Designing Out of Difficulty
May 10, 2006 at 1:04 am #708616garethaceParticipant
Technology is failing us, making things more difficulty to do than the opposite.
Organise situations, so that people have to deal with people, not the usual clunky machines.
Systems are often designed unintentionally, the go unseen, but they do often govern outcomes.
We need to design macroscopes.
A macroscope is some way to look at the sum total of all the little things that we do that have big consequences.
For example, using the energy in a building.
When you add all the things up, you realise cities and buildings consume gigantic quantities of energy in a very wasteful way.
If you could have some sort of a dashboard on a building or a city, that added all of these things up together. That gave you a quick easy to read count of all these things that are happening, then I believe we would change our behaviour.
We need dashboards on a city that allow us to see the big picture.
Designing out of difficulty, John Thackera, author of the book, ‘In the Bubble’ was interviewed here:
Just wonder if Dublin and many Irish towns need to do just that, design themselves out of difficulty.
My favourite bit in the interview, a truck that goes around town shouting, ‘Bring out your Dead Electronics’.
Smaller cities are getting together in clubs. We don’t all need to have a football stadium, we don’t all need to have an airport, we don’t all need to have a sewage works. Why don’t we look at the larger components of a larger city, share those between us and make sure we have very well organised public transport connections in this bigger area. So that everyone can benefit from those facilities. Cities are getting together and making bigger entities out of the little bits. Economising and not trying to reproduce every single little function for themselves.
The real creativity is not found in design or planning offices anymore, it is rather found at a more ‘grass-roots’ level. Professions like planning and architecture have become sealed boxes.
In an networked economy, variety, density and interaction are success factors. But the way we organise things now, the potential benefits of edge effects are designed out, not in. Most of us live and work in sealed off boxes that, a company, a university, a profession. We work within communities, not between them. Stuck inside organisations that perpetuate divisions between domains, and that isolate knowlege from the context in which it is to be used. We become less competent at tackling complex and multi-dimensional social questions. If our connections to the edge are inadequate we find it hard to figure out what people will really need and end up pushing products that they don’t.
Brian O’ Hanlon.
May 11, 2006 at 12:48 am #777659garethaceParticipant
What will life be like when our growing economy overshoots its carrying capacity, degrades its resource base, and collapses?
A gripping description of this more-likely-than-not outcome is included in a British government report about Intelligent Infrastructure Futures.
Brian O’ Hanlon.
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