SMARTFARM: USING THE TOOLS OF CONTEMPORARY CONSUMER CULTURE TO INFLUENCE FOOD BEHAVIOR By Kyle Barrett Has been approved April, 2012 Scott Murff, Director Renata Hejduk, Second Reader Phil Horton, Third Reader
Barrett 2 Table of Contents Abstract ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐3 Food in the U.S. ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐3 Psychological Distancing ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐6 Urban Farming ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐7 Awareness and Accessibility ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐8 “Good” Food ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐11 Part I: Packaging ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐13 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation 13 A Contemporary Aesthetic 14 Streamlining and Value 19 Part II: Use ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐21 Gamification 22 Progression 24 Community 25 Interactive Aid 26 Part III: Expansion ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐28 Installation Wall 29 Browsing 29 “Plug in” Retail 31 The Store 33 Concealed Systems 35 Dynamic Façade 36 Clean Interiors 37 Exhibition 39 Basements 39 Local Engagement 40 Conclusion 42 Works Cited ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐43
Barrett 3 Abstract The separation between food production and consumption within the U.S. has lead to a system that enables unhealthy food choices and behavior. SmartFarm is a brand for urban agriculture designed to change this through the tools of contemporary consumer culture. Using Construal Level Theory, the brand strategy proposes that mitigating the psychological distances between people and their food will enable them to make better decisions about what they eat. In order to achieve this, the brand strategy is designed in three parts that specifically relate to the three cognitive aspects of psychological distancing, which are space, time, and social discourse. The first SmartFarm component, packaging, puts heirloom seeds in packets that make them immediately appealing and accessible as farming tools. The second component, use, dictates a website model designed to keep users engaged in the agricultural process and unaffected by the temporal gaps between purchasing and eating food. Lastly, the third component, expansion, focuses on built forms that allow for increased awareness and an agriculturally driven social environment. Food in the U.S. Relative to the developing world, only a small portion of the U.S. population is food insecure1. And, in the majority of the cases where food insecurity does happen, the issue is episodic rather than chronic. While undernourishment from 1 Mark,Nord. "Improving Food Security in the United States." Usda.gov. USDA, 2003. Web.
Barrett 4 poverty is rare, however, health problems resulting from being overweight and improperly nourished are widespread. In fact, the U.S. ranks as the 9th “fattest” country in the world, with 74.1% of its people that are 15 years or older classified as overweight2. The health problems and conditions associated with this national trend are staggering. Heart disease will cause the deaths of one out of every three Americans and, currently, over 60 million Americans suffer from some sort of cardiovascular disease3. But how can one of the most powerful countries in the world suffer so greatly from health and food issues? The answer lies in examining the industrialized, urban environment and the nature of consumer culture itself. Neville Rigby, director of policy and public affairs for the International Association for the Study of Obesity, states that “due to urbanization, more people are living in more dense environments, in cities where they are removed from traditional food sources and dependent on an industrial food supply, “4 In order to meet increasing demands, western farmers have adopted the practice of monoculture‐ or the mass production of single crops. The massive amounts of land required for this practice naturally create distance between cities and food producers, creating an increase in energy costs post harvest for processing, distribution, packaging, and preparation. The average distance food will travel from a farm to an American plate is around 1,500 miles5. The preservatives added to food to survive traversing this distance, along with the pesticides necessary to support a 2 Lauren Streib. "Worlds Fattest Countries." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 2007. Web. 1 Apr. 2012. 3 Richard H. Carmona,. "The Obesity Crisis in America." Surgeon General. 2003. Web. 4 Lauren Streib. "Worlds Fattest Countries." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 2007. Web. 5 "CUESA Home." CUESA. Web. 19 Feb. 2012. <http://www.cuesa.org/page/how‐far‐does‐your‐food‐travel‐get‐your‐plate>.
