recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : christopheralexander   36

Local Area Network
"Inspired by grassroots independent publishing, we will collectively build an online publication within our local area network. We will each contribute a page to this publication, exploring what it might mean to reintroduce a sense of locality to our networks. These contributions might take the form of manifestos, essays, proposals, recipes, or personal corners of the net.

Special thanks to Michèle Champagne, Garry Ing, Greg J. Smith

Visit dat:// on Beaker.


Thursday, August 23

• 10:30–11:00 — Mindy talks about Artist as Networker
• 11:30–12:00 — Jon talks about p2p and time

Friday, August 24

• 09:30–10:00 — Coffee
• 10:30–10:45 — Exercise 1: Browsing
• 10:45–11:00 — Exercise 2: Profiling
• 11:00–12:30 — Exercise 3: Speed Dialoguing
• 12:30–14:00 — Lunch
• 14:00–14:30 — Exercise 3 Recap: Network Circle
• 14:30–15:30 — Group Discussion
• 15:30–16:00 — Tutorial: Dat and Beaker
• 16:00–17:00 — Reading Discussion

Saturday, August 25

• 09:30–10:00 — Coffee
• 10:00–10:15 — Introduce prompt and examples of grassroots publishing
• 10:15–12:15 — Initial brainstorm
• 12:15–12:30 — Introduce statement: A _____ that _____.
• 12:30–14:30 — Lunch
• 14:30–14:45 — Tutorial: Beaker APIs
• 14:45–17:00 — Begin building personal webpages
• 17:00–18:00 — Table crits

Sunday, August 26

• 09:30–10:00 — Coffee
• 10:00–10:30 — Tutorial: CSS to Print
• 10:30–12:30 — Continue building personal webpages
• 12:30–13:30 — Lunch
• 13:30–15:30 — Continue building personal webpages
• 15:30–16:30 — Begin printing
• 16:30–18:00 — Final Presentations


Day 1

A series of micro-exercises that create a word bank about each participant. As a group, we will discuss the current state of online communities and speculate on the type of content and interactions we would like to see on new networks.

• Exercise 1: Browsing — A public reading of each participant's past 7 browser searches. Collect 7 keywords.
• Exercise 2: Profiling — List 7 keywords of yourself from the perspective of an algorithm.
• Exercise 3: Speed Dialoguing — A 3-minute conversation in pairs, after which a single keyword must be selected. Continue for 1.5 hours until every possible pair has been created.
• Exercise 3 Recap — One person picks a conversation, reads the respective keyword, and briefly describes how it was selected. The corresponding person selects another conversation, and the process repeats until every person has been selected.

◦ Seita - Rory — bone to bone
◦ Rory - Mike — co-sin
◦ Mike - Stephanie — Russian ketchup
◦ Stephanie - Matt — Craigslist Roommates
◦ Matt - Timur — house plant
◦ Timur - Cyrill — Fleur & Manu
◦ Cyrill - Cezar — Santa Claus
◦ Cezar - Davis — Park Slope
◦ Davis - Taulant — textiles
◦ Taulant - Kenton — the nine
◦ Kenton - Omar — Loblaws
◦ Omar - Derrick — The Wire
◦ Derrick - Sam P — mesh network
◦ Sam - Ysabel — Jane the Virgin
◦ Ysabel - Brian H — train commute
◦ Brian H - Sam G — Annie Albers
◦ Sam G - Josh — fern
◦ Josh - Julia — nomadic / travel
◦ Julia - John C — running
◦ John C - Brian S — bedtime
◦ Brian S - Allison Parrish — adjunct (at NYU)
◦ Allison P - Florence — mukbang
◦ Florence - Mubashir — self taught
◦ Mubashir - Javid — Mexican food
◦ Javid - Seita — Japan

Some notes from Cyrill, Sam P, Tau

Based on all of the harvested keywords, begin to speculate what the tenants of a new online community might be. What are the values? What are the goals? How do we want to be represented? Do we want it public? Do we want it private? Do we want to create something which reflects the individuals, the community, or both?

• Group Discussion
◦ Internet personas and self-representation
◦ Imperfect algorithms
◦ Passive/Active consumption
• Reading Discussion
*For excerpts and files, please visit dat:// on Beaker.
◦ Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
◦ Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think”
◦ A Pattern Language, “Mosaic of Subcultures”
◦ Ted Nelson, Computer Lib/Dream Machine
◦ Maarten Hajer & Arnold Reijndorp, In Search of a New Public Domain
◦ Kev Bewersdorf, “Reversing the Flow of Internet Expansion”
◦ Laurel Schwulst, “My website is a shifting house next to a river of knowledge. What could yours be?”

Day 2 and 3

Inspired by grassroots independent publishing, we will collectively build an online publication within our local area network. We will each contribute a page to this publication, exploring what it might mean to reintroduce a sense of locality to our networks. These contributions might take the form of manifestos, essays, proposals, recipes, or personal corners of the net.

• Some references
*For all references, please visit dat:// on Beaker.
◦ Whole Earth Catalog
◦ New Woman's Survival Guide
◦ Dome Books 1 & 2
◦ Autoprogettazione
◦ Computer Lib/Dream Machine
◦ Inflato Cookbook
◦ How to Build Your Own Living Structures
• Statement: A _____ that _____.
◦ A proposal for good gossip (Mike)
◦ A text that strengthens from collective readership (Brian H)
◦ An algorithm that gives you 9 friends (Cezar)
◦ A manifesto that overcrowds until reaching illegibility (Seita)
◦ A website that keeps you warm (Davis)
◦ A drawing scripture decoded for its disciples (Derrick)
◦ A local guide to hypnosis (Julia)
◦ A series of short stories with multiple outcomes (Javid)
◦ A manual to close down the street (John C)
◦ An example of a structured format that collects items for sharing (Kenton)
◦ A speculative source of value (Omar)
◦ An interface to fill the peer-to-peer web with procedurally-generated nonsense (Allison)
◦ A flag to rule (Cyrill)
◦ A tutorial for creating a dark aesthetic (Rory)
◦ A narrative that encourages people to unfollow others (Florence)
◦ A text that shows the value of collective, unified thought (Josh)
◦ A space to give more than I receive (Sam G)
◦ A reading experience for slow life (Matthew)
◦ A set of directions that takes you on a blind date (Stephanie)
◦ An acknowledgment of the context in which the internet operates and this space exists (Mubashir)
◦ A service that maps connected peers (Sam P)
◦ A dedicated day for tidying your network presence (Tau)
◦ An interface that promotes continuous real life interactions (Timur)
◦ A page that reconsiders “local area network” through neighbourhood civic infrastructures (Brian S)

Some Projects


View all projects on Beaker Browser at
dat:// .


