Sep '08 - Feb '09
So it's been a while since the last update - as ever the workload is intense but it's strangely satisfying. I won't blather on, except to say that the masters thesis is in, and I'll be posting up a copy for public consumption as soon as I have negotiate IP with the department.
In the meantime, it's been full steam ahead with the Live Project. If you have no idea what a Live Project is, it's something we do at the beginning of term for the masters course every year. It is a 6 week, real time project with a real client, with this years projects ranging from building a small pavilion, to re-programming a recycling strategy for a housing organisation in Sheffield. My own project is called the Sheffield Food Network: a website that allows users to map sustainable food sources made authoritative through a rating system.
Above: The WIP interface for the Sheffield Food Network.
There are several parts to the overall project; the first of course, is playing around with Google Maps API to do some crazy things and developing a user interface that encourages Joe Public to add to the map. Of course, the map is merely an output of the project. The question we are actually tackling is how can we bring people together with an interest in food that travels in metres, and not miles? Part of the answer lies in creating a social network (or adapting existing ones). Another part happens in actually getting the word out there to different groups of people. Socio-economic and environmental sustainability is a big issue and the only way to tackle it is from the bottom up.
We are trying to consider everyone, from the kid who lives on an estate that has several fruit trees with ripe fruit nearby, to a network of suppliers, wholesalers and retailers that shows on a Google Map the journey from raw materials through to retail. All this inbetween organising meals, feasts, social events and press interest. The group is also putting together a 'recipe book' of ideas on how Joe Public can start their own food network, using this Live Project and other projects run by the client organisation as case studies. I'll post up spreads as the book comes together, but in the end, the whole project aims to be a free resource that is easy to contribute to and maintain.
To view our developing blog and engage in the ongoing discussions, log onto http://10liveproject2008.blogspot.com , where you can find links to the other Live Projects and see how things are done at Sheffield.