Barrett 5 biologically non‐diverse crop, have all been linked with a variety of health problems6. The core issue, however, is that this system has created conditions where food production is now fundamentally separated from food consumption. The areas where this can be most visibly seen are those classified as food deserts, which over 23 million Americans currently live within. In these specific types of urbanized areas, affordable and healthy food is difficult to obtain and cheap, fast foods are heavily relied on by the population7. These types of conditions have been consistently shown to negatively affect the health of their residents in comparison to those who live outside food deserts8. The distance from food isn’t just a physical issue, though, and has become a psychological problem woven into the fabric of American culture. One 17‐year old girl from Birmingham, Alabama, as an extreme example, made headlines when she collapsed and it was found that she actually hadn’t had any food other than McDonalds for 15 years, voluntarily9. And the overrepresentation of cheap, aversive food products doesn’t just lie in the extreme areas such those in Birmingham. A modern American University campus such as Arizona State may have an organic‐based restaurant on the upper level of its food court, but it also has five fast food venues on the level below, including Poppa John’s, Burger King, Chick File, Taco Bell, and Quiznos. While it varies in severity from place to place, there is a clear imbalance to how good and healthy food is made 6 "CUESA Home." CUESA. 7 "Americas food Deserts" The Week. 8 Aug. 2011. Web. 8 Rebecca Donlanand. "Chicago Food Deserts Hit Hard at Residents’ Health." Chicago Food Deserts Hit Hard at Residents Health. 19 Feb. 2010. Web 9 "Hooked on Chicken Nuggets: Girl, 17, Who Has Eaten Nothing Else since Age TWO Rushed to Hospital after Collapsing." Mail Online. Web.
Barrett 6 available to the public throughout American culture, from food deserts to the homes our nation’s future leaders. Psychological Distancing Monoculture, in and of itself, creates the problem of a psychological distance between people and their food. Research has demonstrated that things which aren’t experienced in the “here and now” of a person’s physical area become distant on a conceptual level, changing the way someone thinks about them10. More specifically, the farther someone is away from something in the physical world, the more abstractly they will think about that thing11. This tendency for abstraction is known as Construal Level Theory‐ and is one of the mechanisms that can make a cheeseburger seem more real than an apple to a seventeen‐year‐old in terms of food. Construal Level‐ or the extent that we think of things abstractly, dramatically affects the way people make choices. When we decide on a diet, we do so because the construal of its outcomes seems attractive to us. … construals depend not only on the actual attributes of the objects but also on the object’s psychological distance12 Studies have consistently found that people are more likely to act when presented with concrete situations13. In other words, the less abstract a concept is, the easier it is for someone to act on it. The object becomes more real and tangible as an actual 10Oren Shapira. "An Easy Way to Increase Creativity: Scientific American." Science News, Articles and Information. Scientific American, 21 July 2009. Web. 11 Yaacov Trope, and Nira Liberman. "Construal‐level Theory of Psychological Distance."Psychological Review 117.2 (2010): 440‐63. Print. 12 Yaacov Trope, and Nira Liberman. "Construal‐level Theory of Psychological Distance." 13 Robert E. Gunther.The Truth about Making Smart Decisions. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT, 2008. Print.
Barrett 7 choice when people are physically able to sense it. It can be seen, then, that lessening the psychological distance from a concept makes it easier for people to act on it. This means that surrounding people with unhealthy food options makes it more likely that they will choose to consume those products. This also means, however, that increasing the immediate presence and availability of healthy food options will increase the likelihood of people choosing them as an alternative to fast‐food products. Urban Farming Some of the negative effects of industrialized agriculture can actually be used as an opportunity to help people eat better. One of the most significant factors contributing to U.S. agricultural land degradation is urban expansion14. As 14 "The Problem of Land Degradation." FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, for a World without Hunger. Web.
Barrett 8 communities expand, agricultural land loses its value and becomes more profitable to be sold for development. Additionally, private farms aren’t always passed down from the owners to their children, creating a generational decline in private farm ownership15. Because of this, empty lots and low‐density housing inhabit some the U.S.’s best and most fertile cropland. These conditions make urban agriculture, people growing food in their immediate communities, feasible on a national scale. While urban farming may not be viable as a permanent replacement for industrialized agriculture, current urban conditions still make it one of the most realistic means of increasing the presence of healthy food around those who need to eat it. Awareness and Accessibility Physical distance from food, while prevalent in the U.S., isn’t the only factor that contributes to someone psychologically distancing him or herself from the issue. There are three primary factors to someone’s construal level, including physical space, time, and social prevalence16 (how people are talking about something). If urban agriculture to be used as the primary tool for reducing psychological distance, then a strategy for its implementation must affect all the aforementioned contributing factors. For this purpose, it may help to look at things in more relevant terms. The majority of the research that has gone into Construal Level Theory and consumer 15 Andrew Marshall.. "End of the Family Farm?" National Rural News. Feb.‐Mar. 2012. Web. 16 Liberman, N., Y. Trope, and C. Wakslak. "Construal Level Theory and Consumer Behavior." Journal of Consumer Psychology 17.2 (2007): 113‐17. Print.
