An interesting article on the use of conventional models for urban planning. I think our new LEGOs project may challenge the notion of building only static physical models of cities.
Here's an excerpt from Wired Magazine:
Michael Chesko is no architect. He's not a structural engineer or an urban planner either. But he just spent more than 2,000 hours constructing this highly detailed, nearly perfect scale model of midtown Manhattan. Chesko cut, sanded, and glued the mini metropolis—now on exhibit at the New York Skyscraper Museum—using only an X-Acto knife, a nail file, and a Dremel (and lots of balsa wood). But the 50-year-old software engineer was having fun; he's been building little cities since he was a kid.
Model cities aren't just for show; they can have real utility. In 1957 the US Army Corps of Engineers created the Bay Model, a replica of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta meant to simulate the impact of public works projects and disasters—natural and man-made—on currents and tides. Considered one of the most practical applications of the craft, it's made of 286 one-ton slabs of concrete, representations of all six bridges, and a computer-controlled hydraulic system to manipulate the waterworks. Though retired from active duty in 2000, the model is still on display in Sausalito.
Here's the rest of the article.