May 01, 2008

Maria Giudice Speaks On "Collaborating for Change" at Commonwealth Club

On April 9, a panel consisting of Architecture for Humanity’s Kate Stohr, Sun Microsystems’s Scott Mottoon, Moving From Me To We’s Amy Novogratz, and Hot Studio’s very own Maria Giudice, spoke at the Commonwealth Club on the topic of “Collaborating for Change: The Open Architecture Network."

Together with Architecture for Humanity and Sun, Hot Studio co-led the effort to design The Open Architecture Network (OAN), a website that allows a diverse team of engineers, designers and social activists to work together and create a collaborative design community that helps raise living standards around the globe. The OAN enables designers around the world to respond to the immediate needs of disaster victims, including the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the recent fires in Southern California.

Maria talked about how this new Web-based system supports sustainable development, helps communities rebuild after disaster, and creates safer and more innovative structures with partners around the world.

She also shared her insights about the spirit of mass collaboration and gives a detailed overview about the Architecture For Humanity project.

This new culture is becoming popular thanks to licensing models like Creative Commons—who provides accessible technology to build collaborative online communities with Drupal and Wordpress, both open source software communities.

For example, Kate Stohr, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, found a way to actually share CAD-based designs online is complex and, since the profession is licensed, architects can face legal challenges when someone wants to use the plans they placed online. Creative Commons and six lawyers are helping solve that issue. And choosing a platform and software that can be updated by non-geeks is not a simple decision—even with an expert from Sun. Scott Mattoon, from Sun, chose Drupal, the open source approach supported by the biggest online software community in the world.

The speakers see collaborative change as the future and posed more questions on how collaborative culture can evolve. What if you could meet online or in person to cross-consult and co-create with your peers around the world? Imagine, for example, that high school math teachers collaborated on class plans and projects? Or lawyers and lawmakers joined forces to craft model legislation? Or scientists conducted joint research from different locations?

The panel also revealed that such online peer2peer, collaborative communities are not simple to design, especially when they involve licensed professionals, such as architects and landscape designers, as the groundbreaking folks at Architecture for Humanity discovered. Still, the ever-evolving Open Architecture Network provides valuable insights for many other peer-based communities around the world.

Watch the panel discussion

Listen to the podcast

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