I agree- the pity being that they will then defer to architects in matters of design.
I would have put this the other way around: Architects defer too much in matters of planning, to the planners. I cannot help, thinking, this cross-over in observation, has something 'eerie' about it. As if some 'Invisible Hand' were reaching out, the hand of greed perhaps? The characters involved in that process, have sucked too much 'speedy' reward from the environment. For those people, it was more profitable, to see
Planners and Architects in distinct, separate enclosures. Their profit margins sky-rocketed, every time, an Architect and Planner duked it out, on some street corner or some small bothereen in the country, and the design professionals lost
what benefit they could hope to gain. I think this 'forking', has left the respective traditions, in a state of both financial and creative poverty. Neither side being capable
, of striking 'a decisive blow', on behalf of the environment or it's inhabitants. With some exceptions, the only time an architect and planner meet
today, is to have a scrap. I am sure, you can remember several incidents, and have black eyes, or even scars to remember the incident by. It would be ironic, not to say the least, typical, that a major cause of the problems, has nothing to do with design, but with
a lack of ability to talk to one another.
As a planning student I have to say my biggest disappointment and constant complaint about the course (undergraduate) is the poor level of architectural and design studies. There is a huge focus on sustainability, ecology, natural resources managment etc but very little effort put into developing a knowledge of good and bad architecture. I think this is a mistake. I think a planner has to be able to have a critical opinion on a new development, to be able to appreciate the good elements of a building and to recognise the bad elements. I think most planning students probably leave college without the ability to even communicate with an architect.
That is quite funny actually, as in my posting right here: http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=3522&page=4
I refered to the architectural education systems, lack of awareness of the planning profession in Ireland,... and in practice later on too, it can sometimes take young architects, years to even realise that a planning authority exists,... you can spend too much of your career as an architect, completely avoiding the issue. Then when suddenly, you do discover the existence of all this work by planners and the code or regulations they compile,... Architects are often horrified, that so much work has gone on, without their knowing more about it.
I feel this problem must be particular in some way to Ireland - I even hear mature Irish architects often, offering a very poor opinion of Irish planners - perhaps based on ignorance, rather than understanding and appreciation. Planning code, is the kind of stuff, that seems to fry an Irish Architect's brain, far too easily. Mostly from a total lack of exposure to it, in their daily lives. You see all the unfortunate implications of this, in crucial and sensitive sites in Dublin city now, being 'planned out', as it were, by planning consultants rather
than architects. Architecture in Ireland, is really now, at a critical 'low' ebb, perhaps the lowest in centuries. They don't seem to know how
to drive out of this rut either.
I went a lot into the idea of code and it's potential to be beautiful on the thread I linked. One particular project we had to do in college, I well remember, was on the Aran Islands. The project was supervised by an architect, who really did have an interest in the 'synergy' of planning and architecture. We looked at the environment of the Aran Islands and it's field system, which, in photographs I always, see, is like a highly regulated code. It was most probably, a code, that everyone must have agreed upon, as the best way to 'survive' in such a brutal and harsh environment. I guess, that is why she tried to make the point to us young architects, that the Aran Islands was so special, in a similar way, to how I talk about Westmoreland Street as a laboratory for Irish Planners. The trouble was, I think, most of the young architecture students brains, did 'fry' on the Aran Islands project - as this notion of living in a 'coded' landscape, such as the Aran Island, rocked our naive little sense of security, in the containment of a profession, a little too much. Later though, we did try to experiment, on some projects for the Dublin Docklands, in which we attempted to create 'sustainable' environments, by generating some kind of rule, or code-making, for development 'to simply happen' rather than designating it, as in the case of a Master Plan.
Similar examples have been offeredy by Frank Taylor from the planning tradition, here at Archiseek, about how Georgian Squares, were really an initial 'rule' that some developer laid out, and everyone just had to follow that rule of using a standard plot and build all around the edges of this square. But just look at the sophistication, embedded in that code
for development. It doesn't specify, the usual 'Turnkey' approach, as used in so many Irish Master Planned projects nowadays. But rather, an approach, where the whole design, management and resources for a project, are embedded into the development of the site, from the beginning. Rather than just getting some humungous bank draft, of 'Easy-Credit' for the construction stage costs. While I did speak on the linked thread, of humans being the 'designers' of everything in the environment,... I am also aware, that code itself can create objects of beauty, just like the computer programmers believe,... and furthermore, that a programmer who believes in his/her inate ability to create objects of beauty, will indeed create much better code source. Unfortunately, I think that code has been abused in the current context of Irelands expansion, as much, or perhaps more
than design has been. Like these bits of malware, such as 'pedestrianisation' which are used with such abandon and disregard these days. When you compare this with the brute industrial strength of the Georgian's building code, the difference becomes very apparent, how weak and awful ours really does look now. The arguments were raised on the radio talk show lately, about Section 22, tax designated development, being 'all about the block' - which speaks of a problem in the code - of it's lack of granularity.