Barrett 9 decision‐making has been utilized for corporate branding strategies. If urban agriculture can be thought of as a brand, then psychological distance factors can be brought into more familiar terms to help form a solution strategy Physical and temporal distance, for instance, can be seen as issues of accessibility. If someone can’t easily get to something from his or her immediate situation, then the amount of time separating the person from experiencing that thing is increased. This, in turn, results in psychological distancing and the desired object becoming more abstract. Similarly, the issue of social distance can be seen as one of awareness. The more people are aware of something and discussing it on a social level, then the more “real” and concrete it will become in the conceptual sense. With the factors of space, time, and social discourse reorganized into the issues accessibility and awareness, the next step is to examine brands or strategies that have succeeded in these areas. For awareness, one can look at an organization like Livestrong. By creating a branded item, the Livestrong bracelet, the Livestrong brand essentially created a ”thingness” for the fight against cancer. Lance Armstrong became the face of this fight, and his yellow bracelet became the symbol. It is estimated that over 50 million $1 bracelets have been sold17, solidifying the rubberized, yellow loop as a cultural symbol. With this, a physical item was used to represent an idea with massive levels of success, bringing an abstract concept into a 17 Sal Ruibal. "Livestrong Bracelets Approaching 50 Million Strong." USA Today. Gannett, 2005. Web.
Barrett 10 concrete, social reality. A feasible strategy for an urban farming solution to food behavior, then, is to create a physical product and image that can manifest as a symbol for the values of urban agriculture and healthy food choices. For accessibility, the most pertinent example is the also the most prolific: Apple. Worth over 500 billion dollars, Apple is the most valuable company in the world18. One of the primary contributing factors to this massive success, however, has been their approach to accessibility‐ both in terms of making their products easy to get and to use19. Apple has made something as complex as computing as easy as moving a finger. They’ve also adhered to strict design principles of limiting the physical features of their products while enhancing their immediate aesthetic style and appeal20. This strategy of accessibility combined with an attention to aesthetics, in turn, is two‐fold. It not only decreases the psychological distance between their products and consumers, but also increases the immediate desirability of those products. This study brings up the generative question of this thesis: How would Apple do a farm? How can we do the same thing to agricultural science that Apple has done to computing science? 18 "How Much Is $500 Billion, Appleâ™s Total Value?" How Much Is $500 Billion, Appleâ™s Total Value? Web. 19 "Why Accessibility Is an Essential Ingredient for the IPads Success." BlindCanadians. 19 Jan. 2012. Web. 20 "Why Apple’s Aesthetic Is Influencing the Future of Electronics Design." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 2010. Web.
Barrett 11 SmartFarm poses a three‐part answer to that question based on the packaging, use, and expansion of a new brand for urban agriculture. Packaging and use will deal most directly with the issue of accessibility, limiting the physical and temporal space between people and growing their own food. Expansion, on the other hand, will focus on awareness and creating places that enable agriculturally focused social environments. “Good” Food Before packaging can be specified, however, a suitable type of product to promote urban agriculture has to be determined. Heirloom seeds provide the ideal opportunity for this. Organizations such as the Ark of Taste and Slow Food are dedicated to preserving and sharing unique, heirloom varieties of plants and produce. Not only does the organic production of these seeds make them ideal for the promotion of a healthy food product, but they also act as an incredible selling point for the brand itself. Currently, there are 4 to 5 types of tomatoes made
Barrett 12 available through monoculture at the average American grocery store21. The Ark of Taste, however, offers at least 49 uniquely tasting varieties of heirloom tomatoes22. This type of relationship is true for the entire vegetable selection at any grocery store. In selling these types of produce, then, SmartFarm is giving consumers the notion of something special that they can’t easily get anywhere else. Organic foods, such as those provided by the Slow Food Movement, have also been linked positively to increased dietary nutrition and personal health23. There is also significant evidence and research showing that these types of homegrown foods don’t pose the same environmental and public health risks that those produced through monoculture do24. Choosing to grow one’s own food and stay away from unhealthy, fast‐food choices, then, will serve as SmartFarm’s definition of what “good” food behavior is. 21 "Tomato Varieties‐complete Variety Description for the Homegarden." The Natural Food Hub Information Contents Tree. Web. 22 "The Ark of Taste." Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. Slow Food. Web. 23 Dani Alexis Ryskamp. "Health Benefits of Organic Foods Vs Processed Food."Livestrong.com. Livestrong, 2012. Web. 24 Jule Guthman . "Fast Food/organic Food: Reﬂexive Tastes and the Making of ‘yuppie Chow’." Social & Cultural Geography 4.1 (2003): 46‐57. Print.
