Wasteless Cities

Angela Bond

NYC food waste to biogas interactive storytelling awareness campaign.


Wasteless Cities is a web based interactive storytelling experience about NYC food waste. Through persuasive storytelling New Yorkers learn about methods for reducing the volume of food waste that ends up in landfills. Each year, Americans waste nearly 33 million tons of food. As the largest and most densely populated city in the United States, nearly 20,000 tons of food waste is exported out of New York City per day. That's enough food to fill the Empire State building. WasteLess Cities uses the art of storytelling to make otherwise daunting statistics more relatable and "digestable". The interactive website invites the user to reveal the story of waste for themselves. The website offers social commentary on the current food waste situation in NYC and promotes collective action by encouraging users to share knowledge.

Wasteless Cities is a part research part production thesis. During the first half of the semester I extensively researched NYC waste management. While researching I discovered that there is a feasible alternative to the management of food waste in the city that could really benefit us called anaerobic digestion. I became motivated to create an awareness campaign about anaerobic digestion. The more I learned about how NYC handles waste in comparison to other parts of the world the more I wanted to tell the story. I researched current trends in storytelling and found inspiration in sites like http://slaveryfootprint.org/#where_do_you_live and http://www.dangersoffracking.com/ and http://www.storyofstuff.org/. My design goals were to take the NYC waste research off the pdfs and onto a website that requires participation in a current exciting way. I chose to create the content with photographs because it is something that I haven't seen done before with parallax scrolling. In order to learn how the process was going to work I began by photographing an apple and writing the Javascript framework http://theotherangiebond.com/thesis/stopmotion/index.html. I considered being part of the storytelling so for the second iteration Jonas Pedersen took 600 photos of me. I mass edited them in Photoshop by creating batches. To get rid of the pixelation I did the following: save for web and devices, save as jpeg, ranging from 10-30 kB. And here’s the second iteration http://theotherangiebond.com/thesis/stopmotion/restofyou.html. After getting the tech down and understanding what was possible I transferred the information onto storyboards. This part was challenging because there is so much information. I really had to think about what I wanted to say and decided to focus on food waste in the city because recent research shows that it can be converted into energy in NYC. http://www.theotherangiebond.com/blog/

Concerned NYC Residents

User Scenario
1-The user sees a link to wasteless cities on a friends facebook page

2- Clicks link to wastelesscities.com

3- Scrolls

4- Reads the story of NYC food waste and learns about anaerobic digestion

5- Spends a few minutes longer with the material than they would reading a research paper

6- Clicks and browses the resource links in the learn more tab

7- Joins the discussion, comments, and shares on Facebook

I studied parallax tutorials and libraries and with the help of Jonas Pedersen, I designed and created a web based storytelling framework in javascript and html. From there I created a few different storyboard versions while keeping flexibility in mind. Then I spent around two weeks in production and two weeks in post-production. I took over 1,000 photos with the canon 5D. I used Dragonframe for most of production except for when I went to Long Island City for shots of the NYC skyline and for the Empire sequence. Next I uploaded the photos to the website, did some user testing, and continuously work on making improvements. Wasteless Cities is not only about creating awareness surrounding anaerobic digestion but it is also a resource and a place where users can discuss how nyc could do a better job of managing waste.

I learned a lot about NYC waste management. I discovered that there is a lack of awareness surrounding the topic and the possibilities surrounding anaerobic digestion.