Steph, A website for a blind date


Brian H, A text that strengthens from collective readership
Download A-B-Z-Times.ttf


Mubashir, An acknowledgment of the context in which the internet operates and this space exists


Sam P, A service that maps connected peers


Florence, A narrative that encourages people to unfollow others



Photos by Garry Ing"
mindyseu  jürglehni  jongacnik  p2p  p2pweb  beakerbrowser  dat  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage  janejacobs  vannevarbush  tednelson  maartenhajer  arnoldreijndorp  kevbewersdorf  laurelschwulst  2018  local  grassroots  publishing  p2ppublishing  web  webdev  webdesign  garrying  michèkechampagne  gregsmith  wholeearthcatalog  manifestos  survivalguide 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Making the Garden by Christopher Alexander | Articles | First Things
"Up until that time, I had accepted the academic, positivistic, scientific philosophy and practice of my youth. I had been trained in physics and ­mathematics, and assumed, virtually as part of my educational birthright, that these scientific disciplines could be relied on, and that I should not step outside the ­intellectual framework that they provided. But to solve the practical and conceptual problems in architecture, I now embarked on a study of a series of concepts that, though formulated more or less within scientific norms, nevertheless opened ways of ­thinking that were highly challenging to the academic ­establishment:

• Wholeness
• Value, as an objective concept
• Unfolding wholeness
• Connection with the inner self
• Centers
• Structure-preserving transformations
• Degrees of life

I introduced these concepts and a few others only because I found them essential to the task of thinking clearly about the life of buildings. Yet they were almost undefinable within the terms of contemporary scientific thinking. This was true to such a degree that even raising these topics as matters for discussion in professional architectural circles caused raised eyebrows, obstructive reactions, and little sincere effort to get to the bottom of the issues."

"I would like to summarize our work by explaining this new kind of empirical complex in the following way. In any part of what we call nature, or any part of a building, we see, at many levels of scale, coherent entities or centers, ­nested in each other, and overlapping each other. These ­coherent entities all have, in varying degree, some quality of “life.”

For any given center, this quality of life comes about as a result of cooperation between the other living centers at several scales, which surround it, contain it, and appear within it. The degree of life any one center has depends directly on the degrees of life that appear in its associated centers at these different scales. In short, the life of any given entity depends on the extent to which that entity had ­unfolded from its own previous wholeness, and from the wholeness of its surroundings.

When one contemplates this phenomenon soberly, it is hard to imagine how it comes about. But what is happening is, in effect, that life appears, twinkling, in each entity, and the cooperation of these twinkling entities creates further life. You may view this phenomenon as ordinary. Or you may think of it as the Buddhists of the Hua-Yen canon did, when they viewed it as the constantly changing God-like tapestry that is God, and from which life comes."

"My life began with childlike faith. After then going through the dark forests of positivistic science, to which I gladly gave myself for so many years, I was finally able, through contemplation of the whole, to emerge into the light of day with a view of things that is both visionary and empirical.

It is a view that has roots in faith, and from it builds bridges of scientific coherence towards a new kind of visionary faith rooted in scientific understanding. This new kind of faith and understanding is based on a new form of observation. It depends for its success on our belief (as human beings) that our feelings are legitimate. Indeed, my experiments have shown that in the form I have cast them, feelings are more legitimate and reliable, perhaps, than many kinds of experimental procedure.

It is in this way that I was led from architecture to the intellectual knowledge of God. It was my love of architecture and building from which I slowly formed an edifice of thought that shows us the existence of God as a necessary, real phenomenon as surely as we have previously known the world as made of space and matter."

"What is new is the discovery that the so-called subjective, or inner, view of things is no less objective than the objective or mechanical view of things. When questions about the subjective are asked carefully, and in the right way, they are as reliable as the experiments of physics. This understanding has led to a new view of experiment that uses the human being as a measuring instrument and leads to reliable, shared results when properly done."

"As I have said, grasping the wholeness, awakening our ability to see it and to adhere to it—these are all profound and often difficult. In order to understand these operations from a practical and mathematical point of view, we need to be guided by an inner voice, and I believe that voice is tantamount to a vision of God. Thus, although it is formless and shapeless, nevertheless it is this vision of God that draws us on.

That new vision can become a new source of inspiration and motivation. I call it new not because it is at root genuinely new. Of course it is not—it is ancient. But it is entirely new in our era to take such a thing with full seriousness, and to be able to derive from it well-fashioned, scientifically endowed conceptions of what is needed to heal a given place. It will not be governed by money or profit; it will not be governed by social politics; it will be governed simply by the desire and firm intention to make beauty (which is to say, true life) around us.

Perhaps that sounds as though it is not solid enough for sober and enlightened action. Quite the opposite is true. The vision of God we hold in our inner eye, which we draw from the hills and mountains, from the cities, towers, and bridges, from the great oak trees, and the small and tender arbors, from the stones and tiles that have been carefully laid, it is that which is God, and which we encounter as we try to find a vision of God in the world. It guides us, as if with a certain hand, towards a future which is yet more beautiful.

The capacity to make each brick, each path, each baluster, each windowsill a reflection of God lies in the heart of every man and every woman. It is stark in its simplicity. A world so shaped will lead us back to a sense of right and wrong and a feeling of well-being. This vision of the world—a real, solid physical world—will restore a vision of God. Future generations will be grateful to us if we do this work properly.

Taking architecture seriously leads us to the ­proper treatment of tiny details, to an understanding of the unfolding whole, and to an understanding—mystical in part—of the entity that underpins that wholeness. The path of architecture thus leads inexorably towards a renewed understanding of God. This is an understanding true within the canon of every religion, not connected with any one religion in particular, something which therefore moves us beyond the secularism and strife that has torn the world for more than a thousand years."
2016  christopheralexander  architecture  urban  urbanism  design  wholeness  value  spirituality  god  religion  enlightenment  beauty  aesthetics  form  shape 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Building Flexible Design Systems // Speaker Deck
[via: "I’ve quoted from this deck more than any other this year. “No hypothetical situations” applies to all kinds of problem sets—not just design."

"(Also, one reason I love this framing is that it calls implicitly for close listening and observation to unearth hidden problems)" ]
design  webdesign  webdev  yeseniaperez-cruz  listening  obsrvation  systemsthinking  flexibility  systems  layout  scenarios  patterns  christopheralexander  donellameadows  audience  content  modularity  customization  designsystems 
november 2017 by robertogreco
The Art of Teaching
[via: "The slide deck for the workshop is superb. Such a great experience, so grateful to @tchoi8 & the other participants."

referencing also: "How I learn to build things. Something I created for @tchoi8’s Art of Learning workshop at @eyeofestival." ]

[video: "Absence is Presence with Distance"

"As an artist, I work with technology and narrative – formal and relational projects. As an activist, I examine personal and political – practice and praxis. As an educator, I create feedback between plastic and elastic – learning and unlearning. My talk is set at the dawn. We are waiting for the sun to rise and we are full of questions. What’s the role of an artist as an activist now? How can we critique oppressive systems that create the sense of ‘others’ based on ability and legal status? What’s kind of pedagogy can we experiment through alternative schools? How can we create a community among those who have nothing in common? By creating art, we can give form to our intentions, contribute to making the world we want to live in.

( For a companion posting to this talk visit: )]
taeyoonchoi  education  teaching  purpose  routine  ritual  silence  flow  conflict  communication  structure  nurture  authority  kojinkaratani  jean-lucnancy  community  howweteach  pedagogy  learning  howwelearn  eyeo2017  unlearning  curriculum  syllabus  sfpc  schoolforpoeticcomputation  art  craft  beauty  utility  generosity  sfsh  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  classideas  cv  reciprocity  gifts  kant  discretion  instruction  discipline  johndewey  bmc  blackmountaincollege  justice  annialbers  stndardization  weaving  textiles  making  projectbasedlearning  materials  progress  progressive  unschooling  deschooling  control  experimentation  knowledge  fabrication  buckminsterfuller  constructivism  constructionism  georgehein  habit  freedom  democracy  paulofreire  judithbutler  sunaurataylor  walking  christinesunkim  uncertainty  representation  intervention  speculation  simulation  christopheralexander  objectives  outcomes  learningoutcomes  learningobjectives  remembering  creativity  evaluation  application  analysis  understanding  emancipation  allankaprow  judychicago  s 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Wildflower Montessori

Wildflower is an innovative, open-source approach to Montessori learning. Its aim is to be an experiment in a new learning environment, blurring the boundaries between home-schooling and institutional schooling, between scientists and teachers, between schools and the neighborhoods around them. At the core of Wildflower are 9 principles that define the approach.