Barrett 13 Part I: Packaging With heirloom seeds as the chosen product, the next step is to consider how to sell that product. This brings up the first part of the SmartFarm brand: Packaging. Before the packaging design can be fully fleshed out, however, how it relates back to the notion of changing consumer behavior must be specified. Intrinsic verses Extrinsic Motivation In terms of marketing strategy, the effectiveness of inherent values and intrinsic motivators is essentially zero in comparison with the power of extrinsic motivators. Research shows that immediate, tangible rewards create the most buyable products25. This effect is so powerful that, in the right situations, extrinsic motivators can completely replace their intrinsic counterparts. In a study replicated multiple times over, children who already liked playing pianos for their own reasons were given verbal praise (an extrinsic motivator) for doing so. Once the praise was retracted, however, and children no longer received recognition for their work, they stopped playing the piano altogether26. The extrinsic motivator of verbal praise completely overrode the children’s original, intrinsic desire to play. The idea presented is that people may like a Toyota Prius because it is said to be good for the environment, but they buy it because there is a leaf on the dashboard that tells them “good job.” The leaf essentially takes the abstract notion 25 Anderson. "A Reward/Measurement Model of Organizational Buying Behavior." Journal of Marketing 49.7‐23 (1985): 1‐2. Print. 26 Lepper, M., Greene, D., & Nisbett, R. (1973). Undermining childrens intrinsic interest with extrinsic rewards. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 28, 129‐137.
Barrett 14 of environmental responsibility and reduces it to an immediate stimulus that can be used for persuasion. These findings coincide with the argument on Construal Level Theory, with external motivators essentially being concrete, and intrinsic motivators being abstract concepts. SmartFarm isn’t going to try to convince people to by better food because it is actually good for them‐ at least not immediately. Studies show that intrinsic motivation and the internalization of values happens over time and with experience27. The packaging design, then, is meant to increase the overall value and appeal of the product, providing immediate and tangible motivators for purchase. With this type of “foot in the door” approach, it doesn’t necessarily matter how the product gets into the consumer’s hands. As long as people eventually experience farming, they’ll naturally begin to internalize its inherent values and benefits. A Contemporary Aesthetic What is appeal in terms of contemporary consumer culture? The first study done to get perspective on this is a visual examination between traditional, organic packaging and contemporary packaging designs that have increased the sales of their products. These samples appeal to a broad audience from 20‐30 years of age. This group is a part of the largest age demographic in the United States28 and is the most sensible audience for SmartFarm to appeal to for the purposes of maximizing 27 Carol Sansone. "Intrinsic Motivation, Extrinsic Rewards, and Divergent Views of Reality." Educational Psychology Review 15.3 (2003). Print. 28 Lindsay M. Howden, "Age and Sex Composition: 2010." Census.gov. United States Census Bureau, May 2011. Web.
Barrett 15 potential changes in food behavior. Three visual trends can be observed. Firstly, an image of the product itself, such as the flowers or chocolates displayed on organic packages, isn’t nearly as emphasized with contemporary designs. Rather, simple text and symbols, such as the die‐cut of a cow, are given precedence. Clinical research supports this move as well, finding that the symbols and labels on products significantly affect the perception of how they taste29. Images of the actual product can do this as well, but not always to the same extent, and seem to take away from the simplicity and appeal of a package design. Secondly, muted greens and browns do not appear to be the best way to sell foods as the contemporary designs display a variety of bright, saturated colors. In 29 Masako Okamoto. "Inﬂuences of Food‐Name Labels on Perceived Tastes." Chem. Senses 34.187–194 (2009). Print.
