The museum is embarking upon a massive initiative to explore the intersection of technology and design in the urban environment.
While you may think of the National Building Museum as a place that only studies skyscrapers, the museum is embarking upon a massive initiative named Intelligent Cities to explore the intersection of technology and design in the urban environment. As they announced at today's Open Cities conference, the program is broken down into several different subjects—neighborhood, region, country—but they're starting with a focus on a piece of architecture we all can relate to: the American home.
Right now, the National Building Museum is working to produce cultural content about homes—hence that infographic about inflated square footage above—but they're also providing insight into the data-collection process: Currently, the Intelligent Cities site is set up as a survey site, where they're looking for your answers about the home you chose and why. They're also hoping you'll make a video response, talking about where you live, what it looks like, and most importantly, how it makes you feel to be there.
The hope from the National Building Museum is that these increasingly macro, long-term investigations can help to give a more complete picture of the issues that cities are facing from a design perspective. But the issue becomes finding a way to share this information in a relevant way. To do so, they've partnered with IBM and the Rockefeller Foundation, with design by Brooklyn-based mgmt., and launched a series of ads and editorial pieces in Time as well as a set of infographics that explain different aspects of the changing urban environment. This effort is perhaps the first curatorial attempt to humanize data about cities: The initiative will culminate in a series of events, as well as a book that can not only share this information, but do it in a way that's easy to explain to the general public.