Sustainable Homes

Exploring new democratic approaches to complex problem solving through engaging visualizations of expertise

The sustainable homes project explores the complex problem of sustainable housing.  Financially and environmentally unsustainable homes:

  • are damaging to human health; from damp and mold, to excessive cold and heat related deaths, to the anxiety of covering energy and repair bills
  • present a public health challenge; since March 2022 this has taken on elements of a public health crisis as the cost of both heating and food has climbed significantly impacting the poorest and most vulnerable in our societies
  • have an environmental footprint that is a significant proportion of global GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, as does the manufacture of new homes and retrofitting of old homes

Primary Goals: Improving Democratic Decision Making

The project aims to explore how simulations and their supporting tools might improve our societies’ democratic sense and decision making of complex problems.  We hypothesize that engaging and realistic simulations can enable experts, and journalists to better communicate with citizens and policy makers.  This democratization of expertise via simulations empowers citizens to better understand the invisible forces that determine how they can flourish in our societies within nature.  Specifically:

  • how such tools might act as mediums through which experts can more easily build coherence and consensus amongst themselves
  • the trust of citizens in this sense making process
  • the participation of citizens in understanding and solving complex problems
  • helping our citizens better understand the complex problems we collectively face, and make better decisions about these complex problems including deciding what to buy or not to buy, who to vote for, and why
  • complex problems also have unique qualities of being significantly dynamic and uncertain and the visualizations also aim to guide the general public and policy makers into understanding these qualities at intellectual and intuitive levels

Secondary Goals: Improve Homes and Housing Policy

Simulations that facilitate a better understanding of what sustainable homes could be and making better decisions about them, should result in improving homes and thus the project also aims to:

  • improve the health of occupants living in their homes via changes to their homes physical construction, or use
  • improve the financial and environmental sustainability of housing


The sustainable homes project uses software tools CCI has built previously (DataCurator, Anot8, Mathesar) to support a custom interactive visualization / simulation together with the social and philosophical approaches CCI takes for engaging with the communities we aim to serve.