Barrett 16 fact, the studies being done on food and packaging show that the color of the packaging doesn’t have to associate with the food itself at all, and different colors don’t change the way people necessarily experience the food they eat30. While it doesn’t matter if the color of the package itself reflects its contents, the way color is used does affect general appeal and buying preference based on consumer demographics31. The colors on the designs studied are also done simply, with one or two colors per package, normally designating a different type of product within a brand. Lastly, it can be seen that the contemporary packages themselves are simpler in their overall design, sticking to the emphasis of a select few aesthetic features. The features emphasized tend to connect back to the symbolic elements of the product, and it can be seen that packaging designs that communicate clearly and creatively do better. Using this information, multiple iterations of the seed packaging design were tested to create the strongest possible design. 30 Cornforth, Daren P. "Consumer Preferences for Beef Color 31 Cornforth, Daren P. "Consumer Preferences for Beef Color and Packaging Did Not Affect Eating Satisfaction."
Barrett 17 Final Design The final design corresponds with the various successful aspects taken from the study of contemporary consumer designs. For the first point of image and connotation, the image of the product itself, such as pea‐pods, is left to the back of the package while clearly visible text takes up the front. For the second notion, a single, vibrant color comprises most of the package’s design, with a lightly etched brand image providing the only variation. The color intensity specifically responds to the preferences of SmartFarm’s target
Barrett 18 demographic32. Different types of seeds will also have different colors of the same vibrancy. This will allow for a multi‐colored display that will be used as a staple for the brand identity in later stages of development. The third notion focuses on the brand etching and acts symbolically towards the notion of growth in general rather than to that of just a particular plant. The simple text, strong color, and subtle juxtaposition of cities and trees are designed to hit that “clear and creative” notion taken from the contemporary package designs. The overall affect is to move away from plainly representing what’s inside the box and focuses more on the notion of “sensation transference”‐ creating a general sense of appeal and value that can be attributed to the entire product as a whole33. 32 Paul, P. (2002, February 1). Color by numbers. American Demographics, 30. 33 "Power of Colour in Marketing." Squidoo. UpMarket, 2011. Web.
Barrett 19 Traditional Seed Stand SmartFarm Contemporary Stand Streamlining and Value Enhancing the accessibility of urban farming, however, doesn’t just mean making it appealing. The other half is making it easy. Using local sources to collect seed products allows for a strategy that is regionally specific. Rather than shipping one product out and making people consider when they should plant it, SmartFarm can move to simply display local varieties of plants only while they’re in season in that area. This means that people can buy and plant whatever they see in the store the moment they get home. Taking the planning factor out of the buyer’s hands shortens the temporal distance from the concept, making the decision to buy easier. The seeds themselves are attached to nutrient‐impregnated seed sticks. This technology has seen commercial use before, and allows for allows for more forgiving
Barrett 20 soil conditions34. This also makes act of planting itself easier, as sticks contain plant labels as well as depth lines for how far they should be buried. Smaller seeds, such as carrots, now become easier to place, and the act of simply sticking your seeds into the ground makes the overall experience of planting novel. The packaging’s interior is also lined with all the major tools needed for farming: spacing measurements, water and shading requirements, planting calendars, and a link to online content. These elements make full use of the packaging’s material, increasing the product’s accessibility and overall value. 34 Thomas H. Gardner. "Production of Nutrient Material." USTPO Text and Image Database. United States Patent Office, 21 Mar. 1989. Web.
Barrett 21 Part II: Use The packaging’s connection to internet‐based content takes the form of a Quick Response (QR) code that can immediately link a smart phone to the SmartFarm website. A numerical code and website link also exist below the QR code as to not exclude content to only smart phone users. This feature is the first aspect of SmartFarm’s second component, use. From a motivational standpoint, the time between planting and reaping is dead time. This is perhaps one of the largest issues with creating a farming brand that changes food behavior by minimizing the psychological distance of good food choices. While the actual spatial aspect of psychological distancing can be altered by changing one’s proximity to good food, the temporal distance involved with planting is much more difficult to manipulate. Plants can’t be made to grow faster‐ at least not within the methods of healthy food production this brand is promoting. While
Barrett 22 the packaging design adds some immediate value and rewards for purchasing seeds, there is still a fixed amount of time separating consumers from their final food product. If urban farming products are to be sold as viable competitors with fast food options that specifically stress their immediate availability, then something needs to be done about this temporal distance. The amount of time itself may be fixed, but the way it is perceived is not. The saying “time flies when you’re having fun” comes to mind. Idea being that, if one is engaged in an activity during a certain span of time, then that span seems shortened or even negligible. But how does engagement happen? In recent years, there have been significant advances in the study of engagement, and the most prominent results have come from the study of gamification. Gamification Gamification is the use of video game mechanics and rewards systems in non‐video game products as a way to engage users and create consumer loyalty35. It is a powerful tool that can have significant effects when applied correctly. Simple feedback and rewards systems, which are pure gamification elements, have made 35 John D. Sutter. "Browse the Web, Earn Points and Prizes." CNN. Cable News Network, 30 Sept. 2010. Web.