A growing number of shopfront Montessori lab schools have been started using the Wildflower approach. These schools are listed here.


Wildflower Montessori is the labor of love of our founder, Sep Kamvar. Unable to find a school which combined Montessori education, an inclusive family environment, and a small, responsive school size, Sep was inspired to create his own. A professor and scientist, Sep sought the support of experienced Montessori leaders to design the school and to identify ways in which the long-history of experimentation and scientific practice in Montessori could be linked to his research. The outcome is a collaborative team of Montessori experts, scientists and designers working together to create a child-centered learning experience.

After the first Wildflower school was created in January of 2014, there was intense interest in the school and the approach. This interest led us to open-source the model and help other family groups and teacher-leaders to create new Wildflower schools. Each teacher-leader at each Wildflower school serves on the board of at least one other Wildflower school, creating a community of schools that are linked by both a shared philosophy and a network of shared relationships. However, each school is autonomous and independently run, with no operational involvement from Sep or MIT. Sep currently serves as an advisor to the Wildflower Foundation, a foundation that was set up to support teacher-leaders at Wildflower schools."

[9 Principles]

1. An Authentic Montessori Environment: providing a peaceful, mixed-age, child-directed environment.

In identifying Montessori as our guide for Wildflower schools, we were drawn to the unique combination of a few factors. The Montessori Method emphasizes the potential of the child, if served well, to change the world. We valued its intrinsic respect for that potential, its promotion of peaceful communities, and its specific pedagogical structures. As a model which prioritizes the development of the individual child, we value the balance of Montessori's scientific approach to children's development and its assertion that childhood is a unique period of growth to be protected at its own pace.

2. A Shopfront, Neighborhood-nested Design:</strong> committed to remaining small, teacher-led, integrated in the community, and responsive to the needs of children

Inspired by the work of Christopher Alexander, Wildflower schools are shopfront schools that consist of a single classroom, with the faculty both teaching in the classroom and administrating the school. By preserving a small scale, teachers are able to make decisions in their day-to-day teaching that respond to the intellectual needs of the children, and are able to make decisions on a school-wide basis that respond to their own vision and the contextual needs of the families. The shopfront model also allows these communities to seamlessly integrate into neighborhoods. Children are visible in the community as they walk to and from school, to their local playground or garden, and to civic spaces that would otherwise be on-site in a larger institution.

3. A Lab School: serving as a research setting dedicated to advancing the Montessori Method in the context of the modern world.

Each of the Wildflower schools serves as a lab school to help us better understand and advance the Montessori Method, and to help us propose empirically-supported design for new materials. We seek to integrate modern technologies in observation and documentation without changing the concrete, didactic nature of the classroom itself. We further seek to refine the development of Montessori-consistent apparatuses that prepare children for the cognitive patterns of modern fluencies.

4. A Seamless Learning Community: blurring the boundaries of home-schooling and institutional schooling by placing high priority on parent education and giving parents and integral role in the classroom.

Wildflower schools look for ways in which children's home, school, and community environments can offer more seamless experiences, reflecting consistent perspectives on children's development and engaging them as authentic contributors in each setting. We believe that parents and families offer a knowledge about children which is equally important to the professional preparation of teachers, and seek opportunities for parent-knowledge to inform classroom practice and teacher-knowledge to inform the home.

5. An Artist-in-residence: bringing richness to the learning environment by giving the children opportunities to observe and interact with adults doing day-to-day creative work.

Because we believe that children learn best in environments that model lifelong learning and creativity, each Wildflower school engages an artist-in-residence. Each school offers their artist studio space in a place accessible to the children, where the children can see them doing the work of their lives. In exchange, artists offer their work back to the classroom weekly, teaching children about their craft and helping children to develop their own skills. Through the artists-in-residence program, we seek to increase the awareness of the inner lives of children available to artists of all kinds and to protect children's understanding that learning and creating can happen throughout their lives and beyond their formal school experiences.

6. A spirit of generosity: Reflecting a spirit of generosity to all stakeholders, to children, to parents, to those in need, and to the local community.

Often, schools are seen as a service relationship, with parents as customers, teachers as service-providers, and children as recipients of the service, to be filled with information and assessed. We see it differently -- we see that each constituency brings their special gift to one another. We see the teachers bring the gift of their love and skillfulness to the children and the parents, the parents bring the gift of nurturing and advancing the teachers in their practice and growth as teachers and leaders, and the children bring the gift of helping all of us see in a new way.&nbsp; Importantly, this spirit of gift extends beyond the walls of the school: each school seeks to bring their gifts to the broader community, by being involved in the local community, by making educational opportunities that are free to the public, and by reserving slots in our schools for those in need.

7. An Attention to Nature: emphasizing the nonseparation between nature and human nature through a unique living-classroom design and extensive time in nature.

It is both a contemporary imperative and an essential quality of our design that we think proactively about the impact of our work on the environment around us. By limiting the footprint of each school to a storefront, we necessarily limit the availability of private, outdoor space. Instead, we design the interior of the school to allow children to learn to care for their living environment and to surround them with abundant plant life. We site schools near to public play spaces and work with city partners to design sustainable urban gardens for which the school and neighborhood community can care. We carefully consider the materials used in the classroom and choose sustainable, nontoxic and earth-friendly options. Finally, we maintain nutritional standards that are earth-conscious and protect natural, healthful diets for children.

8. A Role in Shaping the Neighborhood: working with the community to improve local parks, streets, and establishments to create an urban environment that is healthier for children.

Wildflower schools should change the way their immediate communities function and, as a part of a larger network, change the nature of their entire cities. The integration of children and families into the daily fabric of the neighborhood, we believe, will influence the lives of other neighbors, the questions asked in other educational settings, and the priorities of policymakers. We implement, then, structures that make our work transparent to their communities and expand who we define as "stakeholders" to include more than just the families we serve. From opportunities for passers-by to stop and observe the classrooms to the presence of children in local eateries, from the public gardens we create and tend, to the regular, open information sessions to inform our community about our work, we judge our approach not only by its influence on enrolled children and their families but on the city beyond our rolls.

9. An Open-source Design and Decentralized Network: advancing an ecosystem of independent Wildflower schools that mutually support one another.

Finally, we recognize that issues of scale -- including increased centralized decision-making, larger administrative bureaucracies and operational overhead -- decrease the autonomy available to individual classrooms. At the same time, we value the practical benefits of a community of learners and professionals working together, and the economic efficiencies that can arise from shared resources. To balance those concerns, each school sees itself as a node in a network, maintaining autonomy in school-level decision-making while able to access the resources of the network when those resources are useful and compelling to the school. Reciprocally, each school also sees itself not only as responsible for its own operations, but as responsible for helping other schools in the network, and for helping other interested family groups to start their own Wildflower schools."
schools  education  small  microschools  montessori  via:aimee  opensource  homeschool  christopheralexander  labschools  networks  community  art  generosity  urban  cities  lcproject  sfsh  openstudioproject  decentralization  sepkamvar 
march 2017 by robertogreco
Learning Gardens
[See also: ]

"Learning Gardens is a meta-organization to support grassroots non-institutional learning, exploration, and community-building.

