Introduction: Living Room for the Year 2200

A time travel machine that serves as an on-the-street-living room, data visualization and narrative collection tool, this living room invites you to explore how sea level rise changes the San Francisco Bay Area – in the past, present and future – and share your thoughts on what those what those impacts mean to you. By walking inside the space, visitors are transported 200 years into the future, when sea levels have risen roughly 25 ft and the world is a much warmer place.

They land in the living room of a young urban designer named Jara Aniton, who is renting them the use of her apartment through whatever version of Airbnb exists in the year 2200. The apartment is complete with objects useful for navigating the future San Francisco, including a paddle for Jara's canoe, inflatable water wings, dry shampoo and waders for exploring more watery areas of the city. All objects come with audio instructions for guests' ease of use.

Guests are welcome to stay in her apartment as long as they like. As Jara is fascinated with the ways the city and San Francisco Bay region have changed over time, the apartment is stocked with information. Walls are decorated with images of Market St as it has shifted through the millennia, from the end of the last ice in 13000 BCE to the Gold Rush to the year 2200. The coffee table is covered with books and pamphlets detailing how the area has shifted with rising teas and tectonic shifts. Audio of interviews Jara has recorded with experts on San Francisco history plays on the apartment speakers. As Jara is particularly fascinated with the words people use to describe the impacts of sea level rise and shifting climates on their lives, she asks visitors to answer a series of questions before they leave the apartment.

To make your own future living room, read on!

Step 1: Make Your Room Frame

1. Buy your pieces:

To make your 12’x15’ living room, use a thicker pvc pipe to increase sturdiness. Go for the 1.5” or 2” types. In this model, we’re using 2” pipe. As vendors usually sell these in 10’ long pieces, you’ll need: eighteen 10’ pipes, four 2-way corner connectors, ten t-shape connectors, and six 3-way corner connectors

2. Cut your pieces:
Use a chop saw to cut your pvc pipe to the right lengths. You'll need ten 7’ tall pieces as vertical supports, sixteen 5’ pieces as horizontal supports, and two 3’ long spanners. The two 3’ spanners will become the “Door” to the living room.

3. Drill:

Drill holes in the ends of the 5' horizontal supports. Using a 5/8in drill bit, measure 8in in from each end of the 5' pvc support pipes and drill through both sides of the pipes. For extra security in the drilling process, clamp the pvc pipe between two 2x4 scraps clamped to your work surface.

4. Buy hardware:

Buy 32 6" eye-bolts from your local hardware store and insert them in the holes you just created. These will serve to connect your walls (which we'll make in the next step) to the frame.

5. Drill:

Drill holes in the center of the 5' horizontal supports. Using a 5/8 drill bit, measure to the middle of your 5' horizontal support pvc pieces and drill through just one side of the pipe. For extra security in the drilling process, clamp the pvc pipe between two 2x4 scraps clamped to your work surface.

6. Buy more hardware:

Buy 14 2in eye-screws from your local hardware store and insert them in the holes you just created. These will serve to connect your windows and living room art (which we'll make in steps 3 and 4) to the frame.

Step 2: Make Your Walls

1. Buy your materials:

Buy eight sheets of 8'x4' ft fluted polypropylene sheets and trim to appropriate size with an xacto knife (we used 6’ x 4’ size panels to create more visual transparency between the inside and outside of the living room).

2. Apply lettering:

Lay out the vinyl lettering masks over the plastic pieces, using masking tape to keep them in place. Using a hard ribbed plastic item, scrape over the vinyl lettering pieces as hard as you can. Let the lettering sit for at least 10 minutes before you peel up the covering.

3. Hang:

Using silver grommets, stamp holes 1in from each of the four corners of each panels for hanging purposes.

Step 3: Make Your Windows

1. Do the research:

Do some research on what conditions will be like in your area in 200 years. Use that research to create some images depicting what life on the street might be like under these future conditions.

2. Print and frame:

Print your images on lightweight vellum. For the frames you can either build your own or cheat as I did and get some painting frames, remove the canvas surface and use the base wooden support frames. Staple the images to the frames, using a staple gun.

3. Hang:

Drill holes in the top and bottom of the frame and insert hardware for hanging -- lightweight eye-screws will do the job.

Step 4: Make Your Living Room Art

1. Do the research:

To give your visitors a clear vision of what life will be like in the future, do some research and make some corresponding images depicting the world outside in the year 2200.