Barrett 23 Farmville the most used feature on facebook, with over 16 million daily users36. There are even promotions held where people are incentivized to buy real products by giving away Farmville points with every purchase37. This means that people in the real world will buy real products for what are essentially imaginary numbers that dont physically exist. Over 4,000 supermarkets nation‐wide are successfully using this promotional method38. Another example of this would be the popular online game called Air Traffic Controller. This game has achieved high levels of success, spawning sequels and international sales, all while simulating one of the highest suicide‐rated jobs on the planet39. The essential element to take away from this is that it isn’t necessarily what someone is doing, but how he or she’s doing it that makes it fun. Games like these show that the line between boring and fun, good and bad, isn’t as fixed as it may initially seem. 36 Frederic Lardinois. "Farmville is Still the Popular Facebook App." ReadWriteWeb. Nov. 2010. Web. 37 "Miracle Grow FarmVille Promotion." FarmVille Feed. Web. 38 Vadim Lavrusik. "Featured in Social Media." Mashable. 2010. Web. 39 "Job Related Stress." Goetzco Consulting, 2003. Web.
Barrett 24 The SmartFarm website, in addition to providing growing information, will act as an engagement tool to allow for people to contribute to a community and be rewarded for their progress. The idea is to make people feel like they’re playing rather than waiting. There are three proposed components designed to “gamify” the SmartFarm experience: progression, community, and interactive aid. Progression Progression, the idea of simply telling people that they’ve improved, is the most essential part of any gamification model40. The packaging’s QR code will allow for consumers to effortlessly register themselves for email and text updates that remind them to water and take care of their specific product. While different products will have different needs, the online code will be able to generate exact instructions for each specific plant, alleviating the user from the temporal burden of planning. These will not only remind users to water, but also reward them for doing so. For each successful watering notification, users will receive points and visible progress markers. These points, in turn, will be usable to attain discounts on additional SmarfFarm products. Points will build up into levels and experience badges, all of which have been shown to tremendously affect user engagement and motivation41. This strategy is similar to a frequent flyer rewards model. The difference, however, is the point system and visible emphasis rewarding the user. Once established, the nature of watering notifications and updates will be positive and fun on a basic level. 40 "An Introduction to the Use of Game Dynamics to Influence Behavior." Brunchball, 2010. Web. 41 "An Introduction to the Use of Game Dynamics to Influence Behavior."
Barrett 25 Community The second aspect to gamification within the SmartFarm brand is community and allowing users to gain feedback from one another in a rewarding manner. This will be accomplished through mechanics that allow user to attain popularity and recognition. Allowing people to get feedback and recognition for their activity enhances the probability of their involvement42, and Community‐centered websites that use these types mechanics, such as reddit.com, have seen extensive growth in community activity43. SmartFarm users will be able to post entries and pictures in various farm‐related categories. They will also be able to “vote” on other people’s entries, sending projects up or down a popularity ladder. If someone posts a good recipe, he or she will receive comments and see that recipe rise to the top of the popularity ladder. Popularity ladders are separated by category and reset over time‐‐allowing for anyone to have a chance at receiving recognition. If someone asks a good question, then it will rise to the top of its corresponding category. Likewise, if someone posts a 42 Sarah Faglio. "How To Engage Through Feedback on Social Media Sites." Business 2 Community. 2012. Web. 43 Szalak, Artur. "Stumbleupon vs Digg â“ Comscore Statistics." Graviton. Web.
