Better Safe than Sorry
The goal of this project was to develop a design intervention that motivates citizens to become active proponents for a local renewable energy plan. Although the majority of citizens support the idea of renewable energy, local communities resist the implementation of windmills in their neighborhood. Any future benefit, such as being independent of large energy companies or contributing to a sustainable future, fails to evoke positive emotions when people fear the negative consequences of a having a wind-farm in their neighborhood, such as the sight and sound of windmills. These negative consequences become even more threatening when opposing parties communicate them using an emotionally provocative language. As a result, the majority of citizens receive the positive messages of wind-farm supporters with suspicion and choose to remain undecided about the implementation of a wind-farm. Under these circumstances, local governments often postpone or cancel implementation plans.
Look-out Point intends to raise awareness about the ‘certainty of change’ in the surroundings. The physical observation-point invites residents to visit a website that can update them about the potential spatial developments in their neighborhood. On the website, residents can explore images of their neighborhood at three points in time (past, present, and future) from the perspective of a specific observation-point (i.e., the look-out point). The past option shows photos retrieved from the archives of the local municipality; the present option shows the current images of the neighborhood; and the future option illustrates several future scenarios such as having a future wind-farm, a crematorium, or wider roads in the neighborhood.
This project was collaboratively carried out by Delft Institute of Positive Design and Energie-U. Energie-U is a non-profit local energy cooperative of citizens in Utrecht, whose aim is to locally produce and harvest solar and wind energy. The results of this project was featured in the second edition of WindNieuws magazine (in Dutch).
Next case: Funeral Dilemmas.