2. Print and frame:

Print your images on bond paper, trimming edges as needed with an x-acto knife. Insert them in purchased frames.

3. Hang:

Using an 1/8” bit, drill holes into top and bottom of the frame and insert hardware for hanging -- again, lightweight eye screws will do the job well.

Step 5: Source Your Furniture

Every living room needs furniture and this one is no different. Get your furniture wherever seems right for you -- Salvation army, your own home, a friend, or the street. We ended up borrowing a friend's couch and building our own tables from douglas fir 2x4s and 3/4" birch plywood.

To make the tables, follow these steps:

1. Make rough support frames:

Cut and screw the 2x4s into rectangular support frames. I won't give precise dimensions here because it really depends on what your preferences are for height and depth. A simple chop saw served to cut the 2x4s. We pre-drilled the holes with a 1/8in bit and then used 2in galvanized steel screws.

2. Cover with grey fabric:

Once the frames were made, we stretched and stapled grey fabric over the frame to make the sides

3. Install table tops:

For the table tops, we secured the birch plywood to two surface saw horses with clamps and cut it with a circular saw. Again the precise dimensions of the table tops I leave up to you and your personal preferences. After cutting, we sanded and stained them and then secured them to the frame bases with simple L-brackets.

Step 6: Assemble Your Frame and Walls

Once you've got your furniture together, start putting your living room frame together.

1. Connect your pvc frame:

Using a rubber mallet, whack the 2" pipe into the appropriate connectors. Use the t-shape connectors to continue the long walls, the 3-way corner connectors are for the inner corners, etc.

2. Hang your walls:

Suspend your plastic wall panels from the pvc pipe with decorative chain. Connect the chain to the hardware you insert in the drilled pvc frame holes in step 1 using round-nosed pliers and then connect to the lightweight eye-bolts you inserted on the top and bottom of the picture frames in steps 3 and 4. Use bolt cutters to cut the decorative chain to the specific lengths you prefer.

Step 7: Make Your Questions

1. Design your post-it-note questions and print on 3x3 size paper

2. Attach to one of your side tables with velcro adhesives

Step 8: Make Your Interactive Living Room Objects

1. Choose and buy your objects:

These objects are up to you. We chose fishing waders, a respirator (because air quality in the future could get to potentially unhealthy particulate matter levels), inflatable arm swimming wings, dry shampoo and a canoe oar.

2. Make your audio files:

Record a suite of audio files describing how the chosen objects will be used in the year 2200, exporting them as mp3 files. These don't necessarily have to be quality recordings -- the voice memo on your smartphone will do fine.

Upload them to your computer.

3. Set up photo-cell audio triggers:

Buy a spool of stranded wire, a set of small photo cells and some heat shrink. Use a solder iron to solder the stranded wire to the photo cells, securing the bonds with the heat shrink.

4. Set up circuit board interface between photo-cell audio triggers and audio files:

Buy the following supplies: 10K resistor, Breadboard, Arduino UNO (physical programmable circuit board), 3-4 wires(to connect it all together), USB cable to upload sketch and for Serial communication with Processing.

Put the Arduino UNO on the breadboard and solder them up to make them more secure and compact.

Download the Arduino Software onto the computer where you've uploaded your audio files.

Upload the follow Arduino code into your Arduino software: This just reads the sensor values and sends them over serial.

Processing code: This reads in the array of sensor values, and checks to see if any are above the threshold value. If they are above, then the sound file plays, if they are below it stops playing.

For more detailed information on how to make the circuit, follow this tutorial:

5. Install photo-cell audio triggers in object tables:

Using a 5/8in bit, drill holes in the pvc pipes in area that will be covered when the larger objects (the waders and canoe oar) are hung in the living room. Again, for security during the drilling process, secure your pipe between two 2x4 scraps clamped down to your work surface. Decide where you would like to place the other objects on the side tables and drill holes under the places where the objects will rest on the table surfaces.

Insert photo cells into the drilled holes, securing them in place with duct tape, The cell surface should be flush with the edge of the pvc, exposed to light when it's uncovered.

6. Connect photo-cell audio triggers to the circuit board:

Fasten the ends of the stranded wire into their berths under the screw terminals. Start playing with the light levels in the Processing code needed to trigger the audio start playing when you move the objects away from their corresponding photo cells.

Step 9: Welcome Your Visitors

Invite people into your time machine to check out how the world looks like in the future

Step 10: Explore Your Findings

Once your visitors have left, explore their answers to your questions about change and what rising seas mean to them!