Barrett 26 good answer to that question, then their answer will be elevated to the top of the answers to that question. The community will be able to drive its own interests and form another level of engagement for the entire brand. Interactive Aid The last aspect of “gamifying” the SmartFarm store isn’t something that, in and of itself, is essential to the gamification of the brand. Rather, interactive aid is a way in which this online system can become socially useful. Recently, a debate has arisen on whether or not Non‐Governmental Organizations and aid programs have been successful in the long term44. One of the proposed problems with NGO’s from this debate is the notion that their business model makes less gratifying aid 44 Sarah Faglio. "How To Engage Through Feedback on Social Media Sites." Business 2 Community. 2012. Web.
Barrett 27 programs unsuccessful. People tend to support the causes that make them feel the best45, and less “feel good” causes tend to lack in funding. This problem gained publicity in 2011 when it was reported that the NGO Engineers Without Boarders had been building water systems in impoverished areas that had a precedence for failing due to a lack of maintenance funds46. The implication is that it is much easier to get people to donate towards building a school than it is to get them to donate towards funding the salaries for the teachers who will work there. This is because a school can be built and then seen as an accomplished goal, whereas the teacher’s salaries is an ongoing need that offers donors less satisfaction. Gamification, however, is a way of changing what does or doesn’t feel good through the manipulation of rewards systems. SmartFarm can take causes that would otherwise loose the publicity battle and weave them into the website’s rewards system. Before redeeming coupon points, users will be given the option of having SmartFarm donate their points to an underexposed charity. Users will get to choose which charity this is and visibly see that cause’s progress, making the process of donation inherently more enjoyable. This type of system wouldn’t be purely altruistic, however, and could easily aid in creating socially positive associations with the SmartFarn brand as a whole. 45 Lalin Anik, and Elizabeth W. Dunn. "Feeling Good about Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self‐Interested Charitable Behavior." Harvard Buisness School 10.12 (2012). Print. 46 David Damberger. "David Damberger: What Happens When an NGO Admits Failure."TED: Ideas worth Spreading. Dec. 2011. Web.
Barrett 28 It also should be noted that gamification is not the only intended function of the SmartFarm website. Rather, it is the potential versatility of the website that will be critical to the brand’s success. Other features, such as planning out one’s future garden, online purchasing, farming assistance, and the coordination of community events can all be added to the site’s functions. The flexible nature of an Internet model makes it so that such additions can be undertaken with relatively low cost while significantly enhancing the product’s value. Part III: Expansion The final component of the SmartFarm would be that of expansion. While the packaging and use components respond to the accessibility of urban farming by shortening the spatial and temporal aspects of psychological distancing, expansion affects awareness and social aspects. There is a need within this strategy for a place where people can talk about and experience the brand more directly, making the decision to buy it easier and less abstract. The idea is to build upon the seed packet
Barrett 29 design as a basic unit to form a display, a series of installations, and ultimately, a stand‐alone store. Installation Wall As it was noted before, the seed packet is designed for integration into a larger display. When put next to one another, the packets form a color wall that acts as both a display and attraction. This element, however, is only the first part of what can be built upon for a unique brand experience. Browsing The seed display can be extended into an installation that acts as a wall of color that has several immediate benefits. While novel and visually interesting, the wall design allows for a unique, purely browsing experience. People can walk back and forth and scan as they would with a paint selection. The combination of food‐words and colors, however, creates a kind of synesthesia throughout the experience, enriching it as a whole.
Barrett 30 The wall itself would be 18 inches deep, allowing for magnetic push shelves that users can press to have a row of seeds extend out. This creates an element of interaction that extends the browsing experience for people who want the ability to find exactly the seeds they want. Extended browsing time ensures that people will stay in the store longer, filling it with people and activity. This, in turn, increases the overall effectiveness of the wall, as groups of people actually attract more people47. It should be noted that this notion doesn’t conflict with the idea of shortening temporal boundaries either, as someone who is looking for a specific thing is already engaged with a certain level concrete thinking. 47 Consumer Behavior." Atmospherics.” Marketingteacher, 2012. Web.