At its simplest, this means we want to help you start and run your own learning group.

At its best, we hope you and your friends achieve nirvana."

"Our Mission

It's difficult to carve out time for focused study. We support learning groups in any discipline to overcome this inertia and build their own lessons, community, and learning styles.
If we succeed in our mission, participating groups should feel empowered and free of institutional shackles.

Community-based learning — free, with friends, using public resources — is simply a more sustainable and distributed form of learning for the 21st century. Peer-oriented and interest-driven study often fosters the best learning anyway.

Learning Gardens is an internet-native organization. As such, we seek to embrace transparency, decentralization, and multiple access points."


Joining us largely means joining our slack. Say hello!

If you own or participate in your own learning group, we additionally encourage you to message us for further information.


We try to use tools that are free, open, and relatively transparent.

Slack to communicate and chat.
Github and Google Drive to build public learning resources.

You're welcome to join and assemble with us on, which we use to find and collect research materials. In a way, Learning Gardens was born from this network.

We also use Notion and Dropbox internally."

"Our lovely learning groups:

Mondays [ ]
Mondays is a casual discussion group for creative thinkers from all disciplines. Its simple aim is to encourage knowledge-sharing and self-learning by providing a space for the commingling of ideas, for reflective conversations that might otherwise not be had.

Pixel Lab [ ]
A community of indie game devs and weird web artists — we're here to learn from each other and provide feedback and support for our digital side projects.

Emulating Intelligence [ ]
EI is a learning group organized around the design, implementation, and implications of artificial intelligence as it is increasingly deployed throughout our lives. We'll weave together the theoretical, the practical, and the social aspects of the field and link it up to current events, anxieties, and discussions. To tie it all together, we'll experiment with tools for integrating AI into our own processes and practices.

Cybernetics Club [ ]
Cybernetics Club is a learning group organized around the legacy of cybernetics and all the fields it has touched. What is the relevance of cybernetics today? Can it provide us the tools to make sense of the world today? Better yet, can it give us a direction for improving things?

Pedagogy Play Lab [ ]
A reading club about play, pedagogy, and learning meeting biweekly starting soon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

[ ]
monthly irl discussion. 4 reading, collaborating, presenting, critiquing, and hanging vaguely identity-oriented, creatively-inclined, internet-aware, structurally-experimental networked thinking <<<>>> intersectional thinking

Utopia School [ ]
Utopia School is an ongoing project that shares information about both failed and successful utopian projects and work towards new ones. For us, utopias are those spaces and initiatives that re-imagine the world in some crucial way. The school engages and connects people through urgent conversations, with the goal of exploring, archiving and distributing collective knowledge throughout this multi-city project.

A Pattern Language [ ]
Biweekly reading group on A Pattern Language, attempting to reinterpret the book for the current-day."

[See also: "Getting Started with Learning Gardens: An introduction of sorts"

"Hi, welcome to this place.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering where to start! Try sifting through some links on our site, especially our resources, Github Organization, and Google Drive.

If you’re tired of reading docs and this website in general, we’d highly recommend you join our lively community in real time chat. We’re using Slack for this. It’s great.

When you enter the chat, you’ll be dumped in a channel called #_landing_pad. This channel is muted by default so that any channels you join feel fully voluntary.

We’ve recently started a system where we append any ”Learning Gardens”-related channels with an underscore (_), so it’s easy to tell which channels are meta (e.g. #_help), and which are related to actual learning groups (e.g. #cybernetics).

Everything is up for revision." ]
education  learninggardens  learningnetworks  networks  slack  aldgdp  artschools  learning  howwlearn  sfsh  self-directed  self-directedlearning  empowerment  unschooling  deschooling  decentralization  transparency  accessibility  bookclubs  readinggroups  utopiaschool  apatternlanguage  christopheralexander  pedagogy  pedagogyplaylab  cyberneticsclub  emulatingintelligence  pixellab  games  gaming  videogames  mondays  creativity  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  ai  artificialintelligence  distributed  online  web  socialmedia  édouardurcades  artschool 
december 2016 by robertogreco
intimacy gradients - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"Pay attention to the links here: Tim Maly pointed me to this 2004 post by Christopher Allen that draws on the famous 1977 architectural treatise A Pattern Language to talk about online life.

Got all that?

The key concept is intimacy gradients. In a well-known passage from A Pattern Language the authors write,
The street cafe provides a unique setting, special to cities: a place where people can sit lazily, legitimately, be on view, and watch the world go by... Encourage local cafes to spring up in each neighborhood. Make them intimate places, with several rooms, open to a busy path, where people can sit with coffee or a drink and watch the world go by. Build the front of the cafe so that a set of tables stretch out of the cafe, right into the street.

That's the passage as quoted in the book's Wikipedia page. But if you actually look at that section of the book, you'll see that the authors place a great deal of emphasis on the need for the ideal street café to create intimacy as well as public openness. Few people want always to "be on view"; some people almost never do. Therefore,

In addition to the terrace which is open to the street, the cafe contains several other spaces: with games, fire, soft chairs, newspapers.... This allows a variety of people to start using it, according to slightly different social styles.

And "When these conditions are present" — all of these conditions, the full appropriate range of intimacy gradients — "and the cafe takes hold, it offers something unique to the lives of the people who use it: it offers a setting for discussions of great spirit — talks, two-bit lectures, half-public, half-private learning, exchange of thought."

Twitter actually has a pretty highly developed set of intimacy gradients: public and private accounts, replies that will be seen automatically only by the person you’re replying to and people who are connected to both of you, direct messages, and so on. Where it fails is in the provision of “intimate places”: smaller rooms where friends can talk without being interrupted. It gives you the absolute privacy of one-to-one conversations (DMs) and it gives you all that comes with “being on view” at a table that extends “right into the street,” where anyone who happens to go by can listen in or make comments; but, for public accounts anyway, not much in between.

And you know, if you’re using a public Twitter account, you can’t really complain about this. If you tweet something hoping that your friends will notice and respond, that’s fine; but you’re not in a small room with just your friends, you’re in a vast public space — you’re in the street. And when you stand in the street and make a statement through a megaphone, you can’t reasonably be offended if total strangers have something so say in reply. If you want to speak only to your friends, you need to invite them into a more intimate space.

And as far as I can tell, that’s what private Twitter accounts provide: a place to talk just with friends, where you can’t be overheard.

Now, private accounts tend to work against the grain of Twitter as self-promotion, Twitter as self-branding, Twitter as “being on view.” And if we had to choose, many of us might forego community for presentation. But we don’t have to choose: it’s possible to do both, to have a private and a public presence. For some that will be too much to manage; for others, perhaps for many others, that could be where Twitter is headed.

