Community Center


Can the digital world be built like the physical world? Which construction document practices in the physical world have legitimate, helpful application to the construction of virtual worlds? What are the subject matters of these new construction documents? How are they approved and maintained over the life cycle of virtual constructions? What is the best way to record digital situations that may happen in cycles, constantly updating as opposed to buildings that are made once, by hand, then maintained?

Today, building designs are communicated in drawings, specifications, and contracts collectively known as the contract documents. Once buildings are in place, they transform into real estate. Instead of drawing, modeling and text software, buildings are registered on maps using different kinds of software and communication networks. What are the parallel transitions in the digital world from idea, to communicating design, to authorities having jurisdiction review, through construction, to public records? What can modern communities learn from old fashioned communities? Does there need to be a community center design template?
Community Center
Beresford Community Center Blueprints
Burning Man is a festival in Black Rock Nevada that happens every year, centered around a symbol that is burned in the end.

The geospatial community is getting involved because the festival looks so cool from above PlayaMaps


Burning Man Earth, Mapping the Cultural Genome
2006 Street Map by Rod Garrett

Construction specifiers put Division 01 in the center, not of our community, but the center of our consensus product, the construction documents.
Figure 5.6A Division 01 Relationship to Other Documents, Project Resource Manual, Construction Specification Institute.

Division 01 cannot be developed until several other activities have transpired, been decided and recorded, enabling several interrelated documents to be produced.
Figure 1.5-B, Typical Project Stages, Project Resource Manual, Construction Specification Institute.

Contractors need to qualify for bid bonds, payment and performance bonds, at competitive rates, established by their history, to win jobs. Construction itself appears to be a small part at the end of the construction document process. What assurances would, for example a museum have, that their virtual community centers are well designed and properly built? How are information architects and contractors evaluated and selected? Do they have to qualify for performance and payment bonds? Who are their subcontractors? Where do drawing and specification reviews fit in the process? Are there any authorities having jurisdiction?
Does every community need a center? If there was a center for construction specifiers to meet in a place like Second Life, what would the focus be? Would the place meet our persnickity requirements? What are the design requirements of such a community center? Would the purpose be to serve as an answer center?
How should these places be constructed? Can virtual community centers be used to hold gigantic meetings and be replaced over and over again for each new meeting? What essential elements need to be repeated, in the same relative location, for each iteration?
Once an organization scheme is established, won’t drawings and maps communicate the lay of the land better than machine languages and processing techniques visitors will never understand?

The drawings are only one part of the construction documents in the physically built environment. A system of drawing and public inspection is completely missing from current digital construction processes.

Comment from TomGruber ______________

The idea of planning for development in the virtual world makes a lot of sense. At first reading I thought you were talking about planning of virtual real estate – like a design review for second life. Reading on, it looks like you are talking about using a virtual space to give a context and collaboration space for community design planning and review. That would be a great thing to do. Seems to me the key to success is to add some unique value with the virtual space that can’t be done effectively today, beyond removing the physical constrains of co location and synchronous communication. Perhaps the new technology from the gaming community and the reality-tested experience of second life could give the community a place to “live in” the proposed designs for a while before signing off.


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