Title:
Environment development system and methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The system and methods for environment development identifies an environment including a plurality of structures, administers participation of improvements to the structures, and evaluates the improvements to disperse awards. The system and methods is a contest offering an incentive to motivate a community to improve an environment through development.



Inventors:
Speaks, Keith (Williamsport, IN, US)
Mehidi, Kassia (Hammond, IN, US)
Wojtaszek, Sandra (Hammond, IN, US)
Application Number:
12/069685
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
02/12/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
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Primary Examiner:
ELISCA, PIERRE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VALAUSKAS & PINE LLC (Suite 1825, 150 North Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An environment development contest method, comprising the steps of: identifying an environment including a plurality of structures; administering participation in improvements to the structures; evaluating the improvements to the structures; and dispersing awards.

2. The environment development contest method of claim 1 wherein the improvements are aesthetic enhancements to the structures.

3. The environment development contest method of claim 1 wherein the improvements are construction enhancements to the structures.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein the improvements are aesthetic enhancements to the area surrounding the structure.

5. The environment development contest method of claim 1 wherein said evaluating step further comprises the steps of: reviewing the structure at one or more primary positions; assessing the structure at one or more final positions; analyzing the one or more primary positions and the one or more final positions; calculating a degree of improvement from said analyzing step: translating the degree of improvement to a score; comparing all scores of said translating step; and assigning a status.

6. A contest method for motivating environment development, comprising the steps of: identifying one or more architectural structures in need of improvement; determining costs of the contest; defining requirements of the contest; soliciting one or more participants for entry in the contest; entering the one or more participants in the contest; consulting the one or more participants; planning improvement to the one or more architectural structures; administering the improvement executed by the one or more participants; enforcing the requirements of the contest; determining an impartial rating standard; evaluating the improvements to the architectural structures using the rating standard; choosing a winning structure; and dispersing an award to the one or more participants that executed the improvement to the architectural structure.

7. The method of motivating environment development of claim 6, further comprising the steps of assessing the contest.

8. The method of motivating environment development of claim 7, wherein said assessing step further comprises the steps of: gathering data from one or more said steps; surveying participants entered in the contest; and preparing a report from said gathering step and said surveying step.

9. The method of motivating environment development of claim 6, wherein said announcing step further comprises the step of conducting a ceremony.

10. A system of an environment development contest, comprising: a central processing unit to identify an environment including a plurality of structures, administer participation in improvements to the structures, evaluate the improvements to the structures; and a memory to store information and data pertaining to the environment development contest, wherein said information and said data are stored in a database in said memory.

11. A system of an environment development contest according to claim 10, wherein said central processing unit recognizes commands to manipulate said database.

12. A system of an environment development contest according to claim 10, wherein said database is manipulated to compile a report.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/902,712 filed Feb. 22, 2007.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the environment and more specifically to an environment development contest system and methods.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Some studies have shown that environments with a fresh, vibrant appearance attract more social support and are viewed as environments of choice for individuals as to where they desire to live or do business. An environment includes internal and external conditions, resources, and architecture with which a community interacts. For example, an environment in which a community interacts may be an urban region, rural region, city, town, suburb, state, or even a neighborhood.

For purposes of this application, a community is defined as a group of individuals united by some common interest, for example, publications such as books, magazines, journals, newspapers, or education, culture, entertainment, fraternity, club, faith, socioeconomic level, history, wealth, technology, employment, finance, and domicile to name a few.

Healthy and vibrant environments have similarities to living organisms through the need for ongoing nourishment, replenishment of energy and growth. Many environments lack the attributes of health and vibrancy; and many communities desire an environment with these attributes, but lack the motivation to initiate development. Motivation for a community to develop an environment is optimally desired to improve the health and vibrancy of the environment. A system and methods for environment development is needed. The present invention satisfies this demand.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a contest system and methods offering an incentive to motivate a community to improve an environment through development. A contest is an event in which two or more participants compete against each other for a prize or similar incentive.

