Pubwan and community planning

by Lorraine Lee

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Thank you for turning to this page. Pubwan is open content data mining, among other things. Community planning is a discipline involving architects, urban planners, policy wonks, citizen activists and other protesters. Pubwan community planning, if there were such a thing, would seek to create arrangements of things and perhaps people in space, and provide the public with excruciatingly detailed free maps of that space. Free, of course, means you don't have to pay. Whether that space would have an economy is anyone's guess. The following is a mere suggestion as to how such a space might be organized. It needs much refinement.

Phaze I Market Survey

A. Survey of available real estate

As with any survey, one goal is to accumulate as much information as possible, as fast as possible. Ideally, one might also wish to incorporate pubwan goals, such as keeping all derivative metadata in the public domain, and building easily implemented data mining tools, also for the public domain.

Other goals for the real estate market survey can vary with specific project goals. The survey is a means to the end of constructing as efficient a market basket of real properties as will fit a project's land acquisition budget. Here are a few suggestions that have occurred to me:

Maximize number of political jurisdictions.

This would include cities, counties, states, countries, etc. Some projects would be better off minimizing or ignoring this factor. I like the idea of a multi-jurisdictional project because:

More jurisdictions means more data collecting opportunities
While it means more potential arrows aimed at the project, it also means more arrows are needed to shoot down the entire project.

Since the first pubwan project has yet to be realized, it might be best at this point in time to assume any project is better than no project.

Maximize geographic spread.

Again, more points of contact with the world outside the project, more information.

Concentrate on developed properties.

This would also be counterproductive for some types of projects. At its core, though, pubwan is about public domain data mining, not land development.

B. Construct detailed zoning database

It might be bad PR for a project's first publicized moves to be requests for zoning variances. Then again, that's pretty much how all projects start, and there's probably no way around it.

C. Capital asset survey

D. Consumer goods survey

For both personal property surveys (C and D), it might be more sustainable to concentrate on used (even discarded) things.

E. Consumer and investor interest survey

The constituency for a pubwan project is everyone, but as with any project, ideals have to answer to economics. So such a project probably won't get off the ground without investors, and won't be self-sustaining without customers. My own biases lead me to want to minimize the role of both, but even more important is making both happy.

Investor interests

Investments can take many forms other than money. As with all things pubwan, the more information, the better. An investor interest form should be a detailed inventory of assets. As a matter of principle, the information contained in such a report should be treated as a gift, not an investment. It should also be released into the public domain. It is of course imperative to make this absolutely clear to prospective investors. The fish-bowl mentality of pubwan is not for everyone.

Ideally, people investing in pubwan projects will also be active participants. A project has a fiduciary duty to add value to investments. I believe this can be done reliably, if not easily, for an investor whose investment consists of tangible assets, and who intends to live or work in a pubwan development.

Consumer interests

This survey should be taken by "charter customers", and should be entirely optional, for obvious privacy reasons. It could also be a detailed inventory, in this case of items intended for consumption within a future pubwan community. Participation might facilitate space planning to some extent.

Phaze II Modeling and Engineering

These two activities must be done together, and full bore open communication between these two activities is absolutely essential.


In this context, this would be the making of the blueprint for product placement, in the Phaze IV sense.

Any and all nonproprietary techniques can be used for this task. Here are but a few:

  • architecture minus easements
  • clumping structural models
  • city that never sleeps
  • computer-generated paint-by-number
  • encrusting existing structures
  • misc. free ideas
  • particle mechanics meets architecture


    All site surveys and construction blueprints should be in the public domain, along with bills of materials, and everything else related to the design and construction of a pubwan development.

    Phaze III Construction

    This is a subject I know almost nothing about, yet it's the most important step. Suggestions are of course always welcome.

    Phaze IV Product Placement

    Here, "product" refers to any and all items listed in the investor and consumer interest surveys. The results of the modeling in Phaze II might serve as a guide to product placement.

    Here, product placement refers simply to the placement of products at locations in space. Nothing (necessarily) to do with marketing tactics.

    Phaze V Resettlement of persons

    Charter customers and investors already have a place in a pubwan development, which may or may not be a place to live. Hopefully the project budget will allow for substantially more residential units, and a fair amount of industry, too. It would be especially interesting to launch with several "turnkey" businesses or business-like operations designed on open information models. One example would be a Brightidea™ Food Center.

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