As absurd as it might sound, many wind energy projects have been denied over the years because people don’t want wind turbines to disrupt their view. To overcome this aesthetic opposition to wind farms, which is known as NIMBY (not in my backyard), the international design collective Prototype 2030 has created a two-part proposal that would turn wind turbines into interactive public art.
The first part of the design, dubbed Windwards, proposes reshaping wind turbines into giant letters to create landmarks representative of the community. To further empower communities with wind farms, the designers suggest allowing local residents to share in the profits and control the wind turbines through a smartphone app.
Inspired by community-oriented design processes for public infrastructure, Prototype 2030 believes that the way to wider acceptance of wind farms and wind turbines begins with neighborhood-centered design. The Windwords proposal takes cues from the Hollywood sign and the IAMSTERDAM letters, which are not only iconic landmarks in their respective cities but also attract attention from tourists.
The collective’s point is not to turn every wind turbine into a giant letter, but rather, to encourage communities to make wind farms more meaningful to humans rather than simply looking at them as sources of energy.