Self systems

Lecture two, intense day with lots of information and groupwork. Groupwork, or recap the theories in practice is a pleasant way to let the information sink in. Looking at the Allen, Tainter and Hoekstra diagram (average return, figure 1), and comparing it to the Holling flow diagram (figure 4), I understand that ‘all good things come to an end’. In ecosystems resources run out naturally, after which a certain development takes place whitch eiter subsitutes the need, or eliminates the demand. What slightly puzzles me is why, as developed, highly intelligent, forseeing creatures seem to be unable to act upon a coming shortage, or even total depletion. Why do we need to run towards an end, before we decide to act upon it.

Elinor Olstrom explains in ‘Beyond markets and states: Polycentric governance of complex economic systems’ that her research has shown that police systems in larger cities do not work better, even less good, than the forces in smaller cities. When systems are larger, information takes longer to reach the working level. Also the example of the irrigation system shows this. The farmers’ systems performed much better than the governmentals’ systems. Despite fancy equipment and undoubdetly loads of research. Topdown system failing, trial and error flourishing.

Shortly, the smaller the cycle, and the shorter the relative distance between actors, the smoother the system works. If I take a look at myself, making a decision, it takes effect straight away. The result might come with a slight delay, but thinking = deciding = acting.

On the groupwork, learning buildings, remediation of greenfield. At one point, industry as we knew it some decades ago was at it’s peak. Factorybuildings and industrial areas were built and developed. As we have nog passed the point of ‘depletion’ and are in the ‘release’ phase, we have ended up with a lot of empty factorybuildings and industrial areas. What to do now. Leave it like it is, and built some more? Should we ignore what was created? Or take a close look, and value the property for what it’s worth? Work out the difficulties and redesign our industrial heritage. Let’s teach some buildings, and hopefully some influential (political?) people, what amazing possibilities there are. Although the long way might not be the path of least resistance, and the design will ask for specific solutions with each new subject, costs might rise higher than when we close our eyes for the problem. The loop will close at one point though, and not acting now will make it a very negative backfiring heritage. Sometimes the question isn’t whether you can afford to do something, but whether you can afford nót to do something.

Disturbing the eco-system with polluting industries has damaged the loop, or perhaps accelerated some trajectories. Consumer needs created this threat on nature. Whether consumer needs were created by supply, or the supply was created to fulfill the demand, the remains are there. We must now make a virtue of necessity, and pick up where we left the building.

What do you think?

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