Okay, I’m done talking about Twitter. Coming up in the next week: book reports."
alanjacobs  2014  intimacygradients  apatternlanguage  christopheralexander  cities  twitter  society  sociology  internet  culture  architecture  space  public  private  privacy 
april 2016 by robertogreco
From AI to IA: How AI and architecture created interactivity - YouTube
"The architecture of digital systems isn't just a metaphor. It developed out of a 50-year collaborative relationship between architects and designers, on one side, and technologists in AI, cybernetics, and computer science, on the other. In this talk at the O'Reilly Design Conference in 2016, Molly Steenson traces that history of interaction, tying it to contemporary lessons aimed at designing for a complex world."
mollysteenson  2016  ai  artificialintelligence  douglasenglebart  symbiosis  augmentation  christopheralexander  nicholasnegroponte  richardsaulwurman  architecture  physical  digital  mitmedialab  history  mitarchitecturemachinegroup  technology  compsci  computerscience  cybernetics  interaction  structures  computing  design  complexity  frederickbrooks  computers  interactivity  activity  metaphor  marvinminsky  heuristics  problemsolving  kent  wardcunningham  gangoffour  objectorientedprogramming  apatternlanguage  wikis  agilesoftwaredevelopment  software  patterns  users  digitalspace  interactiondesign  terrywinograd  xeroxparc  petermccolough  medialab 
february 2016 by robertogreco
002_2 : by hand
"“Fake humans generate fake realities and then sell them to other humans, turning them into forgeries of themselves.” (Dick, 1978)

“…the reign of things over life….exiles from immediacy” (Zerzan, 2008b:39, 40)

Verbs become nouns[1], nouns acquire monetary equivalents (Bookchin, 1974:50) and being is exchanged for having (Vaneigem, 1967:chpt8). We no longer ‘garden’ or ‘play’ or ‘cycle’ (or even ‘know’ (Steigler, 2010; Zerzan, 2008b:41). The world is arranged so that we need not experience it (Zerzan, 2008b:40) so that we consume the image of living (Zerzan, 2003). Places exist only through the words that evoke them; their mere mention sufficient to give pleasure to those who will never experience them (Auge, 1995:95). The city of the fully industrialized they[2] ‘have’ (call their own) gardens and green space and cycling tracks; private toys, asphalt playgrounds and indoor play centers on the roofs of department stores at 1000 yen an hour per child plus extra for ‘food’ and parking[3]. All which are made ‘for’ them and ‘paid for’ with taxes by polluting corpo-governmental free enterprise. This vocabulary weaves the tissue of habits, educates the gaze and informs the landscape (Auge, 1995:108) while diminishing richness and working against perception (Zerzan, 2008b:45).

Now, space is stated in terms of a commodity[4] and claims are made in terms of competition for scarce resources (see Illich, 1973:56). The actor becomes the consumer, who gambles for perceived nouns[5]. This is a problem, because experience is not simply passive nouns but implies the ability to learn from what one has undergone (Tuan, 1977:9) – the (biological) individuality of organismic space seems to lie in a certain continuity of process[6] and in the memory by the organism of the effects of its past development. This appears to hold also of its mental development (Wiener, 1954:96, 101-2, see also Buckminster-Fuller, 1970) in terms of use, flexibility, understanding, adaptation and give.

“[The] city is not about other people or buildings or streets but about [..] mental structure.” (Ai Wei Wei (2011)

Primary retention is formed in the passage of time, and constituted in its own passing. Becoming past, this retention is constituted in a secondary retention of memorial contents [souvenirs] which together form the woven threads of our memory [mémoire]. Tertiary retention is the mnemotechnical exteriorization of secondary retentions. Tertiary retentions constitute an intergenerational support of memory which, as material culture, precedes primary and secondary retentions. Flows, Grammes. This layer increases in complexity and density over the course of human history leading to increasingly analytical (discretized) recordings of the flows of primary and secondary retentions (e.g. writing, numeration). Use (movement, gesture, speech, etc, the flows of the sensory organs) is a flow; a continuous chain, and learning consists of producing secondary use retentions but discretization leads to automation – analytically reproducible use as tertiary retention resulting in retentional grains (grammes) – functionalization, and abstraction from a continuum (from ‘Primary retention’ Stiegler, 2010: 8-11, 19, 31). Memories of memories, generic memories[7]. Result: Ever more complete control over individuals and groups who are made to feel that they do not adequately understand themselves – that they are inadequate interpreters of their own experience of life and environment[8].

The exteriorization of memory is a loss of memory and knowledge (Stiegler, 2010:29) – a loss of the ability to dig deep[9] and venture forth into the unfamiliar, and to experiment with the elusive and the uncertain (Tuan, 1977:9). Nothing is left but language, and a persistent yearning arising from one’s absence from the real world; Reductive. Inarticulate. (Zerzan, 2008b:44-5)."
play  gardening  aiweiwei  ivanillich  christopheralexander  murraybookchin  anarchism  anarchy  life  living  jacquesellul  remkoolhaas  zizek  richardsennett  johnzerzan  raoulvaneigem  reality  consumerism  society  pleasure  gardens  space  bernardstiegler  marcaugé  flows  grammes  yi-futuan  sace  commoditization  experience  buckminsterfuller  flexibilty  understanding  adaptation 
october 2015 by robertogreco Conversations in Critical Making: 6 Critique and Making
"GH: What useful things can be taken from the concept of critical design as established by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby?

AG: Critical design is a bit silly. Designers have always been great at branding, and this is no exception. Design is a fundamentally critical process from the get-go. That's what the design process means. Design is an iterative process in which one revisits ideas, refashions them, recalibrates them, and produces multiple versions. That's why people say "everyone is a designer" today. We live in the age when everyone is a curator, everyone is a DJ, and everyone is a designer. We need to take seriously the notion that, whereas a generation ago critique was more or less outside mainstream life, today critique is absolutely coterminous with the mainstream. Hence a designer might engage with a so-called critical design project on Monday, but on Tuesday produce client work for IKEA. It's normal.

GH: Do you have the same response to speculative design?

AG: I'm interested in communism. And love. And darkness. I'm interested in smashing the state. And the total elimination of petroleum. I'm interested in the end of racism. I'm interested in the next 44 presidents being women--fair is fair! Speculation is mostly harmless, I suppose. But speculative thinking has been affiliated with idealist philosophy and bourgeois thought for so long--think of Marx's aversion to Hegel--that it's difficult for me to see much hope there. I've said it many times before: we don't have a speculation deficit; we have a motivation deficit. We should keep imagining new worlds, yes absolutely! But it's supplemental. Any child can tell you how to make the world just and fair and joyful. This is not to denigrate the creative work of Dunne and Raby, who are very talented at what they do. But rather to direct the focus where it should aim. The problem is not in our imagination. The problem is in our activity."
alexandergalloway  garnethertz  speculativedesign  criticaldesign  communism  motivation  capitalism  economics  makers  making  makermovement  2015  anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  christopheralexander  geertlovink  matthewfuller  tizianaterranova  criticalartensemble  mckenziewark  guydebord  gilledeleuze  digitalculture  diy  culture  richardsennett  matthewcrawford  markfrauenfelder  phenomenology  karlmarx  kant 
august 2015 by robertogreco
The Lives of Children, by George Dennison
[See also Christopher Alexander (referencing Dennison and Paul Goodman's mini-schools): ]

"It is worth mentioning here that, with two exceptions, the parents of the children at First Street were not libertarians. They thought that they believed in compulsion, and rewards and punishments, and formal discipline, and report cards, and homework, and elaborate school facilities. They looked rather askance at our noisy classrooms and informal relations. If they persisted in sending us their children, it was not because they agreed with our methods, but because they were desperate. As the months went by, however, and the children who had been truants now attended eagerly, and those who had been failing now began to learn, the parents drew their own conclusions. By the end of the first year there was a high morale among them, and great devotion to the school.

We had no administrators. We were small and didn't need them. The parents found that, after all, they approved of this. They themselves could judge the competence of the teachers, and so could their children - by the specific act of learning. The parents' past experience of administrators bad been uniformly upsetting - and the proof, of course, was in the pudding: the children were happier and were learning. As for the children, they never missed them.

