Pedestrian Access: Approved!

Abbey Road

The Beatles walking across Abbey Road
Walking, 1969
45 years separate The Beatles walking across Abbey Road and VBCO walking across Virtual New Hampshire.

20 years separate Andy Warhol and Carrie Bradshaw walking the streets of New York City.

But starting 1 January 2015 there won’t be anything separating you from walking the full extent of the 4-sim, 26-hectare experience Pedestrian Access. (We hope!1)

Pedestrian Access

The LEA Committee approved 3 of our 4 proposals. They didn’t select Trilby’s Mill, but Izzy’s already offered to make Trilby’s Mill a part of Medici University, so we’ve got everything we proposed covered. And Lemonodo Oh has agreed to join us as the 4th Region of Pedestrian Access!

26 hectares of walkable land!

the 4 lead characters of Sex and the City walking down the street in New York City and holding hands
Walking, 1999

The Plan

The key ingredient of Pedestrian Access is simply to have pedestrian friendly borders. Continuous rather than disrupted terraforming. No walls. A couple of walkways that continue across regions. That’s essentially what we all agreed to.

Now here’s my wish list, some thoughts that might help create a vibrant and busy community. None of this is mandatory. Some of this might be easy. Some might conflict with the vision of 1 or more artists and not be possible at their installation. Consider these suggestions. If they don’t work, no worries, if they do, great!

  1. No Fly. If you want to have avatars fly on your region, no problem at all. But if not flying works, it might be worth a try. I do realize not being able to fly is a pain! But just like IRL when a street is designed not to go all the way through the city – yes it’s a pain for commuters, but by disrupting the expressway, you build the life of the city.

  2. Mixed Use.
    6 avatars walking in the Virtual Rebellion for the  New Hampshire Rebellion on 20 Jan '14 from Canterbury to Concord, NH
    Walking, 2014
    Once again this might be easy for some, but asking too much for other installations. If you do have spare space, it’d be great to invite another artist, dance company, dance club, etc to join in your space. I can help suggest peeps if you like. Only you know what can work with your project and what will be disruptive. But the more elements we’re able to include, the more activity our 4-region “estate” can keep going.

  3. Visitor’s Center. It’d be nice to take the vertex where the 4 regions meet and install a visitor’s center there. It can have whatever we, individually and collectively, want there. But a bit about the artists, some web links, activity schedules, etc, should help promote everyone and make it easier to connect.

  4. Transition Zones. Walkable borders is already awesome! But how do they transition? Is it stuff-stuff-stuff up to the border and then it stops? Does it “fade out” early and have a blank space between regions? Again, if – and only if – possible, it could be nice to let some of the content segue across regions. For example Gracie is decomposing the graphic elements from her paintings to be walkable elements in her landscape. Meanwhile, neighbor Izzy is creating the campus of Medici University. Perhaps these could segue into and through each other. Perhaps Gracie’s installation is densest at center and then detangles a bit toward the region border, and continues across the border seguing into some of Medici University. Meanwhile, perhaps the MU facilities thin out toward the border but still have one or two on the other side.

  5. Teleport Routing. Like flying, the ability to TP to any point in a region is very convenient and functional. But like RL expressways it also guts the city in the service of getting to the mall as fast as possible. If you choose to set your Landing Point to the part of the Visitor’s Center in your region, and set Teleport Routing to that landing point, then you’ll be asking visitors to slow down a bit and experience the world you’ve created. Like everything it’s a tradeoff. We’d be taking a bit of control and convenience away, which is unfortunate. But we’d also be offering a more immersive place. Popular dance clubs often force you to walk through a lot of shops to get to the dancing. That is not what I’m talking about. Not exactly. In those cases the merchants tend to function like ads on Facebook or Huffington Post: stuff to be ignored or gotten past. I hope that in our case, the sights along the way can be more compelling. Parcel Details / About Land > Options Tab > Set Landing Point & Teleport Routing > Landing Point.

  6. Customer Service Reps. (CSR) Besides the great footwear, the thing I love about a retailer like Bax Boots, is that there’s always a real CSR person there. They never seem to be pushy, but if you need help with a fitting, an opinion on a color, or anything else, they’re always great. Of course, every RL art gallery, from prestigious to tiny storefront, has someone sitting at the front desk, very often a ridiculously overqualified, and stylishly dressed far beyond their meager salary, Art History PhD candidate from a nearby university. These people add life to the city. RL or VR. They are connectors. IDK if this even makes sense for all of our projects, but for places like Medici University & Trilby’s Mill it could be powerful. And to have someone at the visitor’s center with information and support could really enhance the visitor experience.

  7. Ground Level. Like all the other tradeoffs, there are lots of reasons to use skyboxes: extra space, extra users, lower lag, privacy, and so on. Still, I have come to appreciate that skyboxes are like suburbs in that they drain the life, the humanity, away from the city. In SL, the “city” is ground level. It’s where the most compelling interaction is possible. As with all these other suggestions, do whatever works best for you. If you’re able to locate the bulk of your public content on the ground where teleporters are unnecessary and serendipity abounds, that’s awesome!

Again, none of these elements are “required,” they’re just thoughts on how to activate our spaces for visitors as much as possible. Please comment with any other ideas, thoughts, etc!

Thanks Lemonodo, Misprint, Izzy, Trilby & Gracie! I can’t wait to see what we can all create in 2015!

Have a happy & prosperous New Year!

Vanessa Blaylock's signature

aerial map of the 20 LEA AIR Regions
The 20 LEA AIR Regions

  1. I’ve asked they LEA AIR Land Grant Committee to co-locate our 4 projects and they’ve said that they will take the request under consideration, “but no promises.” So ATM we’re just waiting to hear. Hopefully we will get to do Pedestrian Access, but it’s still possible that the LEA Committee will not co-locate all 4 regions. Or perhaps that they’ll even spread all 4 of us across different of the 5, 4-region archipelagos of the Land Grant sims. Time will tell! 

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