Which "certain kind of 'design environment'," have I grown up in now?
And what are the "patterns and thinking" of which I have absorbed too much?
At a guess, I suspect I have more design training and familiarity with the architectural side (as you see it) than many architects working today. Also, my suggestions come from first-hand experience of the planning consultancy side rather than from any 'design environment' as you might believe.
Anyone who has come through the system, of being trained in one of the built environment professions - planning, surveying, highway engineering, architecture, landscape design etc, cannot be blamed for having absorbed the terriorial behaviouralisms of those organisations. Their disks have been corrupted even before the program could be installed. To really claim to know anything about urban design, I think that one has to go beyond the mere 'fenced off' mentality of those professions. Slowly but surely those groupings are losing their relevance and their meaning for modern society and ways of living.
I can't even really dispute your forking argument as I disagree fundamentally with your characterisation of planning as some sort of 'code'. As I said before on the thread you linked above, it's not simply a mechanistic button-pushing, number-crunching exercise.
It is often a mechanistic button pushing exercise. Pedestrianisation is an example of rubbish code created by people who don't deserve to be termed urbanists. Like take the xmas shopping environment at the moment - how is that a good environment? You go into a department store, which messes up the legibility of the internal circulation on purpose, so that when you get so exhausted you impulse buy, because you are so tired and confused, and surrounded by things with price tags on them. People should be given choice.
Look at the mechanistic way that Dublin Bus drivers pull into Belfield campus in the mornings and use it as a bus parking depot? If you stand at the west entrance to Belfield any morning, you can count roughly a bus every 10 seconds pulling in the university, with two or three students on it. This strange phenomena created out of two pieces of code: firstly, a decision to build a university in the middle of a whole load of surface car parking, and second a vehicular transport system like buses riding along motorways ajacent to a university campus. We are surrounded by an environment created by different bits of code, which don't fit very well together at the edges. Everyone is trying to build their own sofeware, but there is no overall operating system.
Whatever similarities either profession has or had to some 19th century ideal, such a romantic notion has long since passed into history.
I don't think it a romantic notion actually. It is assumed that no one individual can know all of the knowledge there is to know. But David Deutsch has looked at that perception and challenged it in the first chapter of 'The Fabric of Reality'. According to Deutsch, We are not moving towards fragmentation of knowledge, but rather away from it. All of the professions have indeed been organised around this notion, of greater and greater fragmentation. It was founded upon the believe that no one individual could possibly know everything. But as we move towards better and better explanations of the world, and how it functions, there is less and less need for 'many theories'.
Soon, you will have less and less theories, and maybe eventually, have one grand theory of everything. One example Deutsch gives, was when numbers changed from being Roman numerals to the Arabic system of decimals. Prior to that, the two systems for ordering numbers co-existed together, even though one was more cumbersome than the other. But when people realised the virtues of using decimal, there was simply no use for two numbering systems. In our understanding of the world, and the various people tasked with its design and building - we are moving away from specialists and towards generalists believe it or not.
I urge you to investigate that chapter in David Deutsch's book for yourself sometime.
I'm not arguing that we should have infinite sub-groups in a Babel-like cacophony. You seem to think that I'm putting this option forward only to further fragment the built environment field(s), whereas the point I made above was to do with the removal of some key tasks from biased actors, nothing more than that (a bias that would be more common in a world that lacked the necessary professional separation, IMHO).
If you believe that, then you are moving in exactly the direction, those biased actors want you to move. The reason 'biased actors' became 'biased actors' of any importance in the first place - was because they learned to melt together all of the different traditions. Separate headings like planning, surveying, highway engineering, architecture and landscape design. The real people who are supposed to own all of the talent, have become stuck and bottled up inside these 'cages' that they have created for themselves. I would compare it to when Bruce Lee managed to integrate all of the different martial arts, which grew over the centuries. Of course the various ancient martial arts traditions didn't like that either. They threatened to take his life in fact, they were so perturbed by his teaching of this new 'unified' way of looking at martial arts.
It is possible for different professions to have different areas of expertise but still to be able to communicate effectively with each other. Doctors and nurses, drivers and mechanics, solicitors and barristers to name just some off the top of my head.
Not true, as my example of pedestrianisation, shopping, dublin bus transport system and location of universities points out - everyone is busy compiling their own software. The IBM 360 project in the 1960s, was a very ambitious project in its day. What is did was, write one operating sytem, that could run across all of the IBM computer systems. That was the first time, this was ever done. It created a platform for the computer industry in the United States, that allowed it to thrive for decades afterwards. We need the IBM 360 project, for the planning and environmental design of this country. We will not get it, as long as everyone continues to exist within their own little 'product' groups. See 'The Mythical Man Month' by Frederick Brooks, published by O'Reilly for more information on writing good resilient code. Frederick was the architect and project manager on the IBM 360 operating system.
I will quote something here, from the Urban Design Group website, http://www.udg.org.uk
, Issue 85. I think the book written by by Kelvin Campbell and Rob Cowan, is coming from much the same ideas and viewpoint as those expressed in the David Deutsch book, The Fabric of Reality.
Despite the fact that all of these people are shaping our towns and cities, few will receive any training in how complex urban places work.
Imagine if the medical profession trained its members to be specialists first. Some would become brain surgeons; some ear, nose and throat specialists; some paediatricians. A few would go on to do further training in the basics of physiology. Such people would be able to make the proud claim that, for example, they were not only expert in brain surgery, but that they also understood how the blood circulated and what lungs were for. The idea is crazy, of course. Such a profession would have dead bodies on its hands. But that is how the UKâ€™s built environment professions are trained. We have dead places.
I quoted some more of that Kelvin Campbell and Rob Cowan book here: http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=4463
As I said, the real trouble with Archiseek, is that is isolated into its own little world - and many parallel debates are taking place not so far away from Archiseek discussion forum, but we tend not to listen to them quite enough. That is one of my few and biggest criticism of the Archiseek discussion forum concept in general, btw.
I find it oddd that, on the one hand, you extol the virtues of efficiency, while on the other hand you seem wedded to the anti-specialisation argument. Don't you see this as contradictory?
There is a modern fascination for design by consensus and collaboration. Which has been fueled by technologies like email and personal computers. But there are also many pitfalls to look out for. One person should define the components of the project. One person should define clean interfaces for constrained collaboration. Because most of the 'bugs' in the system cluster at those interfaces. Like the phenomenon, of Dublin Bus making University College Dublin into their own private bus park.
Brian O' Hanlon.