The digital twin of Leeside differs from our usual adaptations of Scout because it’s highly speculative. The narrative behind it is more substantive than the typical Scout build, informed by virtual brainstorms with the Quartz team to determine our inputs and measurable outcomes. We had some pretty wild ideas, but we eventually narrowed down to the six things a city councilor can decide in the final tool. There’s only so much choice we can give people before it becomes overwhelming. You can decide what to do with vacant lots: do you want to build on them, use them as public space, install solar panels for energy generation? How do you find a good balance for the residents? The average resident can gain a deeper understanding of these trade-offs by manipulating the data directly through the tool.
We want Scout to give people control to start thinking through the data and models without leading them to specific conclusions. The natural tendency might be for someone to come in and think, “Why wouldn’t I want to use all of the land for energy generation, or use all of it for public access? These are good things.” The descriptions (if you click the red plus signs) aim to highlight that, like in real life, there is a limited number of resources. You do have to make trade-offs. You end up having to decide what’s most important.