This is urban planning for people who thought the best part of Monopoly was playing with the little houses and hotels. At Louisville, Kentucky's Ideas festival, community members got the chance to rearrange the city and try out new ideas for future development, all with the help of 1/1000 scale 3D printed models of existing city buildings.
The buildings were printed out live at the event by local hackerspace LVL1, who had collaborated with University of Kentucky architecture students to develop the models. Attendees were not only able to move the 3D printed buildings around the huge map of the city, but the building's designs could be modified via Google SketchUp and printed live on one of the five 3D printers that LVL1 provided. Sort of a real-life D&D tabletop game, although with no dice or goblins, and more discussions of traffic patterns and zoning designations.
The interactive event was used to kick-off Vision Louisville, a planning initiative to shape the next 25 years of the city's development. The city plans to hold on to the 3D printed building models and record the ideas that were developed on the map for future use. Louisville is not the first city to get the 3D printing treatment, Chicago was rendered in 3D in 2009 as part of an exhibit by the Chicago Architectural Foundation.
Sound like a lot of fun (maybe even more than Monopoly), and if you want to get going on arranging your own city, maybe check out these sweet buildings from Shapeways' own pfeiffer stylez.
DUS, a Dutch architecture firm, unveiled their KamerMaker ("RoomBuilder"). It is the first mobile 3D printer with the capacity to print inhabitable pavilions. The technology is based on the Ultimaker printer (essentially RepRap) but can print as large as 2.2 x 2.2 x 3.5 meters. It is housed in a giant chrome box that looks as if aliens had plopped down & begun building homes for themselves. Although arguably not quite large enough yet to build a pavilion in a single go, it could certainly fabricate the pieces for onsite assembly. The idea is to implement a more local & adaptable design approach, reuse available materials, & offer mobile construction of emergency & temporary shelter.