Thursday, September 6, 2007

524 Eutopia and the Midterm

Message no. 524[Branch from no. 516] Posted by Thomas Culhane (1311520071) on Saturday, March 3, 2007 5:47pm Subject: MIDTERM

Hi Adrienne and class!

Glad you asked!

The midterm, as indicated in the course content area, is to be a multimedia presentation of your ideas of your "perfect environment" -- a chance to apply what you have learned so far in the course to designing your personal "EUTOPIA".

EU-topia, by the way, means "the perfect place", or "the true place" or "the good place". In greek, EU means true or good or real, and TOPIA means "place". There is no such word as UTOPIA, just as there is no such place. OUTOPIA, or OU-TOPIA means "no-place" or the "not-place". When Sir Thomas More wrote his book "Utopia" in 1516 he chose to leave the O or the E off of the greek word so the reader could make up his or her own mind whether or not such a place was attainable.

Our goal is to "put the E back in Eutopia". We want to make it real.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick a place on this or some other planet where you would like to build your eutopian community.

2. Go to Google Maps (or to Google Mars!, or to Google Moon!, or hunt around for other planets to occupy -- see!)

3. Take screen pictures at various elevations and resolutions of the site where you intend to break ground for your perfect place.

4. Decide how large an area and the kind of area you want to develop -- pay particular attention to the terrain and topography -- do you want to create your eutopia on the shore of a lake or ocean? On the top of a mountain? In a valley? In a desert, by a river?

5. Put the images of the undeveloped land (or the land you want to redevelop if it is already built upon) into a powerpoint or word document.

6. Tell us WHY you picked the specific natural environmental features you chose as the foundation of your community. Did you choose a hill so that you had access to running streams for water or power? Did you choose a river so you could navigate? Did you choose a mountaintop for safety? Did you choose a sunny area? A wooded area? Why or why not?

7. Describe (in words, or words and pictures, or words and pictures and drawings) the design of your perfect environment. How will you deal with: energy, water, waste, shelter, noise, heat, cold, rain, snow, radiation, smoke, other animals, other people, predators, thieves, competitors etc....

8. Try to convince us to fund your scheme to build your eutopia, or to join you in building it, or move in to your community. Tell us the advantages and disadvantages of your perfect world, and why we should agree with you that it is "the best of all possible worlds" (to quote Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire's "Candide").

Obviously there is no right answer to this midterm, but you will be judged on HOW WELL YOU INTEGRATE THE TEXTBOOK THEORIES AND MODELS INTO YOUR DESIGN.

In other words, back up your eutopian enterprise with ACADEMIC RESEARCH.

Use your experience writing relational summaries to make the ultimate argument for making the world (or at least your piece of it) the way you believe it should be!

That means quotes, references, and links to outside web support material.

I will provide more examples and tips in the days ahead!

You can post the final project on your blog for all the world to see, or send your word file or powerpoint as an attachment, or, if you are really extravagent and have money and time to burn, buy an island in Second life and build your world for virtual!

(Sir Thomas) More later!


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