I just got back from spring break in California with my family. Unfortunately, Lynn Allen’s guestroom wasn’t available. Or so she says.
I’m somewhat fascinated with the Bay Area. Perhaps even mildly obsessed.
You know that kid in your neighborhood whose mom was allergic to dogs but he wanted one really badly? He’d spend his afternoons with his face pressed up against the glass at the pet store at the mall? That’s me on car rides in California. I take in the deserts, the oceans, the brightly colored houses in San Francisco, the endless fields of artichokes and strawberries. I stuff real estate leaflets under my mattress. I dream of tidepools.
Of the eternal misty springtime air. Of the undeniably sexy infrastructure.
Then, I pay $4.50 a gallon for gas and that puppy doesn’t seem quite as appealing.
I believe that the only way to really get to know a city is to decline NeverLost, forget a map and let the battery on your iPhone die. All you need to navigate the city is a low resolution tourist map from a fish and chips shop that cuts off a few blocks after Pier 39. This makes for much better exploring!
In one of our unplanned tours around the city, we wound up on the Bay Bridge. Panorama immediately began freaking out, so I assumed she spotted Justin Bieber or some member of the original Star Wars cast walking down the street. It turns out, she recognized the bridge from the Bridge Explorer App for iPhone and iPad.
Later that day, we gate crashed LucasFilm Headquarters to visit the Yoda Fountain.
Panorama: Can I meet George Lucas?
Panorama: What if we tell him that I’m a really big fan?
On the way out of the Presidio, we once again wound up driving in circles. Then, I saw it! Doyle Drive! My own personal infrastructure Justin Bieber. I’ve worked on so many presentations that included simulations of this road project that I knew exactly where we were and how to get back on Highway One.
My only regret is that I didn’t have my husband stop the car so I could frogger across traffic and get my picture taken with the lane closure signs.
These experiences made me think about how we as civil engineers can contribute to telling the project story. What is the impact of public understanding? What if they know why the project is important, how construction will impact their daily commute and how to navigate the new design?
Consider this Autodesk Success Story from American Structurepoint:
From American Structurepoint’s perspective, model-based design processes were essential for the success of the project. “The ability to visualize our design and then communicate that vision to the project stakeholders was the true value of these tools on the Keystone Parkway project,” says Canfield. “Without that vision, this project would not have become a reality.”
Related posts on this blog:
If you aren’t already familiar with the visualizations, simulations and media available for Presidio Parkway and the Bay Bridge, check out the project pages.