You’ll want to read all of Dan Hill’s post on his involvement in the design of The Cloud, a proposal for “a new form of observation deck” overlooking London and its new Olympic stadium. The proposal draws upon a number of fascinating themes, including urban informatics, cloud computing, weather, crowd-sourcing, and “re-industrial” cities:
Data is to be drawn from the Olympic Games in real-time, telling particular stories — of industry, energy, innovation and connectivity — as well as of the basic facets of the Games themselves. This data could be visualised as ambiguous spectacle, using the effects most redolent with the landscape and locale (cloud, smoke, steam, fog, mist, water, wind, mechanical engineering, data). The Cloud physically twists and ripples in response to data patterns captured from environmental sensors placed around the grounds, data scraped from web activity, drawn from mobile carriers in real-time, interpreting audio to discern the different languages being spoken, acting as a giant scoreboard floating above the events, detects the viewing and listening figures around the games in real-time, explores the behaviour of localised weather systems, projects the global internet traffic to and from the Lea Valley, forms a gigantic smart meter for Stratford and surrounds at civic scale, and so on and so on.
The project is developed by a huge multi-disciplinary team including Hill and ARUP, Carlo Ratti and MIT’s Senseable City Lab, Umberto Eco, and Google; more information (including a full resolution version of the image above) can be found at the project website, and you can become a fan on Facebook here. Whether the project will be built or not appears to depend on the decision of the Mayor of London, who is apparently considering a shortlist of other finalists.