A lot of code and planning in the environment these days, is not fine grained enough. You need Architects, firmly embedded into the whole process, of compiling your code, in order to benefit from the said granularity, of the end product. When you do not have
that important input, at any stage in the process, the code still gets written in some fashion. But, it is clearly visible now, when you compare treatments of Henry Street, relative to Parnell Street, or Moore Street relative to either
of those two streets. This is really why
I wanted to 'introduce' this debate on code and the environment we live in, as a part of the Westmoreland Street thread,... because we have a historical legacy of being capable of the creation of some very good environments here in Ireland, in the distant past,... it is just a problem nowadays, that neither the Architectural, nor the Planning tradition is sophisticated enough, to fully interpret the sophistsication of the older models. Be it, the Aran Islands inhabitation system, the Georgian Street or the Irish town and village. Sure planners can assimilate some of it, the Architects manage to understand a little more, but without a proper working synergy, of the two
traditions, any chance of a total synthesis, is unavailable. It has all got badly garbled somewhere, in the current mess of distinct traditions, distinct professionals and distinct 'forking' of the source stream. Finally, I feel that this lack of acceptance, of either one's presence, at either side of the great divide, is the worst thing that could have happened for the environment here in Ireland. Architects thinking, nothing special can come out of the code,... while planners being guilty, of 'scripting' things very badly at times, and excluded too much of the design problem, which we need human eyes to see. Remember, the rallying cry of the open source software movement, that 'given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow'. Just like silicon intelligence will some day require full senses in order to learn. The Planning code right here in Ireland, will need that too, in the form of Architects. One has to go back to Georgian times here in Ireland, to find a healthy working synergy, between planning and architecture, one that we seem to have 'lost' in the meantime.
I will just cap off here, with a description from Rebel Code, of a nearly disasterous 'forking' of the Linux code development project,.. a row that exploded publically, on the kernel source code mailing list.
Brian O' Hanlon.
Large scale forking is generally regarded as a kind of fratricidal civil war, the worst thing that can happen to a hacker community and to be avoided at all costs. Forking is quite different from the ideological differences that exist between the supporters of, say, the original free software movement and the newer open source; it is not only possible but common for people from both sides to work together on a single project. In effect, there may be a rainbow of ideologies involved in a given project. A fork, however, is an either/or matter, and unless the two opposing camps manage to effect a coming together, a process called 'healing the fork,' the divergence between them is likely to grow and the gulf become ever more unbridgeable.
One of the most famous forks in the free software world took place in 1993, not in Linux but in Emacs, when a group of hackers decided to start their own Emacs development line, separate from the work led by Richard Stallman. Among the leaders of this group was Jamie Zawinski, who had been involved in free software for many years and was one of the senior figures at the Freeware Summit in April 1998.
The following is a descriptive re-creation of the 'fork' that almost occured in the Linux community, back in 1998.
What had begun as a simple question about an obscure bug some forty hours earlier had turned into an increasingly heated argument raging across two continents and ten time zones. Suddenly, Linus has had enough. First, he fires off a shot directed specifically at Dave Miller:
Quite frankly, I just got very fed up with a lot of people. David, when I come back, I expect a public apology from you.
And then adds one for everybody else:
Others, look youself in the mirror, and ask youself whether you feel confident that you could do a better job maintaining this. If you can, get back to me, and maybe we can work something out.
In one last message a couple of hourse later, he first explains why he dropped Ted Ts'o's patches (and so, by implication, of everyone else's, too), and then issues one dangerously exasperated statement of annoyance:
Note that if some person cannot be bothered to re-submit, i don't WANT the patch. Anybody who is not willing to take that much care of his patches that he can't maintain it while I haven't accepted it, I don't want to accept patches from anyway.
The basic point is that I get a_lot_of patches, and I have to prioritize my work. That means that I require people who send me patches to keep at it until they make it into the kernel.
Quite frankly, this particular discussion (and others before it) has just made me irritable, and is ADDING pressure. Instead, I'd suggest that if you have a complaint about how I handle patches, you think about what I end up having to deal with for five minutes.
Go away, people. Or at least don't Cc me any more. I'm not interested, I'm taking a vacation, and I don't want to hear about it any more. In short, get the hell out of my mailbox.
From these exchanges, nobody could mistake the dire state of relationships between the key hackers on the kernel mailing list.
A few hours after Linus's final posting, Eric Raymond added his commments on the situation.
People, these are the early-warning signs of potential burnout. Heed them and take warning. Linus's stamina has been astonishing, but it's not limitless. All of us (and yes, that means you too, Linus) need to cooperate to *reduce* the pressure on the cricitcal man in the middle, rather than increasing it.
He points out one central fact for the Linux development process:
Linus is god until *he* says otherwise. Period. Flaming him doesn't help, and isn't fair - and you need to have been the key man in dvelopment of a must-never-fail piece of software before you even have standing to *think* about doing it.
But Raymond is also unsparing in his analysis of the broader effects of what has been happening:
Patches get lost. Patches get dropped. Patches get missed. This is bad and wasterful in itself, but it has a secondary effect that is worse - it degrades the feedback loop that makes the whole process work.... The effect of rising uncertainty as to whether good work will make it in at all is certainly worse than that. Anybody who starts to believe they're throwing good work down a rat hole will be *gone*. If that happens too many times, we're history.
In other words, Linus's dropping patches too often was not just inconvenient but undermined the very mechanism that powered the open source development model.
Raymond concludes with a warning couched in characteristically graphic and appropriate terms:
These risks are bound to get worse over time because both system complexity and the developer pool are increasing. And the critical man in the middle - the 'Jesus nut' in our helicopter - has a stress limit. We're going to hit that limit someday. Maybe we're pushing it now.
I've been worrying about this problem for months. (I'm our anthropologist, remember? It's part of my *job* to notice how the social machinery works and where the failure modes are.) I was reluctant to say anything while it was still theoretical, but I take the above as a neon-lit warning that it's damn well not any more.