The Vernacular Ecology Index (VEI) is a newly proposed assessment method for sustainable urban development. It is composed of five elements (energy, culture, systems, placeness and vernacular) that are indicative of the spirit of the real and illusory within the context of the urban ecosystem. Within the components there are integrated indicators that aim to reflect and measure the viability of the individual element. When synthesized with their counterparts the index indicates strengths and areas in need of improvement within the designated study subject. Most importantly the index acts as a visual illustration of ecological progress as it is a critical intention to involve communities in the process of ecological appraisal, or put simply ‘mutual interaction’. One of the primary purposes of the VEI tool is to establish networks of benchmark practice in order to stimulate feedback loops to complimentary regions, ultimately benefitting the broader bioregion. Applying the index to a number of projects in a stipulated locality effectively offers an aerial image of the urban ecosystem’s health that could potentially pinpoint ecological strengths and weaknesses of the identified region.
This talk will illustrate how VEI’s graphical information model is developed using R’s grammar of graphics, which allows clear representation of the five categories with the ability to establish a rating for each of the components. Trough the use of shiny, R enables interactive communications with users for imputing VEI’s assessment data that can be presented on Google Maps for building spatial aerial image of a regional assessment.