Napkin Sketch meets Google Earth

Katherine Gregor's picture

This is why we come to #CNU17: Chatting last night at happy hour with Sinclair Black, Austin architect-planner (and CNU Athena medal winner), we met the new planning manager in tiny neighboring Hutto, Texas - Dan. We invited Dan to go grab some dinner with us. On the way out the hotel door, I ran into Roger, who I'd met on a tour earlier in the day, so invited him along too. By the time we'd sat down and ordered beers, we figured out that Roger had a property in Clevelend (a first-timer,he was here to figure out what to do with it) and that Dan had grown up and worked as a planner in Cleveland, and knew the exact tract! I told Roger to get out a napkin and a pen. While he sketched us his site, Dan booted up Google Earth and found the site (and its context) we could all look at, zooming in and out. Dan gave Roger a bunch of helpful planning insights on what it would take to get his zoning change, etc. Soon Sinclair was sketching over the site on the napkin, showing Roger how to incorporate NU principles into his project. Whenever we had questions - how many home lots exactly would fit? - we consulted the Google Earth image, then transferred the details back to the napkin sketch. So high-touch-high-tech!

Roger, being the 'rich developer' at the table, graciously picked up the tab for everyone's dinner and beers in appreciation for the spontaneous consult. How much more fun could an evening be?

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