We did not give report cards. We knew each child, knew his capacities and his problems, and the vagaries of his growth. This knowledge could not be recorded on little cards. The parents found - again - that they approved of this. It diminished the blind anxieties of life, for grades had never meant much to them anyway except some dim sense of problem, or some dim reassurance that things were all right. When they wanted to know how their children were doing they simply asked the teachers.

We didn't give tests, at least not of the competitive kind. It was important to be aware of what the children knew, but more important to be aware of how each child knew what he knew. We could learn nothing about Maxine by testing Eléna. And so there was no comparative testing at all. The children never missed those invidious comparisons, and the teachers were spared the absurdity of ranking dozens of personalities on one uniform scale.

Our housing was modest. Ile children came to school in play-torn clothes. Their families were poor. A torn dress, torn pants, frequent cleanings - there were expenses they could not afford. Yet how can children play without getting dirty? Our uncleanliness standard was just right. It looked awful and suited everyone.

We treated the children with consideration and justice. I don't mean that we never got angry and never yelled at them (nor they at us). I mean that we took seriously the pride of life that belongs to the young - even to the very young. We did not coerce them in violation of their proper independence. Parents and children both found that they approved very much of this.

Now I would like to describe the school, or more correctly, the children and teachers. I shall try to bring out in detail three important things:

1) That the proper concern of a primary school is not education in a narrow sense, and still less preparation for later life, but the present lives of the children - a point made repeatedly by John Dewey. and very poorly understood by many of his followers.

2) That when the conventional routines of a school we abolished (the military discipline, the schedules, the punishments and rewards, the standardization), what arises is neither a vacuum nor chaos, but rather a new order, based first on relationships between adults and children, and children and their peers, but based ultimately on such truths of the human condition as these: that the mind does not function separately from the emotions, but thought partakes of feeling and feeling of thought, that there is no such thing as knowledge per se, knowledge in a vacuum, but rather all knowledge is possessed and must be expressed by individuals; that the human voices preserved in books belong to the real features of the world, and that children are so powerfully attracted to this world that the very motion of their curiosity comes through to us as a form of love; that an active moral life cannot be evolved except where people are free to express their feelings and act upon the insights of conscience.

3) That running a primary school - provided it be small - is an extremely simple thing. It goes without saying that the teachers must be competent (which does not necessarily mean passing courses in a teacher's college). Given this sine qua non, there is nothing mysterious. The present quagmire of public education is entirely the result of unworkable centralization and the lust for control that permeates every bureaucratic institution."

"For the twenty-three children there were three full-time teachers, one part-time (myself), and several others who came at scheduled periods for singing, dancing, and music.

Public school teachers, with their 30 to 1 ratios, will be aware that we have entered the realm of sheer luxury. One of the things that will bear repeating, however, is that this luxury was purchased at a cost per child a good bit lower than that of the public system, for the similarity of operating costs does not reflect the huge capital investment of the public schools or the great difference in the quality of service. Not that our families paid tuition (hardly anyone did); I mean simply that our money was not drained away by vast administrative costs, bookkeeping, elaborate buildings, maintenance, enforcement personnel, and vandalism (to say nothing of the costs hidden in those institutions which in a larger sense must be seen as adjuncts to the schools: houses of correction, prisons, narcotic wards, and welfare).

Our teacher/pupil ratio varied according to need. Gloria handled up to eleven children, ages five to eight. At least half of her children were just starting school, and were beautifully "motivated," as the educationists say. Motivated, of course, means eager, alive, curious, responsive, trusting, persistent; and it is not as good a word as any of these. They were capable of forming relationships and of pursuing real interests. Every child who came to us after several years in the public schools came with problems.

Susan Goodman, who taught the next group, ages eight to ten, usually had six or seven in her room. Two of these were difficult and required a great deal of attention. They got the attention, and they were the two (Maxine and Eléna) who of all the children in the school made the most spectacular progress academically. In a year and a half, Eléna, who was ten, went from first-grade work to advanced fourth; and let me hasten to say that Susan, like the other teachers, followed Rousseau's old policy of losing time. ("The most useful rule of education is this: do not save time, but lose it.") Eléna's lessons were very brief and were often skipped.

The remaining children, boys to the age of thirteen, had come to us in serious trouble of one kind or another. Several carried knives, all had been truants, José could not read, Willard was scheduled for a 600 school, Stanley was a vandal and thief and was on his way to Youth House. They were characterized, one and all, by an anxiety that amounted to desperation. It became clear to us very quickly to what an extent they had been formed by abuse and neglect. Family life was a factor for several, but all had had disastrous experiences in school, and with authorities outside of school, and with the racism of our society as a whole, and with poverty and the routine violence of violent streets. They were destined for environments of maximum control-prison in one form or another. How they fared in our setting of freedom may be interesting.

Some pupils, as Dr. Elliott Shapiro points out (Nat Hentoff's Our Children Are Dying is about Elliott Shapiro and the children of Harlem), require a one-to-one relationship. I worked with José on just that basis. At other times I took the boys in a group, or Mabel Chrystie (now Dennison) did, or they were divided between the two of us.

Even in so routine a matter as forming groups, the advantages of smallness are evident. We all knew the children fairly well and were able to match teacher with child. Gloria had had a great deal of experience with younger children, Mabel with specialized tutoring in the city system and with problem children in a free school setting. I had worked with severely disturbed children; and Susan Goodman, who had never taught before, came from a family of teachers and naturally asked for the children predisposed to studies.

Yet the final composition of the groups reflected the contributions of the children themselves. They, too, had a hand. And here is an excellent example of the kind of sructuring that arises when the wishes of the children are respected. Two of our most difficult pupils, Maxine and Vicente, actually placed themselves; and the truth is that we teachers could not have improved upon their solutions. ..."
georgedennison  small  tinyschools  minischools  paulgoodman  education  openstudioproject  learning  children  lcproject  1969  groupsize  classsize  teaching  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage 
august 2014 by robertogreco
It's Nice That : Bookshelf this week comes out of Brooklyn and the library of The Believer's online editor, Max Fenton
"Max Fenton is stalwart of and evangelist for all sorts of reading and writing experiences, both on and off screen (particularly A Book Apart and He is also the online editor of The Believer magazine – a literary vehicle for very long essays and book reviews, a length absolutely justified by the overwhelming goodness of the content.

With this is mind, his shortlist of literary cornerstones was never going to be a simple compilation – especially if you peruse his ongoing bibliography – but that said, it’s a great quintuplet of poetry and alternative titles from known authors, contemporary writers with a tech and design bent and a few honorary bedside book mentions…"
maxfenton  booklists  books  toread  walterbenjamin  nickharkaway  2012  frankchimero  johnberger  jackgilbert  rebeccasolnit  sheilaheti  wendywalker  henrywessells  christopheralexander  adamlevin  desmondmorris  lists 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Webstock '12: Erin Kissane - Little Big Systems on Vimeo
"It's really easy to understand the lure of small, artisanal projects that we can polish to a satin finish: they offer a sense of craftsmanship, a human scale for our work, and the chance to get something really *right*. But larger projects and bigger systems can often feel soulless and unsatisfying, even when we're excited by the causes and ideas behind them. So is there a way to work on an ambitious scale without losing the purpose and handcraftedness that makes more intimate gigs so much fun? (Hint: yes.)

