ChatGPT is a new kind of digital text generator that is supposed to create text and information. It has been making quite a stir in educational and academic circles because it will certainly make students' work so much easier. The essence of ChatGPT is that it sources much of the data that is available online and combines that with good literary composition. Composition that it has learned from the way people communicate with each other. So the resulting text block kind of looks likes it has been written by an individual rather than a robot. Well I thought I would put it to the test.
As one of my latest books, Creating Compact Cities, has been won the GDA Green Award, I asked ChatGPT to describe why compact cities are more environmentally friendly in comparison to dispersed cities? The answering text followed immediately:
Compact cities, which are characterized by high population densities and a mix of land uses within a relatively small area, can be more environmentally friendly compared to dispersed cities for several reasons:
Compact cities tend to have a smaller ecological footprint per capita, as they require less land and natural resources to support the same number of people.
Compact cities often have better access to public transportation, which can reduce the number of cars on the road and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Compact cities often have more walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly neighborhoods, which can encourage active transportation and reduce reliance on motor vehicles.
Compact cities can also have higher levels of energy efficiency, as they often have shorter distances between buildings and destinations, reducing the need for heating and cooling.
Compact cities can also support local food production, as they often have more available land within the city limits for urban agriculture.
It is important to note that the environmental benefits of compact cities can vary depending on the specific context and design of the city, as well as other factors such as the availability of public transportation and the use of renewable energy sources.
The fascinating thing about all the above is that the response to the question is, well, what you would expect. It is a well coordinated listing of existing data and opinions. As a human author and designer, my role is not just to regurgitate known and obvious facts. Our role as creators of design and pushers-of-boundaries is to generate new responses to where we all are with our climate and biodiversity and financial ditch-digging.
Like any intern, ChatGPT needs to be fed the right questions and guidelines in order to deliver anything meaningful. I like that. Interns are great at that kind of task. However I really can suggest that you try out ChatGPT yourself. If nothing else, it's good fun. BTW, the photo on the upper right is from the film Ex-Machina. See the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNExF5WYMaA
Explore more on Creating Compact Cities and BLUE and other shapes.
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