Development includes revitalizing the environment by improving structures—such as architectural structures including residential, commercial or industrial—for various benefits. For example, benefits include increasing property value, stabilizing the tax base, and improving the quality of life of a community.

For purposes of this application, a structure includes both the internal and external aspects of the structure, and can be, for example, a building, house, apartment, condominium, townhouse, garage, pole barn, shed or other out building and may even include infrastructure such as landscape, roads, streets, highways and bridges.

The contest system and methods identifies an environment including a plurality of structures, administers participation of improvements to the structures, and evaluates the improvements to disperse awards. It is contemplated that any or all of the contest method steps can be performed by a general computer system.

A general computer system according to the present invention includes a central processing unit (CPU), a read-only memory (ROM), a random access memory (RAM), and a memory hard disk, all interconnected by a system bus. The memory hard disk serves as a storage device and may further include a database.

An environment including one or more structures in need of improvement is identified. The environment may be of any size, for example, a neighborhood, subdivision, city, town, or suburb. According to the present invention, any number of structures within the environment is contemplated. It is also contemplated that the structures may be similar as well as dissimilar. Along with identifying the environment including structures, costs associated with the contest may be determined, such as administrative fees including postage, printing, copying, and staff time, as well as contest requirements defined, such as participant eligibility, rules, duration and deadlines, or any other contemplated contest requirements.

Participation in improving the structures is administered. Improvements include aesthetic and construction enhancements to the exterior of the structures themselves, as well as the surrounding area, such as landscape. Improvements may also include aesthetic and construction enhancements to the interior of the structures. Administering participation in improvements to the structures may also include conducting marketing and soliciting potential participants. For purposes of this application, participants execute the improvements to the structure and can be an individual or group of individuals within the community. Further, a participant may or may not have an interest in the structure to which they execute improvements.

Potential participants may be solicited by direct or indirect marketing such as visiting the participant, telemarketing, and distributing promotional material including direct mail, email, letters, forms, cards, articles, flyers, posters, press releases, and signs, to name a few. Participants may either agree or be selected to enter the contest. It is also contemplated that participants may receive a door prize for entering the contest.

Administering participation in improvements to the structures may also include consulting participants. Consulting participants includes planning the structure improvement effectively and economically, along with instructing participants to make significant and verifiable improvements to the structure. Administering participation also includes enforcing the contest requirements, for example, participant eligibility, rules, duration and deadlines.

The contest requires evaluation of the structures. Evaluation includes reviewing the structure before improvements and assessing the structure after the improvements. The structure is reviewed before improvements at one or more primary positions. Each primary position includes primary parameters such as a first angle and a first distance with respect to a base point of the structure. For example, a first primary position includes primary parameters of 45 degrees for the first angle and 50 feet for the first distance, each relative to a base point such as the front door, a window, or a light fixture of the structure. The second primary position includes primary parameters of 180 degrees for the first angle and 70 feet for the first distance, again relative to the base point.

The structure is assessed after improvements at one or more final positions. Each final position includes final parameters such as a second angle and a second distance with respect to a base point of the structure. Any primary and final parameter is contemplated, for example, color, height, square footage, or size. The primary position and final position may be documented in a record, such as a photograph, digital image or mental record.

The primary parameters of a primary position may correspond to the final parameters of a final position. Each structure subject to the contest is evaluated by analyzing corresponding primary positions and final positions to compute a degree of improvement in terms of how much the structure has changed. Analyzing the positions may be performed, for example, by a panel of judges, computer software, or a combination of both. The computed degree of improvement translates to a score. The score may be a value within a defined range, scale, or dimension. For example, the score can be equal, less than or greater than a value on a scale, for example a numerical scale of 1 through 10, with 10 defined as the highest score on the scale. It is contemplated that any method of scoring may be used.

All scores from each of the structures identified in the contest are then compared to assign a structure with a “win” status, otherwise referred to herein as a winning structure. It is contemplated any number of structures may be assigned a “win” status.

