#IGF12 Floor Plan: A Good #Fail Of Top-Down Planning for Public Space

My quick observation at the 7th Internet Governance Forum which can be used as an example of how looks-fantastic plan and policy can failed easily at the practical ends.

Look at the floor plan at the Baku Expo Center:

You can see that it is very-well numbered. Workshop rooms 1, 2 at the top row. Then 3, 4, 5, 6, at the second row, and so on. It is very systematic, sounds very logical, and looks very nice from the bird-eyes view.

But as many forum participants found, we just lost our way in this space.

Room 1 is actually the inner-most room (the entrance is the bottom of the map). You’re likely to found Room 11 first, then counting back to 8 and 7, and when you turn right for other workshop rooms, you found Room 3 and counting forward to Room 6 on your right-hand.

Sounds somehow logical. But then again, the way the door of each room actually positioned, makes our brain tend to pair Room 11 with 10, 9 with 4, 3 with 8, and 5 with 6, as they have doors on the same (geometric) plane [See the floor plan, green arrows that cut room borders are doors]. So there’s clearly a confusion, from the pedestrian point of view.

Too many urban planners see their world top-down from this kind of map, or sometimes through the windshield of their car (which they don’t drive themselves). They obviously lack the understanding and physical experience of being at the street level.

As much we need more people who actually walk at the street level to take part in the urban planning process,
we need more civil society, businesses, academics, and most important of all, the people in the network, in the policy making process for Internet.

IGF, in its principles, is a very good space that you can find people from all walks of life. We should strongly support and push further its multistakeholderism into other decision-making bodies and processes.

Or we #fail flat, get lost, and lost our public space altogether.

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