Barrett 31 “Plug in” Retail As an 18 inch deep piece of furniture, the installation wall can also function as piece of plug‐in retail. The recent recession has left considerable amounts of unused and empty retail spaces throughout the country. Difficult situations, such as ten‐foot‐deep inlets, have been abandoned in many cases due to their inability to sustain lasting revenue. This, however, has led to the advent of “pop up” retail stores throughout suffering commercial districts. These temporary stores occupy empty retail spaces,
Barrett 32 unloading their inventories and testing new markets with limited risks. The minimal structure of the wall enables it to be set up in a variety of small or temporary “plug in” spaces. This strategy is ideal for expanding the SmartFarm brand into the dense, urban areas where it could have the highest impact. Areas with failing retail inlets are likely to have the open lots and unused land portions that make urban farming possible, and the installation wall allows for a seed supply to pop up in these locations for however long it may be possible to positively affect food behavior.
Barrett 33 The Store In less restrictive situations, it may be possible to turn the installation wall into and entire store that can enhance the SmartFarm brand experience and food behavior strategy. For the purposes of example, a typical 120 by 80 foot lot in Phoenix, Arizona was selected as a sample site. The idea is to make a store out of the installation wall that emphasizes the brand identity and carries the motif of simplified design that was established with the seed packets themselves. For this purpose, the building was given a thick wall that conceals most of its complex functions behind an appealing “wrapper”.
Barrett 35 Concealed Systems A five‐foot gap between interior and exterior allows for a thermal envelope that vents heat from the exterior outside towards the building’s roof, isolating the interior’s temperature. Meanwhile, a reveal window is cut through the side of the building as to display the product from the parking lot, and a truss hidden behind the wall’s skin creates the support for an uninterrupted view. This reveal is structured with the appropriate dimensions for only allowing winter sunlight into the building while shading it from the sun during hotter seasons. Lastly, the gap between walls also conceals a gutter that takes rainwater from the roof and drains it into a cistern.
Barrett 36 Dynamic Facade The black, laminated glass skin serves as a multi‐faceted tool. Visually, it creates a strong contrast with the green foliage and colorful seed packet display. It also allows for the use of solar thermal absorption to power the building’s cooling systems. The five‐foot thermal envelope is a proven passive cooling strategy that, in this case, essentially makes the temperature of the building’s skin inconsequential48. This allows for the opportunity of using a black membrane to absorb as much heat as possible for the purposes of transference into cooling power. This works by attaching thermal tubes containing water along the backside of the panels, where heat is then collected and transferred into a chiller system that uses the thermal energy to effectively cool the building49. Solar thermal cooling systems generally require water temperatures of 190˚ F to operate at full efficiency50. In Phoenix, however, dark surfaces can easily reach over 200˚ F with extended exposure to the summer sun51. This essentially allows for the building to cool its interior by making its exterior as hot as possible. The store will actually save the most energy during the hottest times of the year. 48 Jürgen Schnieders. "CEPHEUS – Measurement Results from More than 100 Dwelling Units in Passive Houses." Passive House Institute (2003): 341‐51. Print. 49 Mohamad Jihad Almshkawi. "Modelling and Assessing an Efficient Building with Absorption Chillier for Two Different Climates in MENA Region." Unikasse. Cairo University, 2011. Web. 50 "Solarinstallation Design ‐ Solar Cooling ‐ Solaranlagen." SOLID Solarinstallation Design. Web. 51 "Smart Parking Lots." Emerald Cool Pavements. Emerald Cities, 2011. Web.
Barrett 37 Wall Sections Clean Interiors When looking at how successful brands have structured their retail interiors, a few patterns can be seen. The foremost of which is the emphasis on clean and open circulation patterns that allow for streamlined product browsing. Following this notion, the SmartFarm store’s interior is left to be clean and simple, allowing for
Barrett 38 browsing to happen on the northern wall and for demonstration crops to be grown on the southern. The second, perhaps more subtle detail to be taken from the examples is the gradual minimization of front desks and points of sale. This trend not only streamlines the purchasing process, but also frees up employees to wander the store and engage customers directly, creating a sense of community. With the SmartFarm store, point of sale will be integrated into the display wall with touch screens, allowing for the openness of the design to channel people through the building and towards its exterior demonstration gardens.
Barrett 39 Exhibition Demonstration gardens will enable for the sale of sample produce, and also provide the valuable link between food production and consumption that the brand has set out to bridge. People will be able to see matured produce in one hand and the seeds for growing that produce in the other, eliminating the temporal and spatial distances created by industrialized agriculture. This, in turn, will allow for discussion of urban agriculture to take place in more concrete terms, increasing food awareness and mitigating the social†