Awards are dispersed to the participants that executed the improvements depending upon the results of the evaluation. Awards include monetary and non-monetary prizes. It is contemplated that the winning structure including participant may be announced, such as in a publication. Additionally, a ceremony may be conducted to disperse the awards. The ceremony may include food, drink and entertainment. Instead of a ceremony, printed announcements may appear in newspapers, magazines, trade publications and/or reports, fraternal organization newsletters, websites and via electronic mail.

The contest system and methods may further include the step of assessing the contest. Assessing the contest includes collecting information and gathering data. Collecting information includes, for example, all information related to the identification of an environment including the one or more structures, administration of the participation of improvements to the structures, or evaluation of the improvements. Gathering data may include surveying participants regarding, for example, the amount of money spent, locations of where goods and services were purchased, as well as any compliments or criticisms regarding the contest. The information and data may further be compiled into a report. The report may summarize the contest and include all details.

In one embodiment, the memory of a computer stores the information and data in a database. The database can be manipulated by commands to sort, prioritize, or process the information and data.

An object of the present invention is to promote and enhance environment development. A contest system and methods offers an incentive to motivate a community to improve an environment through development, such as improving the appearance or construction of houses and thus, the environment as a whole.

Another object of the present invention is to create a healthy and vibrant environment.

Yet another object of the present invention is to create a stimulus for ongoing health and vibrancy of the environment.

Another object of the present invention is to dramatically and immediately improve the look of a structure, such as an architectural structure.

Another object of the present invention is to generate improvements to structures beyond the normal course of market influences of trends and style.

Another object of the present invention is to increase market value of an architectural structure or to the improvements to the architectural structure.

Another object of the present invention is to encourage purchasers of real estate to select a specific geographic area.

Another object of the present invention is to increase property ownership opportunities.

Another object of the present invention is to improve the quality of all housing. “Keeping up with the Joneses” —the desire to be seen as being as good as one's neighbors—stimulates improvements. For example, one neighbor maintains the landscape of his front yard in the hope that passersby judge the yard to be as nice as another neighbor's yard.

Another object of the present invention is to build and sustain communities.

Another object of the present invention is to build relationships between and within communities.

Another object of the present invention is to encourage community stability and vitality.

Another object of the present invention is to stimulate the use of lending institutions, contractors, architects, engineers, hardware stores and other building supply businesses.

The present invention and its attributes and advantages will be further understood and appreciated with reference to the detailed description below of presently contemplated embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing the structure of a general computer system according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a flowchart of one embodiment of a method for environment development according to the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is a flowchart of one embodiment of a method for evaluating improvements according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an environment development contest system and methods. It is contemplated that the present invention can be implemented by any individual, group, entity or organization, termed herein as “sponsor”, such as municipalities, neighbor groups, business coalitions, publishing entities, real estate broker, foundations, and non-profits, to name a few.

In the following, the present invention will be described with reference to an environment that is a neighborhood of a city and structures identified as houses. However, the present invention contemplates a wide range of environments and structures.

FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing the structure of a general computer system 100 according to the present invention. The system 100 includes a central processing unit (CPU) 102, a read-only memory (ROM) 104, a random access memory (RAM) 106, and a memory hard disk 110, all interconnected by a system bus 108. The memory hard disk 110 serves as a storage device and may further include a database 112.

FIG. 2 is a flowchart of one embodiment of a method 200 for environment development. At step 202, a neighborhood of a city including houses is identified. The environment may be of any size, for example, a neighborhood, subdivision, city, town, or suburb. As mentioned above, structures include buildings, houses, apartments, condominiums, townhouses, garages, pole barns, sheds and other out buildings and may even include infrastructure such as landscape, roads, streets, highways and bridges. According to the present invention, any number of structures within the environment is contemplated. In this example, 13 architectural structures in the form of houses are identified.