Via the craft of content strategy and its intertwinglements with design and code, this talk follows the connections between making small-scale, handcrafted artifacts and designing big, juicy systems (editorial and otherwise) that encourage both liveliness and excellence."
publishing  apprenticeships  masters  craftsman'stime  time  slow  small  scale  handcrafted  artifacts  systems  systemsthinking  apatternlanguage  christopheralexander  design  contentstrategy  content  2012  webstock  webstock12  erinkissane  humanscale  craft  craftsmanship 
march 2012 by robertogreco
“I just got my Weegee + Barthes + Chris Alexander + IF + symbolic logic + narratology fancies tickled at once.” —Max Fenton at 2/19/12 7:39 PM

(Source: )
thinking  books  rolandbarthes  christopheralexander  maxfenton  weegee  interactivefiction  if  via:litherland  paulcollins  cyoa 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Radical Technology of Christopher Alexander | Metropolis POV | Metropolis Magazine
"Adaptive design — a pre-requisite of evolutionary success — is highly dependent upon initial conditions, existing structures, surroundings, and human needs, just as it’s dependent on similar factors in natural systems. The same adaptive design algorithm will result in drastically different end products according to the larger-scale influences and conditions on the ground. Design is adaptive only when it is done in steps, and each step accepts feedback from the existing structure. In fact, an isolated (self-contained) design method can never be adaptive. This has important implications for the future direction of sustainable design.

In natural systems, even though this system-generating “technology” is largely self-organizing, it works extraordinarily well — it’s resilient, it’s functional, it does all kinds of amazing things."
christopheralexander  apatternlanguage  planning  architecture  urbanism  design  lcproject  patterns  adaptivedesign  2011  resilience  culture  sustainability  functionality  unschooling  deschooling  systems  systemsthinking 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Architecture needs to interact - Op-Ed - Domus
"Instead of bringing together users through machines, what if interaction design were reconceived to foster positive friction between different design disciplines? What would interaction design look like if it wasn't only (or even necessarily) digital, but if it genuinely melded architecture, industrial and product design, graphic design, art, video narrative, tiny technology, large scale networks, and so on? What would debates between the disciplines be like? What might win, and more importantly, what would they unearth about interaction design in general? What other disciplines might emerge and what new visions of the world might appear? The recognition that many other fields have dealt with these issues and continue to do so, may open up a larger conversation that reveals new relationships, isomorphisms, productive frictions—even interactions."
architecture  design  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  mollywrightsteenson  fredscharmen  mit  medialab  nicholasnegroponte  janejacobs  christopheralexander  cedricprice  archigram  reynerbanham  urbancomputing  interactiondesign  networkarchitecture  billmoggridge  billverplank  ideo  philtabor  2011  mitmedialab 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Not in isolation / from a working library
"Wise words about making things from A Pattern Language, page xiii:

"This is a fundamental view of the world. It says that when you build a thing, you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it."

I love the use of the word “repair” here. It presumes that—while things are not perfect—neither are they forlorn."
meaning  making  connectedness  creating  apatternlanguage  christopheralexander  glvo  repair  repairing  isolation  longhere  bignow  relationships  context  nature  make  lcproject  decentralization  schools  education 
december 2010 by robertogreco
P.O.S.Z.U. » Learning from A Pattern Language
[Wayback: ]

"In short, the educational system so radically decentralized becomes congruent with the urban structure itself. People of all walks of life come forth, and offer a class in the things they know and love: professionals and workgroups offer apprenticeships in their offices and workshops, old people offer to teach whatever their life work and interest has been, specialists offer tutoring in their special subjects. Living and learning are the same. It is not hard to imagine that eventually every third or fourth household with have at least one person in it who is offering a class or training of some kind.”"

[via: ]
christopheralexander  apatternlanguage  education  learning  urban  urbanism  schools  decentralization  apprenticeships  deschooling  unschooling  tcsnmy  openstudio  life  glvo  sharing  openschools  teaching  lcproject  1977 
september 2010 by robertogreco
sevensixfive: Losing My Edge: Architectural Informatics (and others)
"(Disclaimer: This is quick and unconsidered)

It is fascinating to watch other disciplines inch closer and closer to the territory that was once claimed by architects. As the profession of architecture continues to shrink, the ground that is ceded does not remain unclaimed for long, and there is new and interesting territory to be discovered at our borders that we no longer seem to have the resources to explore.

Sustainability Consulting, Strategic Masterplanning, Landscape Architecture - all of these other disciplines are very interested in architecture: its literature, its history, and its scope of services. Now add to that the relatively new fields of Service and Interaction Design. Recent articles here and here (and here(and here!)) have all implied that there is a strange relationship between services, distributed computing and cities, with a parallel strangeness in the design of interactions and the design of buildings.

Despite having several friends who are actively working in these fields, I admit that it is sometimes very difficult to understand what it is that they actually do (besides organize, attend, and speak at conferences). Many of them have backgrounds in architecture, and almost all of them are avidly reading Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, Archigram, Situationists - all of this neglected literature from the 60s and 70s that architects themselves had almost forgotten, in our (perhaps bubble-powered) accelerated criticality (and the inevitable post).

So there are all of these people moving in this direction, and there are a few general observations that are worth making about that:

- They seem to think that they have something to learn from the theory and practice of architecture, so let's help them figure out what that is.

- They are creating their own discourse from scratch, outside of academia. Architectural discourse has been supported by schools for so long that it is difficult to remember any other way. The fields of Service and Interaction Design seem to be supported by something more like the feudal corporate patronage structure that architects relied on in the Renaissance. That's very interesting, no? Not the least because despite any purse or apron strings linking them to the corporate world, they still seem to want to talk about ideas, even some of the more out-there quasi-marxist corners of critical theory that academic architects like to frequent. That's kind of fun, right?

- They have no history. Though some might disagree, this is probably a good thing for now (but not for much longer).

- They bring an entrepreneurial startup culture with them. A lot of the work in this area is coming directly out of computer science by way of the old and web 2.0 pathways, but the thing is, these aren't the casualties, they are the survivors. Many of the people involved with these offices have lived through several busts, and they are thriving. They know about venture capital, public offerings, and bootstrapping. They have business plans. This is kind of exciting, yeah?

For Archinect's '09 predictions last year, I hoped that there would be this massive flow outward from architecture to other disciplines: underemployed architects as secret agents, implanting methodologies into other fields from the inside out. It hasn't happened. Instead, we've lost even more ground to others who are doing the things we do, and it's like the song says: "... to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent ... and they're actually really, really nice." They want to be friends, they want to talk about cities and buildings.

So in the New Year, let's all spend more time hanging out: architects can trade some of our thoughts on cultural context, historicity, and the public realm for some of you all's ideas about agility, narrative, strategery, and business planning, and we'll all hopefully learn a lot."
design  architecture  history  discipline  discourse  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crosspollination  janejacobs  christopheralexander  archigram  fredscharmen  interaction  interactiondesign  reanissance  academia  patronage  servicedesign  situationist  theory  criticaltheory  via:migurski  baltimore  cities  culture  designthinking  interdisciplinary  urbanism 
december 2009 by robertogreco
The enduring influence of architect Christopher Alexander, author of A Pattern Language. - By Witold Rybczynski - Slate Magazine
"Alexander's ideas have taken root in unexpected places. His early books, especially Notes on the Synthesis of Form and A Pattern Language, influenced computer scientists, who found useful parallels between building design and software design. The New Urbanism movement also owes him a debt...Curiously, the one place that Alexander, a lifelong professor, has had the least influence is in academia. The theories that are taught in architecture schools today are of a different sort, and in the belief that the field of architecture should be grounded in intellectual speculation, rather than pragmatic observation, students are more likely to be assigned French post-structuralist texts than A Pattern Language. Which is a shame."
christopheralexander  apatternlanguage  art  architecture  books  urban  sustainability  development  planning  programming  building  design  designpatterns  witoldrybczynski 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: World System A and World System B
"While cleaning my office I came across my cache of obscure xeroxed essays not available elsewhere and thought I'd type up an excerpt or two.

