This is an extract from an article I have written for the next issue of Area Magazine, the regional (printed!) newsletter for Chartered Architects in the West Midlands.
What opportunities can Web2.0 offer to Architects to support collaborative working?
For Architects, this evolution of the internet is proving to be a useful and effective way to support a collaborative approach to working. The recent RIBA debate highlighted the importance of a sense of ownership of a project and how collaboration contributes to this. The public enjoy being involved; they like their opinions to be valued and are more likely to use and take pride in a building or a public space when it’s complete.
Most local authorities have produced guidelines for methods of community involvement. For the most significant applications where there are considerable issues of scale or controversy, the methods suggested include public meetings and exhibitions, workshops and citizen / consultation panels. What’s particularly interesting is that these suggested methods could take place online – or at the very least be supported by a presence online. Discussion platforms and forums are an effective and low-cost way of reaching new audiences, particularly those who have difficulty attending public meetings in person. The simplicity of sharing data online through social networking sites or via email makes it easy to reach a wide audience.
I’ll publish the article in full just as soon as it’s published and distributed. Ironically, it won’t be available online.
As part of the work I’m doing with MADE, I popped down to the Building Centre last week to hear more about other architects who have begun to use StickyWorld, the online collaboration tool developed by Michael Kohn and his team at Slider Studio. Tools like this are precisely the sort of thing that I suspect will be supporting Architects in their day to day work, not only to communicate ideas to communities, but as way of sharing and reviewing ideas internally. StickyWorld is still in beta, and it’s free to sign up. To give you more of an idea of the application of online collaboration tools, there’s a useful summary on Building’s website giving a overview of both StickyWorld and Woobius (a collaboration hub aimed specifically at Architects and Engineers).