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As for “problem analyzing”, although it works quite well and brought Humanity so far, it also (IMHO) makes humans pedantic as thinking they know better than, say, mother nature or just other humans sometimes (did I just thought “often”? oh my 🙂 Whereas the strength-based approach to change is about finding what DOES work, understanding why, and trying to do more of it, or even improve it if possible.
This is IMHO what permaculture is about (although it starts from a blank land and collate natural elements, its basically trying to reconstruct ecosystems that work elsewhere). And I do see CA patterns the same way: he deeply analyzed what places or buildings were “working” for their inhabitants and found the repetitive elements and was clever enough to formalize them into patterns. This is really brillant.
Maybe we could stress the strength part of patterns by including a “works better with…” section to each of them? (there’s already a “see also” but the meaning isn’t as specific for me). Like for instance: when planting Tomatoes, “works well/better with”: Basil (the two of them become tastier because of their proximity).
What’s currently bothering me about permaculture (although I might find an answer should I take on a permaculture design course) is that although some “solutions” or “patterns” do exist, I see nothing that could compare to the work of Christopher Alexander, from whole to parts, and where to start from. I see all the information in the books (permaculture 1 and 2) but it’s not arrange in a practical way. Now, given it’s a wholistic approach to garden design, and that it depends heavily on the place, the people (their desires), the weather, local micro-climat, etc.) it maybe hard to go further than what I’ve already read. My intuition is that we can do better, though.
Maybe using the 15 wholeness principles and confronting them to permaculture will give me hints? I did found what appeared to be a smooth path in the 15 wholeness principles from #1 to #15 that flew logically from start to end when it comes to mental models formation. Maybe I can do the same for permaculture? Here’s the piece I wrote: https://hejmo.appreciatingsystems.com/blog/2015/03/christopher-alexander-fifteen-properties-of-wholeness-applied-to-mental-models-systemsthinking/
I would like to write a blog post on that. Stay tuned ! 🙂]]>
You do make an effort to include the intent to consider the context of one’s designs, but it’s stated philosophically. That may be better than most systems thinkers do, but as philosophy it’s easy to brush over. It’s not detailed as a practice, to bring out the great challenge it naturally poses, of living in an ecological world, populated by all kinds of “alien” organizations and behaviors.
I’ve noticed that as a systemic problem, throughout professional practices, that everyone tends to focus on their designs and brush off the world they need to work in. It led me to discovering how our world standard sustainability metrics were being profoundly ill-defined too. The economists who provided our world standard accounting methods thinking of businesses, cities and nations as only what’s inside them. So our world impact accounting is limited to organizing information on hand for business, city or national accountants. What goes uncounted is huge in both scale and kind, with most earth impacts of the economy not being anyone’s responsibility at all(1). To correct it would requires a whole system approach rather than a local system approach, like my World SDG aims to offer(2).
I had a wonderful reception on the issue worth mentioning, at the UN this week, at its first world Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDG’s. I helped bring out that that much of what is disrupting human ways of life around the world is the effects of “disruptive investment”. Those are innovations that investors tend to make the most money from, but never think of the costs to society for, such as to what gets disrupted. It’s one of the leading causes of ever growing inequity around the world, and the rapid expansion of distressed communities. Businesses and investors, even many sustainable development pioneers working closely with the UN, have all been consistently looking only as their positive hopes and ignoring how they might disrupt the contexts in which they plan to operate. It applies to permaculture too, that even the most perfect holistic design by itself has externalities, and happens to include the necessity of having “day jobs” to provide things we can’t do without, and inadvertently tying permaculture to those roles in supporting the world economy as it spins out of control.
To transcend all this is the challenge. I start from using a fairly radical “whole systems approach”, making the environment part of the design. Others might have their own starting points for getting to thinking of the parts as their roles in the whole. Once taking that view one can then ask what *other* centers of organization need to be responded to, leading to a more broad understanding of the commons shared with them. My way of thinking about it takes elements from all the kinds of systems studies. What is most different from familiar systems thinking is my work on expanding scientific use of common language, and use of the expert holistic design method following Christopher Alexander’s principles of pattern language. It *starts* with studying the “context” and “forces” and what you’d call “problem finding”, and returns to that again at the end too, as a foundation for holistic design.
In that interest I proposed a substantial expansion of PL thinking and practice Last year(3), so PL can also work with naturally occurring design, as well as intentional designs. It uses the same framework and expands the terms for studying natural ‘contexts’, ‘forces’ and ‘centers of organization’, following the practice that developed for using pattern language for expert holistic design. Having ‘context’ as the first question really helps one to not forget it, as a way to counter the historic general problem.
My most important contributions seem to be 1) how to use natural language as a deep repository of meanings for natural designs and 2) using pattern recognition for growth phases as a guide to discovering the organizational changes of naturally evolving designs.
How I understand pattern language is as a list of good questions, that needs at least to include the following. Others do state and organize them differently, but generally always seem recognizable as having a common core:
1. An clearly described “context” and “circumstances”,
2. the particular “forces” between “differentiated parts” and
3. the “principle of design” that “brings them into balance”,
4. to work together as a “whole” and exhibit the new “emergent properties”
5. as a result of their organization working as a whole.
6. its organizational growth and development from a origin pattern
7. the new roles and relationships it develops in its world
8. and their legacy
So I’m not saying this is the ideal statement of holistic systems thinking, but suggesting terms to allow holistic systems thinkers to join forces with holistic system designers. I think both need this kind of structure, and to have a common language of expert design that teaches much the same core elements to be found in each other’s work. To me using CA’s holistic design practice and method of explicit description as a foundation would be better than using either philosophy or science.
Very best regards,
Chances are you already practice some of them to some degree. Which one attracts you to experiment with?]]>
And then to differentiate local from
Am still looking for a good differentiation of ccy as trade for matter vs ccy for information (i.e. Hyper inflation a sharing)]]>