Jean Gardner Examines Human Created Geometry and Its Effects on Life as Part of Her Gaia Project

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 10.49.36 AMJean Gardner, Associate Professor of Socio-Ecological History and Design and TEDC Affiliated Faculty member, is researching whether the geometry we use to construct fragments life or supports it.Her research has been published in Parsons Journal for Information Mapping and she has widely presented about this topic.

Many of the “base geometries” found in nature’s patterns are consistent and scalable. Such patterns exist in many mathematical sequences, such as the “golden section,” or the Fibonacci sequence. For the purpose of this article we refer to all of these as part of the Geometry of Life. Both the science and the aesthetics of these mathematical constructs can be seen in physical forms; such as the “math mystery” of the beautiful Nautilus shell, clearly revealing the “Golden Spiral” when sliced in cross section. By applying these kinds of mathematical models to establish a norm, or gold standard, and then populating this design skeleton with data factors (such as aspects of water purity, air purity, resource extraction, etc.) we believe it would be possible to render useful geometric distortions.

By analyzing these visualizations unexpected opportunities to re-balance the natural forms are evidenced by the structure of patterns presented. Importantly, as the renderings may detect emerging problems when they are still small, the system permits which resources are best investigated in order to mitigate greater catastrophe at a later date.

This article suggests a concept interface for a Geometry of Life basemap that, when populated with appropriate information, would “distort” in such a way to visually reveal egregious environmental conditions, and the intensity scale of their interdependency.


William Bevington, Associate Professor of Information Mapping  and Senior Information Theorist at The Parsons Institute for Information Mapping.

 You can read the full article here.Check out the full presentation about this project.