architecture for humanity

CC Licenses and the Haiti Relief Effort, Continued

Cameron Parkins, February 1st, 2010

Late last month we looked at how our licenses were being used by both Google and Architecture for Humanity to keep content open, free, and fluid in their Haiti Relief efforts. As these efforts continue to grow more groups have turned to CC licenses to assist their goals, with three projects in particular catching our attention.

The OpenStreetMap project found an immediate niche to fill, launching their Project Haiti page in an effort to map out what was, at the time, a largely incomplete geographical picture. Far more detailed now, OSM’s data set is available for free under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike license, helping those on the ground in Haiti get to where they need to be with greater accuracy.

Haiti Rewired, a project of WIRED magazine, is a collaborative community focused on tech and infrastructure solutions for Haiti. All the content published to Haiti Rewired is licensed under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial license, keeping the conversation legally open. You can read the project’s mission statement for more info.

A similar effort comes from Sahana, a free and open source software disaster management system. Soon after the crisis hit, Sahana launched their Haiti 2010 Disaster Relief Portal, which includes an organizations registry, a situation map, and an activities report. All content and data from the portal is released under CC Attribution license, allowing necessary information to be accessed by anyone without legal or financial hurdles.

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CC Licenses and the Haiti Relief Effort

Cameron Parkins, January 20th, 2010

In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake a number of efforts were put in place to connect survivors with their family and loved ones. In all its good intention, this lead to numerous websites that, in the words of Marc Fest of the Knight Foundation, became “silos” of information with no ability to interact. As a result, Fest – who is VP of Communications – sent an impassioned plea to news organizations to utilize an open-source Google app that was not only collecting similar information but releasing the data under a CC Attribution license – from PhilanTopic:

We recognize that many newspapers have put precious resources into developing a people-finder system. We nonetheless urge them to make their data available to the Google project and standardize on the Google widget. Doing so will greatly increase the number of successful reunions. Data from the Google site is currently available as “dumps” in the standard PFIF format…and an API is being developed and licensed through Creative Commons. I am not affiliated with Google — indeed, this is a volunteer initiative by some of their engineers — but this is one case where their reach and capacity can help the most people.

A similar effort has been taken up by Architecture for Humanity. Already known for their use of CC licenses, AFH is proposing a plan to build Community Resource Centers – centralized locales that will operate as base points for greater building relief through out Haiti. All of the work produced in these recovery centers would be released under a CC license, mirroring similar centers that were built in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In both efforts, there is a distinct desire to keep relief efforts fluid and focused on helping people, a goal assisted by keeping valuable information open, free, and widely usable. Put succinctly by AFH co-founder Cameron Sinclair, “there is no ‘ownership’ in rebuilding lives.”

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Winning Open Design for Classroom of the Future

Jane Park, September 10th, 2009

On Monday, the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge announced the winning design for a sustainable classroom of the future, concluding a competition with over 1,000 registrants from 65 countries around the world. Of the 400 designs entered, the winning design was developed by Teton Valley Community School and Section Eight Design. They were awarded $50,000 to translate their design into action, with a $5,000 grant for Section Eight to help them.

The winning design is not the only outcome of this challenge, however, as all other designs are openly available online via various Creative Commons Licenses (the winning design is CC BY-NC-ND) for others to improve, adapt, and implement themselves, which calls for additional support in much-needed areas. The massive response by schools and design companies around the world also signifies how learning has evolved, and how the old brick and mortar classroom is no longer considered sustainable. By redesigning our learning spaces, we are making concrete the new technologies and pedagogies of the 21st century.

I would especially check out some of the other winners in categories such as Urban Classroom Upgrade open via CC BY (by Rumi School of Excellence in India and IDEO, SF) and Rural Classroom Addition open via CC BY-NC-SA (by Building Tomorrow Academy in Uganda and Gifford, LLP).

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