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Michael Schnatzmeyer

Jun 15, 2016


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Judges' Comments & Response.

 Thank you for the excellent Judges’ Comments (JC)!  We will seek to address them in the proposal as well as directly here

JC: This is a very thorough and exciting proposal! The use of VR has great potential in reaching a diverse group of people and engaging them in new and exciting ways. However, the VR concept gets a bit lost as we read through it: make it your unique talent throughout the proposal. 

Response: Thank you! - while Virtual Reality will be key, it is but one of many emerging visualization tools and technologies utilized in the Center.  At the forefront is the idea of “Resilience Centers” that can be scaled and replicated around the world. Technologies constantly change. The specific uses of VR will be embedded in the ARC facility program and design and will emerge out of the design competition itself.  It likely be used differently at different locations over time.  (i.e. to dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, perhaps visit declining snowfalls at ski resorts in Austria).

JC: Partnerships will be critical to solve for your ambitious goal of "foster[ing] the creation of a new 'class' of civic facility (buildings) purposefully designed and dedicated to address climate change on a broad public scale." Buildings are costly and take time to develop. Immediate possibilities include the new Climate Museum in NYC and the Andlinger Center at Princeton University. Perhaps the ClimateARCs can be domiciled and supported in alignment with regional networks such as the Resilient Cities initiative; or a university system. (Later on, you identify the University of Colorado Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, which sounds like a marvelous idea. Are they your number one sponsor? Do you know them yet? If so, we suggest you say so; if not, then work on them to make this happen.) 

Reply: Yes, buildings do take time and also great expense to develop. At this point, we are seeking to only create the “Vision” for such ARC facilities in order to seed the conversation and discourse about their physical creation and roll-out across the US.  That would include involving other disciplines such as Real Estate and Business Schools for economic viability, Communications and Behavior Schools for understanding public interaction and communication, etc.

Yes we have a long and established history with CU and envision beginning with them and Climate Research Labs locally, and expanding nationally as we work out the program materials and process of the larger “design competition” itself, concurrently with building sponsorship and stakeholder alliances.

JC: The key selling point here is the use of VR. We’d focus on your expertise here. Document it. Then sell your services to a partner institution that doesn’t have this capability. 

Reply: Boulder is considered a global epicenter of tech talent and resources, and with the new Google Campus underway, this will only accelerate. It is also the home of more Federal Climate Research Labs than anywhere on earth. We have initiated associations with a number of entities and individuals in regards to VR and digital technologies, but out of respect of the strategic business plans, “brands”, and PR campaigns of those entities, are not able to be more specific at this time.  Suffice it to say that there is no shortage of interest in participation in this emerging trillion-dollar market opportunity, but that details of roles, responsibilities and relationships will take time to delineate and make public.

JC: We like the idea of a design competition and think that will be popular. If you are successful at getting architectural students to develop climate friendly buildings for AR, who is the audience? How do they go from a small group of students to a general population? Do you have any solid connections at the entities and institutions you mention? (E.g. universities, ULI, Google, NOAA.) Identifying interested partners is a critical next step and one that will be an excellent, edifying market test for you. The Examples of Architectural Design Competitions is great. Again, we’d be interested to know whether you have approached any of these organizers, and with any luck? 

Reply: Yes, we have already worked with CU and other institutions for several years prior to the 2013 Colorado flood event, on a comparable planning project to raise awareness about mitigating flood impacts due to climate change and a 100-year flood.  Links to student work is noted in the References section.  Our roll-out to larger audiences will be through marketing the contest itself, and ultimately construction of the first ARC Centers in Colorado and other locations.  ARC Centers are intended to overlap with Tourism promotion to attract the general public (with the attraction of VR technology, etc.) to visit.  (See comments below and References section for Institutional relationships)

JC: This is a great statement. It’s a bit buried! You might consider refining it and using it as a tagline, and/or further ahead in the proposal: “Imagine cities without hospitals, fire stations, or schools. Unthinkable. Years from now, it will be just as unimaginable that we would function without Resilience Centers.” 

Reply: Thanks, yes it’s a bit buried, and also one of our favorite lines.  We’ll try to make it more prominent in the proposal.  There much to be said, and it’s hard to get it all to rise to the top.

JC: You note that "as the ARC leadership group evolves, it is anticipated that it will form an Advisory Committee, Board Of Directors, and a Mentorship Committee that includes a broad nation-wide representation.” We would go right ahead and begin assembling these groups. They’ll be interested and can begin to advise you right away. 

Reply:  We have already initiated such discussions and had a great outpouring of support. The concept was embraced by the Governor’s Office and State of Colorado as a component in their application to the $1Billlion HUD/NDRC competition.  While it was unfortunately not funded by HUD at this time, this prior work has fostered relationships and networks that can be built on herein.  We will continue to expand and evolve these relationships over time.

JC: Is Pinterest your primary (and only) social channel? You might want to consider this carefully. Does Pinterest showcase your VR prowess? If not, what will? 

Reply: We will utilize many social channels.  Pinterest has been found simply to be a great visually-oriented “bookmarking” site for reference materials that team members can share and build upon. We will build a website to “house” the project, and certainly Facebook, Twitter, will become key channels for communications and marketing as well.

JC: In general, this proposal could benefit from greater clarity, focus, and articulation of expected impacts. Measuring expected impacts is key to any form of successful climate change communication innovation.

Reply:  Yes, the proposal has evolved from literally years of different discussion frameworks, resulting has many facets and components that make it challenging to fully communicate within this limited framework.  The key point of utilizing the Student Competition context is to create a more compelling Vision for the ARC centers, including physical designs, and program materials, and a more comprehensive discussion of all of its facets and benefits.  

We strongly believe that Resilience Centers will become a “defacto” part of society, necessary to address climate change.  We expect to quantify the roll-out and construction of facilities and number of visitors, meetings held, funds raised, initiatives and ventures started at facilities, etc..  We will also be able to quantity the scope of program materials, resources, and entities involved and showcased.   The larger impact of changing public perceptions may be more difficult to quantify but are expected to be significant to society. 

(Note Our efforts of utilizing the Beta version of the Impacts Tab and connecting with support staff was a bit frustrated by working within the limited time frame of the contest.   The tool and assistance process I’m sure will evolve to be of more benefit to future competitions over time).

Thank You, - Team Climate Smart