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Category: Travel

Youth Assembly Panel

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     ICGC recently attended the UN’s Annual Youth Assembly Conference as guests on the Youth Leadership and Academic Development panel.  The overall conference focused on Young Professionals, New Technology, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Social Entrepreneurship within the context of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  The February 1st session outlined opportunities in the field for youth within the context of the MDGs.

     ICGC’s Chief Operating Officer Sienna J Dutkowski spoke on behalf of the organization. She shared her experiences in the development field and how through creating technologically innovative solutions to the world’s development challenges, ICGC is an example of a youth driven organization.  Other guest panelists included Joyce Moy, Professor at City University of New York’s (CUNY) & Executive Director of CUNY’s Asian American/Asian Research Institute and Cosmo Fujiyama, NYU Reynolds Fellow and co-founder of Students Helping Honduras. They delivered an equally powerful argument on youth empowerment and self-initiated action plans for change within development.  Overall, the session and the panel discussions were a tremendous success and it was evident that students left the room feeling reinvigorated and inspired.

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What is CADD Technology?

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How is CADD used in Engineering, Architecture, Urban Design and Planning? 

     Computer Aided Drafting & Design (CADD) replaced hand drafting for designing in the 1990s. In the past, architects, engineers and master planners drafted their ideas into beautiful plans and renderings. This was a time consuming process; one that did not easily allow for many mistakes or modifications. Older architects reminisce about the times in which they were required to spend 2 hours per day for several months practicing lettering and line weights before they were allowed to touch an actual set of plans.

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     Today, we can watch a video which flies through a future building or master plan before it has even been constructed. Almost like a movie, it allows us to experience the transformation of our world. Citizens can participate in the planning and design process more actively.

      It shows us how our environment accommodates social, environmental and economic transactions. We can predict the way water will move from one point to another. There are methods to show us where a building is losing heat. CADD allows us to incorporate more information and data (for example, traffic, weather patterns and sun radiation) to build more effectively thus reducing waste and cost.  In addition, you can simultaneously integrate various disciplines together which  makes it faster and easier to modify the design and/ or fix mistakes, all by a simple click of a button.

     CADD technology allows for the study of terrain, data, patterns and processes in various scales: a small house, city block, neighborhood, city proper and region. We can simulate different scenarios at larger scales within a shorter period of time. Clients can receive a PDF of their design plan on their smart phone and send their comments as fast as they received it.  The art of manually drawing plans will soon become a memory for too many, and a non-existent skill for others.

     CADD enables us to keep up with the large amounts of data that is available on the internet and to build intelligent buildings- responsive to the people inhabiting them as well as giving back to the environment. It is a fast-paced world, with a fast moving mouse!

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GIS & MEP: Why GIS Works For Us

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Click on image or this caption for a Saint Raphael (Haiti) Interactive Map

     The Institute for Conscious Global Change, Inc (ICGC) has an innovative and revolutionary plan to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) post 2015.  The objective of the “Millennium Earth Project” (MEP) is to construct a virtual globe to act as an online library of maps and 3D infrastructure models. Initially Millennium Earth will focus on the 49 least developed countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, but eventually this will expand to include developing and developed countries as well. You might ask yourself, how does GIS (Geographic Information Systems)  allow for this and what role does GIS play in MEP specifically?  

     This is a great question; in fact, GIS is indispensable for our work towards achieving the MDGs. Comprehensive development is a complex issue that requires in-depth, site-specific knowledge and analysis in order to develop culturally sensitive strategies for improving the quality of life. This is where GIS comes in. GIS is a  technology that allows users to create maps of the current landscape, search and manipulate data and design  spatial models of planned landscapes. ICGC chose GIS because it provides a unique opportunity to visually display several features of each country’s development. MEP utilizes the latest GIS software to create 3D models of city infrastructure complete with site photos and construction drawings. In order to accurately depict the uniqueness of each country’s issues, MEP collects extensive primary data and secondary data for each of the 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

     This research will provide the important details our maps need for analysts to better understand the needs of each country, as well as what changes must be made to transition each country towards a “developed” status. GIS analysts overlay multiple elements in the same map and utilize color-coded symbols to represent the important spatial aspects of development statistics, demographics, natural resources and other physical landform features. These maps will encompass a “virtual globe” and illustrate current issues hindering development in each LDC.

     These elements combined will provide a juxtaposition of each country’s current and planned states. This comparison will act as a developmental roadmap, allowing policymakers, country representatives, civil society organizations and relevant stakeholders to effectively analyze and interpret each country’s  pathway to development. ICGC believes GIS and the MEP are the holistic and revolutionary “outside of the box” solutions needed for achieving a virtual MDG plan pre and post 2015. 

     We would like to thank ESRI for donating the ArcGIS Desktop licenses needed to develop the core of our work on the Millennium Earth Project.  ESRI is also providing valuable support and consultation with our Haiti (Saint Raphael) Prototype.

ETTA’S TRIP TO HAITI

My Trip to Haiti began when I won a roundtrip ticket at the Haiti Consulate’s Cultural Event last June 5th 2011.  The universe knew I wanted and needed to visit Haiti and so it said: “Etta here is your ticket!”

When I landed in Haiti April 12th, having grown up in Jamaica, it felt like home. I knew I was in the only Least Developed Country  (LDC)  in the Caribbean region as designated by the United Nations, and I understood why. Having studied West Indian culture, I knew of Haiti’s unfortunate political and economic history I had also seen on television and heard on the news of the terrible devastation of the earthquake of January 12, 2010.  So I was not shocked by the state of the country.  What the trip did was to give legitimacy to the work of ICGC and our Millennium Earth Project.  It confirmed for me why the work we are doing to help Haiti build a visual and virtual solution to the issues faced by this great country is absolutely necessary.  And, that this could be a first step in the complete development of Haiti as the Haitian government and people had for themselves.  I said to myself after being there for 30 minutes: “These people deserve much, much better than this and this state of living cannot be allowed to continue.”

It might sound like a contradiction to say I had a wonderful time on my 8 day visit to Haiti, but I did!  I made all the connections vital to the work we are doing and others I never anticipated.

I had the privilege of being escorted from one end of Port-au-Prince and Petionville to the other by a native of Haiti who had lived in Port-au-Prince for many years but now living in Jacmel.  This allowed me to see the city through his eyes.  I was not prepared or expecting the degree of the devastation of Port-au-Prince.  The conclusion I arrived at after that tour was that the city should be completely leveled and a brand new city rise out of the rubble of the earthquake.  Like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, giving birth a new and transformed city and country, Haiti will and must rise!. This is a country which is truly representative of the strength, spirit and grace of the wonderful people of that great land!

My trip was truly magical, I saw how all the events unfolded effortlessly.  Though not planned, I was invited to attend a Planning Symposium presented by the State University of Haiti, the University of Montreal and the Institute of Research and Development from Marseille, France.  The conference was held at the Karibe Conference Centre in Pettionville, April 16th.  There I got to see the awesome plans for the development of Port-au-Prince developed by CHRAD a Haitian Architectural, Research and Engineering firm who was commissioned by the Mayor of the city to develop the plans. There are other plans but these plans seem to give a very nice airy island feel to the vision for a new P-A-P.

I also had the privilege of visiting Cap Haitian, capital of the Grand NORD the area of our first virtual development work.  My visit was facilitated by Mr. Stanley HILAIRE from the Department of Planification for NORD.  My first meeting was with the Dean of the Law, Economics and Management Faculty at the State University of Haiti, Mr.  Jusnerd Nelson.  He enlightened us of the financial and other resource needs of the school and the innovativeness of the students in raising the funds needed to expand the space needed for labs and a library.  I had the pleasure of meeting with a team of young engineers in the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communication who educated us on the extensive plans for the comprehensive development of the Water and Sanitation and Waste system to include all the rural areas and improvement of the structures in the city.

I subsequently had the privilege of meeting the Director of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Interior and his assistant who explained that there is a lot of thinking taking place regarding the comprehensive re-development of Port-au-Prince, which requires fundamental changes.  This was a very good meeting and the promise to connect us with the others ministries for collecting the data we need was promised.

The last meeting of the trip was the re-attendance of the Planning Conference at the Karibe Conference Center where I had the opportunity to have Elisabeth Coicou of GroupeTrame and consultant to CHRAD explain the plans, though in French which I could not quite understand she worked to develop as commissioned by the Mayor of Port-au-Prince.  There are some communications that transcend language and this was one of them.  They have since addressed a concern that it does not address the whole region which it does.

I left P-A-P with a vision of the transformation of Port-au-Prince which these fantastic plans displayed and which I will hold in vision for the renewing of P-A-P and the heralding of the whole new country of Haiti.

Here are some of the plans:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.183275725074383.44323.183267735075182&type=1

It is my strong sense that Haiti’s time has come.   As one of the first black countries to gain independence from colonization, but was maligned by so many forces both external and internal for over two centuries, we as a human family have an obligation to do whatever we can to see this country enjoy the freedom it fought for and so richly deserves!

Your help is greatly appreciated!

www.consciousglobalchange.org

www.millenniumearth.org