BIMStorm Chesapeake Bay

Design fiction, isn’t fiction but a technique for thinking ahead, predicting future technologies, potentially influencing policy, but most importantly creating debate by asking what-if? In this way, fiction can be used as a tool to help design future societies and technologies, giving the public a say on it too.

— Imagination Lancaster

Growth in the development of BIG-BIM Ecosystems has been slow and steady, led by visionary organizations such as the US Coast Guard, the California Community Colleges, and the US Veterans Administration. Connected systems in the cloud are gradually emerging as critical for managing systems in the built environment. There may lie the means for handling societies’ most pressing issues.

BIMStorms have been but one of the tools used for prototyping and debugging systems to make possible the power of BIG-BIM Ecosystems to respond to wicked problems in our society. BIMStorms offer the ability for people to use their energy and skill for the greater good. The vision of BIMStorm Chesapeake Bay that follows is an opportunity for the 13 million people that live, work, and play in the Chesapeake Bay region.

This proposal is intended to simulate thought and offer one vision for how BIMStorms can be used to achieve results in an environment where there are no single, declarative solution… only better or worse options.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Bay offers hints into how BIMStorms might improve our ability to manage wicked social and environmental problems. It is designed to illustrate how interlocking BIMStorms might bring people together to find solutions to some of the most vexing wicked problems we face.

 The Chesapeake Bay region is beset by significant wicked problems: Problems that involve changing the behavior and mindset of millions of people, thousands of organizations, and too many individual opinions to consider. These problems are moving targets, with no right or wrong solution. These situations require that information be readily available, in ways that enable people to make informed decisions.

In recent years, isolated programs that did not respond to stakeholders with different outlooks and needs have usually failed. In this environment, federal and state mandates show marginal results at best. BIMStorms connect and engage people.

By empowering people to make decisions and trusting in the wisdom of crowds, BIMStorms provide the tools to work with wicked problems. The BIMStorm Chesapeake Bay program begins with three connected BIMStorms that focus on the fishing, crabbing, and shellfish industries that have long been a staple of the region.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Environment (1) focuses on sustainability and environmental policy, giving those concerned with energy, greenhouse gases, and other conservation issues a forum.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Air & Water (2) builds on the previous BIMStorm while focusing on drinking and industrial water resources, wastewater, and stormwater. Biological nitrogen removal, stormwater remediation, and aquifer protection are but a few of the issues this BIMStorm handles.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Agriculture (3) and BIMStorm Chesapeake Fisheries & Aquaculture (4) focus on these the region’s farming, and seafood industries, seeking ways to maintain and improve these resources.

The next three connected BIMStorm focus on infrastructure. BIMStorm Chesapeake Infrastructure (5) is followed closely by BIMStorm Chesapeake Utilities (6) and BIMStorm Chesapeake Transportation (7). Participants in these BIMStorms primarily focus on roads, public transportation, significant regional utilities, and the other manufactured systems that support life in the region.

The seven connected BIMStorms are followed by four BIMStorms designed to address critical issues that impact the region. Each is a wicked problem that has longed plagued those working to resolve regional problems, and each BIMStorm builds on the unique issues identified in the first four BIMStorms.

The processes used in all the BIMStorms are highly representative, relying on the wisdom of crowd’s concept. Each participant has a voice in the decisions. Residents of all states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, New York, West Virginia, and Delaware) participated.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Industry (8) looks at regional growth patterns and zoning. Teams analyze current development patterns and find opportunities for improvements to support better the recovery efforts. Much of the area has been industrialized for many years. These industries have contributed significantly to the problems with the Chesapeake Bay.

Mining, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, and abandoned industrial sites throughout the watershed are a key theme in BIMStorm Chesapeake Industry. Pollution sources, often far from the Chesapeake Bay itself, have long been a substantial contributor to the problem. Industrial pollution sources offer one of the largest potentials for correction, although they will require significant resources to clean up.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Housing (9) tackles another major issue with the region’s ability to recover the Chesapeake Bay. There are many initiatives in the area aimed at consolidating residential development and moving residential development from sensitive areas adjacent to the bay and its tributaries. Maryland’s Smart Growth Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Program, and others have made inroads in finding solutions.

