Architect Zoka Zola is probably best known (at least in green circles) for her gorgeous and ground breaking zero (fossil fuel) energy house in Chicago. The concept became one of the early poster children of zero energy residential building, proving that self-sustaining homes can be beautiful and modern as well as light on the planet. More recently, she scaled up from the house to the whole city, with a green urban design proposal for Chicago.
Now the Croatian architect has a new green plan in the works -- this time it's virtual and she wants anyone and everyone to help build it. Zola has just launched OpenEcoSource.org, a wiki she calls "the first open source project dedicated to ecology." When I first visited OpenEcoSource, it seemed like there wasn't much there yet, but that's just the point -- the project is meant to be a community-constructed resource from the beginning, where tools can be aggregated and answers shared about numerous challenges related to climate change. From this platform, Zola says,
...we will learn what other web-based tools are needed, and we will incorporate them into the development of OpenEcoSource.org. We will launch a number of other projects on OpenEcoSource in the next few weeks, like news, updates on innovations, climatic information, information about products and building systems, production practices, best regional passive practices, renewable energy sources, reducing/reusing/recycling practices, water issues, transportation design and strategies, economic tools and opportunities, and other global warming related issues.
At this stage, most of the entries relate to domestic activities or building. There are also a number of official documents with detailed research and information about the science of climate change. It's clear that the creators of OpenEcoSource have eyes and ears open now that the project has gone live, learning as quickly as they can what works and what needs improvement, and making those changes as the site progresses and more participants join in.
Zola explained that they are in a continuing process of matching edit, rate, sort, and categorize functions with geographic regions and topic areas. Information that's already been added will be retroactively tagged according to subject and region. Users can upload images, graphs, documents, text and links.
Like all good wikis, improvement and growth relies on the user. The foundation has been laid and the tools are out there, so if you have information to share or questions to ask, it might be worth a visit to the site to see how your ideas can become another building block in what Zola hopes will develop into a central resource about ecology, climate change, and collaborating for a greener future.
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you guys must have some advice or information for the openecosource folks based on your own experience with the worldchanging wiki. it seems like times have changed severely since then, and now people will need regulatory info more than we'll need anything else. how will a wiki that isn't also a community organizing and working regulatory database keep up with reality, do you think?
*community organizing contraption