Forward Fest Recap

Forward Fest 2017 kicked off on Thursday, August 17th. This week-long technology and entrepreneurship festival features a plethora of events focused on community progress through innovation and technology. The Greater Madison Vision team proudly hosted a Forward Fest event, “Technology and Regional Planning,” on August 21st at the American Family Dream Bank. The event (pictured at right) challenged Forward Fest participants to think about the future growth of the region and the through the use of various tools and activities developed by staff. More than two dozen participants learned about the process of decision making in terms of managing trade-offs, land use and how it effects the built environment, and application of design to build desirable communities.

The following tools were used to help participants begin to think about the decision making process, balancing multiple community needs, and community design:

iPlan Greater Madison: A computer simulation of land-use planning and decision making allowed for participants to allocate various land densities throughout the county that would accommodate the expected population growth of 150,000 new residents by 2050. Schedule your own iPlan workshop today! Visit our website to learn how.

N-Vision (Model Blocks): This neighborhood modeling system gives participants the chance to work with their senses and collaboratively explore density, neighborhood design, and general development principles. At Forward Fest, participants got a chance to design neighborhoods from scratch and identify desirable features and layouts of future growth. The activity demonstrated changes in the design and layout of the built environment with regard to land use and transportation infrastructure.

N-Vision to 3-D Models: Rapid improvements in the capability and user-friendliness of 3D modeling software allow us to take what people build in physical space and turn it into a 3D experience! SketchUp, a free and easy to use modeling software, allows us to build basic models to replicate a group’s design and create more detailed, customized models and other pieces of the built environment to create a more immersive 3D experience.

The Next Step: Virtual reality, the next step in translating abstract ideas about planning and the built environment into lived experience for individuals, allows the participant to step inside an immersive three-dimensional virtual space. This example, from local virtual reality firm Arch Virtual, helped developers show the Madison Plan Commission how a proposed infill redevelopment project would fit into its surroundings and what kinds of experiences it would provide tenants, visitors, and pedestrians outside in its public spaces. Making these kinds of connections between people living in the present and an imagined future was once the stuff of science fiction, but increasingly, it is the reality of today’s planning and development. A Greater Madison Vision is thoughtfully using new tools to engage people around planning the future of the region.

The Greater Madison Vision team would like to thank all participants for their participation and input into the envisioning process. For more information about how to schedule a workshop, please contact Community Planner Matt Covert.