Salmon, who is a lawyer with extensive building industry experience says, “Our goal was to demonstrate the surprisingly powerful capabilities of currently available technologies and processes that can make significant contributions to economic development, urban planning and architectural design when managed properly.”

While the Iowa project focused on Bike Economic Development through creation of a Bike Research and Development Campus, a Bike Museum, Bike Bed & Breakfast facilities and other bike-focused buildings, Salmon indicates the process can be used for other planning processes. For example, while working on the Iowa project, the team created and submitted a proposal to help Kentucky lead national a Collaborative Coal Resource Program that leverages these same tools and processes to make coal more cost effective and more environmentally friendly, according to Salmon.

Building Information Models help visualize what is possible. The image to the right represents a "Biker's Dorm" where cyclists can stay while in transit. This virtual building was constructed and landed in a matter of days by novice students.

A key element in the accelerated planning process is the use of Building Information Model software that radically streamlines design and visualization processes that greatly enhances decision making quality.

The building industry currently uses Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to make plans that contain a low level of mainly 2D information about a building. Building Information Model (BIM) software is a new generation of technology that is replacing CAD by automating drafting mundane processes while allowing high levels of multidimensional information related to costs, energy, schedule, constructability and other isssues, according to Hector Camps, Adjunct Professor at Miami Dade College’s School of Architecture.

In five days, Camps’ class of 18 students learned how to enter data into simple Excel spreadsheets, import the data into BIM software to create knowledge-rich, 3D models and then land the models on Google Earth.

“This advanced process refines of the already mature BIM processes by directly linking general public survey results with planning visualizations by directly reflect general public consensus with building designs and community plans,” says Camps, president of Miami-based Phi Cubed™ ( and board member of the buildingSMART alliance™, which promotes BIM and related process improvements to increase economic development and “green” design.

The class received a special web presentation from multiple AIA BIM Award-winning architect and BIM software developer, Kimon Onuma, FAIA ( Onuma stepped out of a technology conference in Vancouver Canada where he was conducting an international BIMstorm™ design exercise to instruct Camps’ class about using BIM software to accelerate conceptual designs for the Bike Economic Research and Development Center, Bike Museum, Bike Bed & Breakfast prototype and other functional building types.

Multi-story building designs that the students developed in the evening where “landed” in the Quad Cities and in the Vancouver BIMstorm™ design exercise the next day.

“BIM adds 40 I.Q. points to the process,” says Bob Smith, Professor Emeritus, California State University. “Being able to clearly visualize the data generated from stake holders in a project, people can more easily understand the results of group decisions and deftly negotiate the agreements needed in any democratic process.” Combining building models with strategic planning tools addressing this challenge gets at the major source of projects being delayed and over budget, according Smith.

Smith added, "Green Innovator Incubator facilities for rapid development of radical solutions to transportation can help generate the new kinds of bikes discussed at Sustainability Conference in Santa Barbara last week. Now is the time to start getting practical about these radical approaches.”

Smith, who has extensive experience with group decision support systems, also promoted development of “Bike Light Rail” concepts as a means of increasing Bike Economic Development in a region.

Bike Light Rail would use the combined effort of many riders to move a human-powered vehicle over tracks. Batteries would store excess energy generated by the riders so that the Bike Light Rail conductor could transport the vehicle between stations when there weren’t enough people to move the vehicle on their own.

A bike path along the Mississippi River between the Quad Cities and Savannah, Illinois could be an ideal place for a Bike Light Rail, according to structural engineer Terry Jordan. Jordan lives directly on the bike path between the Savannah and the Quad Cities, which include two cities in Iowa and two cities in Illinois connected by the Mississippi River.

“The Quad Cities already as an excellent and very active bike advocacy community that creates easy opportunities for a healthy bike lifestyle in the region,” says Jordan. “With the leadership of groups like the Quad Cities Transportation Advocacy Group and individuals such as Dean ‘Bareback’ Mathias, rides a bike with no seat, the region is a perfect candidate to lead the nation and the world toward a more energy efficient and healthy community with a strong bicycle transportation infrastructure.”

Jordan, the local leader of the national buildingSMART alliance™ “Easy Biker” team of internet connected professionals, contends that the first region to actively plan and successfully implement innovative human-powered transportation systems will realize substantial energy cost savings and reap health cost benefits. He added, “The first regions that clearly show the obvious benefits of alternative transportation approaches will also attract national and international business activity and can anticipate increased tourism. Not to mention it is the right thing to do at this time in human history.”

Kentucky lawyer and collaborative consultant James Salmon concurs. “The Greater Owensboro region and other Kentucky communities could realize economic benefits by implementing the technology and processes we demonstrated in this design exercise. However, it is equally important that individuals and groups in the United States lead the way to collaborative processes and cooperation that help address our energy needs on a global scale.”

Phone: 859-802-1118
Skype: JameswithCCR

No comments: