Informal models happen every time you map something out in your head or plan around a specific environment. Working out a new route home in heavy traffic. Planning seating arrangements at a party. Trying to see as many bands as possible at a festival. More formal models, developed by scientists and planners, simulate everything from parking flow in a street to global climate changes and the way they might affect isolated ecosystems.
They are used to account for changes and situations that have already happened, and predict possibilities for the future. The more detailed the model, the more accurately it can reflect shifts in its subject.
One of the challenges for us, then, is to show how the modeling you do when planning a trip to the mall, and when urban planners are suggesting uses of space, are intrinsically connected.
To not only demonstrate modeling as a reasoned method of analyzing a complex system, but highlight that the thought processes and attitudes of modeling are rational, constructive, and already in use on a daily basis.
It’s tricky because it’s difficult to present a method as a focus. Whatever the model is representing instantly becomes a focal point of the show. Hence, one of our main questions at this point in the process is:
What kind of system can we represent in a model, that will highlight the actual process of the model?