At a the theater of a local high school somewhere in the Alamo Area, a group of people, planners, gifted students and teachers have assembled a cluster of computers. The computers in the cluster are configured as a GRID (computers networked for parallel processing which gives them the equivalent of a supercomputer) to aid in real time image processing and connected to the Internet through KLRN-TV to other computers on an environmental database.
People are sitting all over the room, watching the image of a computer screen projected on the wall. The group is looking at a bird’s eye view of their neighborhood. The cartoon-like landscape is dotted with designs for new Habitat for Humanity houses to be built in the vacant spaces of their neighborhood. Some local churches have proposed a Peace Park celebrating the cultural diversity of the neighborhood and the students are helping with the design. People are talking about the benefits and costs. The group collaboration is being distributed live on the Internet.
The model of the park is being built in an animated virtual representation of their neighborhood linked to a regional environmental database containing current environmental data. The group has just finished running a thirty year environmental simulation for their whole neighborhood. The model shows the environmental impacts generated from all the proposed buildings as well as the effects of the Peace Park. The simulation shows that the park will lower the summer temperature in the neighborhood by seven degrees over the next five years. Clicking on any of the building models will transport the viewer to a web site where virtual walkthroughs and plans of the buildings are available for download.
A video documentary of the process is being made by a group of high school students from a local Youth Media Project. They will stream the video from their web page to serve as tutorials on how to use the virtual planning tools.
About 75 miles to the south a high school technology teacher is watching on his computer and taking notes. Later he will down load the software.”;