Few of the past housing programs in the region have been highly successful, in part because they impose requirements on one state (or region such as the Delmarva Peninsula) alone, allowing others to continue business-as-usual. There are conflicting standards. A goal of BIMStorm Chesapeake Housing is to change this paradigm. Only by coordinating local requirements to achieve compliance throughout the watershed will real change happen.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Safety & Response (10) focuses on making the people and assets of the region safer, more sustainable, and resilient to future events. Emergency services professionals usually find themselves in the role of planning for how to respond to local emergency services needs long after the designers and planners were done.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Safety & Response enables emergency services planning to switch from a reactive to a proactive model. Designers and planners create solutions together with local emergency personnel. Best of all, international experts help make the process happen quickly, in an extremely economical way. The process highlights real solutions for even small urban areas and allows emergency services professionals to experience the state-of-the-art in connected planning.

The Chesapeake Bay recovery will take many years. Much growth will occur in the process. It was essential that emergency services planners find the most economical and efficient solution to handle each step of the way. The BIMStorm Chesapeake Safety & Response process offers significant advantages to emergency services personnel who participate. They can determine emergency services delivery needs from in progress design and planning. They visually assess critical and high-risk areas as they will evolve.

Emergency planners can create phased-in and connected emergency services delivery plans tied to community planning goals. While this takes place, they extract equipment and personnel requirements for each phase of the process to optimize for capital and operational cost and capital needs. They create an engine that allows for future flexibility and changing planned futures.

As design and planning teams create solutions BIMStorm Chesapeake Safety & Response teams assess the ebb and flow of support needs. Teams evaluate critical needs (population densities, population types, criticality of functions/building types, changes to access patterns, etc.) at any point in time.

From this data and the emerging design concepts, the BIMStorm Chesapeake Safety & Response team relocates emergency services equipment, staffing, and facilities. Teams build timelines for facility design and construction and develops capital budgets. Provisional plans are created to respond to growth. At the same time, team recommendations flow back to the other BIMStorm teams to develop their concepts.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Communities (11) deals with the issues unique to the cities and towns in the region. Teams began to resolve the full range of issues that affect the Chesapeake Bay. This BIMStorm requires the teams to move across many levels of detail as they explore possibilities throughout the region.

At one level of detail, teams assess greenways, transportation systems, and changes to zoning patterns. At another level, teams zoom in to evaluate and develop solutions for individual structures that anchor the larger opportunities. In some cases, groups propose solutions to localized problems.

Teams create options that best fit the millions of interrelated issues in the region. As directions emerge, the teams’ work is reviewed, analyzed, and commented on by thousands of people monitoring progress. As viable options emerge, the teams model them to find the points of failure, make corrections, and present the results for comment. Options deemed to be acceptable to the largest group of participants move forward for further consideration.

The final two BIMStorms focus on wrapping the work from earlier BIMStorms into implementation programs; with defined budgets, strategies for next steps, and ongoing action programs. Without a defined plan of action for the future, the time, and energy put into the program might be of little long-term value.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Bay (12) is the capstone BIMStorm, connecting each of the proceeding BIMStorms to create a master information model. In this BIMStorm, the work from all other BIMStorms was evaluated. Options were assessed. Priorities began to be assigned. The goal is to reach a consensus on next steps, priorities, and the way to recovery.

Now that the issues are on the table, participants in the region can debate the merits of each option and arrive at a direction.

BIMStorm Chesapeake Restore & Governance (13) is the final, public BIMStorm focused on broad, regional-scale planning, design, and governance issues as the effort moves toward full implementation.

The vision of BIMStorm Chesapeake Bay, combined with the workflows and process described in BIMStorm Cork Point, defines a framework for constructing BIMStorms with the potential for resolving some of our societies’ most vexing problems… in a transparent, collaborative environment.