The step of identifying the environment may also include the step of determining costs associated with the contest, such as administrative fees, including postage, printing, copying, and staff time. The step of identifying the environment may further include defining contest requirements, such as participant eligibility, rules, duration and deadlines, as well as any other contemplated contest requirements. In this example, contest requirements include a duration of six months to execute and complete improvements to the structures, and participant eligibility requires the participant is over 18 years old and owns the structure, although any contest requirements and participant eligibility is contemplated.

At step 204, participation in improvements to the architectural structures is administered. Improvements include aesthetic and construction enhancements to the exterior of the architectural structures themselves, as well as the surrounding area such as landscape. Improvements may also include aesthetic and construction enhancements to the interior of the architectural structures.

The step of administering participation in improvements to the architectural structures includes conducting marketing and soliciting potential participants. For example, potential participants are solicited by distributing promotional material and agree to enter the contest. As another example, potential participants are solicited by a computer automated telemarketing system wherein telephone calls are made to the potential participant. Participants that agree to enter the contest receive a gift card to a local home improvement store.

Administering participation in improvements to the architectural structures also includes consulting participants. The sponsor assists the participant in planning the architectural structure improvement effectively and economically, along with instructing participants to make significant and verifiable improvements to the structure. It is also contemplated the sponsor conveys computer generated plans of improvements to the structure. Administering participation also includes enforcing the contest requirements, for example, participant eligibility, rules, duration and deadlines.

The improvements are evaluated at step 206 as shown in FIG. 2. Evaluating the improvements includes determining impartial rating standards and utilizing those standards. As shown in FIG. 3, the evaluating step is based on a degree of improvement. As shown by the method 300 of FIG. 3 for evaluating improvement, each house is reviewed at step 302. Each house is reviewed at one or more primary positions before improvements. For example, a first primary position is 45 degrees and 50 feet from the front door of the house, and a second primary position is 180 degrees and 70 feet from a light fixture on the exterior of the house.

The structure is assessed after improvements at one or more final positions at step 304. Each final parameter of the final position corresponds to the primary parameters of the primary position—a first final position of 45 degrees and 50 feet from the front door of the house, and a second final position of 180 degrees and 70 feet from a light fixture on the exterior of the house.

Each house subject to the contest is evaluated in the same manner—analyzing corresponding primary positions and final positions at step 306 to compute a degree of improvement for each house at step 308. For example, a panel of judges analyzes the one or more primary positions in the form of a digital image record with one or more final positions also in the form of a digital image record.

The computed degree of improvement translates to a score at step 310. The score is a value within a defined numerical scale of 1 through 10, with 10 defined as the highest score on the scale. A first house has a score of 10, a second house has a score of 2 and the remaining 11 houses have scores in between these values.

All scores from each of the structures identified in the contest are then compared at step 312. At step 314, a status is assigned to one or more houses. Here, the first house is assigned the “win” status, or is the winning house.

After the improvements to the houses are evaluated at step 206 of FIG. 2, a monetary award such as $500 is dispersed at step 208 to the winning participant that executed and completed improvements of the winning house. It is further contemplated a ceremony is conducted to disperse the award. The ceremony may include food, drink and entertainment. Instead of a ceremony, printed announcements may appear in newspapers, magazines, trade publications and/or reports, fraternal organization newsletters, websites and via email.

The contest system and methods may further include the step of assessing the contest. Assessing the contest includes collecting information and gathering data. Collecting information includes all information related to the identification of an environment including the one or more structures, administration of the participation of improvements to the structures, and evaluation of the improvements. Gathering data includes surveying participants regarding, for example, the amount of money spent, locations of where goods and services were purchased, as well as any compliments or criticisms regarding the contest. The memory hard disk of a computer stores the information and data in a database. The database can be manipulated by commands to sort, prioritize, or process the information and data, for example, compiling the information and data into a report that summarizes the contest and include all details.

While the disclosure is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific exemplary embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and have herein been described in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intent to limit the disclosure to the particular embodiments disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope of the disclosure as defined by the appended claims.