Here's Christopher Alexander's explanation of the two ways of looking at the world and building in it from his quixotic article "BATTLE: The history of a Crucial Clash between World-System A and World-System B: Construction of the New Eishin Campus," from Japan Architect 8508:
System A is what we might call "The ordinary way". This is Hosoi's name for it. It is the way of building in which people who use buildings take part in creating them. They take part in laying them out. Money is used and allocated, according to the needs of the project, and according to the wishes of the people who use the buildings. The construction is managed directly, under a system of control which is close to the users. While the buildings are being built, they are adapted gradually. What turns out to be better slowly replaces what is less good. The architect or person in charge of building, is truly in charge of "building", not of paper. Things are done according to the dictates of the human heart. All in all, it is the system of common sense.

Oddly enough, this is not the system of construction which we know today.

System B is a system controlled by images. It is a system in which control of the system is extremely indirect. It is a system in which the users rarely, if at all, have any measure of control over the actual layout or design of buildings. It is a system in which big money, loanes and mortgages control the process. The dictates of big money, of permission, and of profit, create conditions in which the quality that is obtained is defined solely by images, not by real human feelings. The architects who produce these images are concerned mainly with the images they create, not with the buildings themselves. The success or failure of these images is defined by photographs in glossy magazines, not by heartfelt approval of the users. In fact the users rarely express their approval or disapproval of the projects they inhabit, except in so far that they themselves become part and parcel of the system of images, and then feel honored because the images have been made to seem important to them. Common sense is not a part of system B.

Oddly enough, this is the sytem which is in widespread use today. Its use is so widespread, and its existence so widely accepted, that most people assume that it is the correct and only way to build. They have forgotten, or most often do not know, that any other system ever existed.
christopheralexander  architecture  design  buildings  schooldesign  process  collaboration  collaborative  japan  lcproject  space  place  participatory 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Second order design and play in A Pattern Language (Leapfroglog)
"In social software, in playful spaces, the large scale patterns cannot be designed directly, but you must be able to describe them accurately, and know how they connect to smaller scale patterns that you can design and build directly."
play  design  via:migurski  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage  architecture  social  socialnetworks  socialsoftware 
march 2008 by robertogreco Architecture for Achievement: Building Patterns for Small School Learning: Books: Victoria Bergsagel,Tim Best,Kathleen Cushman,David Stephen,Lorne McConachie,Wendy Sauer
"Transforming public schools into learning environments that build community is critical to improving academic achievement. Architects of Achievement provide a vision and much-needed road map for changing the way we educate children in America."
books  schools  schooldesign  learning  planning  architecture  design  christopheralexander 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: Deschooling & Freedom to Roam
"The Wikipedia entry on Paul Goodman states:
As a child, Goodman freely roamed the streets and public libraries of his native New York City, experiences which later inspired his radical concept of "the educative city").
This concept is best expressed in his novel The Empire City. But if we are to try to pull this take on "de-schooling" up to the present day, we need to take some broader cultural changes into effect.

Specifically, the collapse of young people's freedom to roam. This article from The Daily Mail nicely charts the changes experience by one family over four generations, which seems typical. Great-grandfather George, born in 1911, same as Paul Goodman, at age 8 walked six miles unaccompanied through Sheffield to fish. Today, his great-grandson Ed, also at age 8, has a permitted range of about 300 yards (the map representation of this is recommended).

If we are going to de-emphasize school, we have to explain where students are going to go and how they are going to get there, and how this will be sold politically. In the US, that is a non-trivial problem, in terms of parents' expectations, lack of public transportation, lack of public space, separation of work and residence, class segregation, etc.

The necessary components to an urban "Network of Learning" are laid out in Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language:
Above all, encourage the formation of seminars and workshops in people's homes - Home Workshop (157); make sure that each city has a "path" where young children can safely wander on their own - Children In The City (57); build extra public "homes" for children, one to every neighborhood at least - Children's Home (86); create a large number of work-oriented small schools in those parts of town dominated by work and commercial activity - Shopfront Schools (85); encourage teenagers to work out a self-organized learning society of their own - Teenage Soclety (84); treat the university as scattered adult learning for all the adults in the region - University As A Marketplace (43); and use the real work of professionals and tradesmen as the basic nodes in the network - Master And Apprentices (83) ....

Now, I'm in favor of all this stuff, but we have to be mindful of how hard it cuts against the zeitgeist and how ill-suited our communities are to support this kind of learning. Certainly technology can support and enhance learning networks -- and I'm only thinking about primary and secondary age learners here -- but I contend that the physical network of learning is still most important, and I'll take good community-based schools over any "de-schooling" that circumscribes kids to their own houses and corporate franchises."
deschooling  learning  education  schools  alternative  homeschool  networks  lcproject  christopheralexander  ivanillich  paulgoodman  culture  society  change  reform 
july 2007 by robertogreco
157 Home Workshop [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: ]

"As the decentralization of work becomes more and more effective, the workshop in the home grows and grows in importance."

"Make a place in the home, where substantial work can be done; not just a hobby, but a job. Change the zoning laws to encourage modest, quiet work operations to locate in neighborhoods. Give the workshop perhaps a few hundred square feet; and locate it so it can be seen from the street and the owner can hang out a shingle."
christopheralexander  design  change  homes  housing  work  hobbies  learning  society  urban  lcproject  glvo  apatternlanguage  unschooling  deschooling  studios  studioclassroom  decentralization  schools  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco
84 Teenage Society [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: ]

"Teenage is the time of passage between childhood and adulthood. In traditional societies, this passage is accompanied by rites which suit the psychological demands of the transition. But in modern society the "high school" fails entirely to provide this passage."

"Replace the "high school" with an institution which is actually a model of adult society, in which the students take on most of the responsibility for learning and social life, with clearly defined roles and forms of discipline. Provide adult guidance, both for the learning, and the social structure of the society; but keep them as far as feasible, in the hands of the students."
christopheralexander  architecture  design  schools  education  learning  highschool  teens  adulthood  maturity  reform  schooldesign  schooling  deschooling  chnage  policy  lcproject  apatternlanguage  unschooling  studioclassroom  openstudioproject  decentralization 
july 2007 by robertogreco
83 Master And Apprentices [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: ]

"The fundamental learning situation is one in which a person learns by helping someone who really knows what he is doing."

"Arrange the work in every workgroup, industry, and office, in such a way that work and learning go forward hand in hand. Treat every piece of work as an opportunity for learning. To this end, organize work around a tradition of masters and apprentices: and support this form of social organization with a division of the workspace into spatial clusters - one for each master and his apprentices where they can work and meet together."
christopheralexander  learning  change  deschooling  apprenticeships  work  reform  schools  lcproject  networks  social  society  apatternlanguage  unschooling  mentoring  mentors  decentralization  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco
43 University As Marketplace [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: ]

"Concentrated, cloistered universities, with closed admission policies and rigid procedures which dictate who may teach a course, kill opportunities for learning."

"Establish the university as a marketplace of higher education. As a social conception this means that the university is open to people of all ages, on a full-time, part-time, or course by course basis. Anyone can offer a class. Anyone can take a class. Physically, the university marketplace has a central crossroads where its main buildings and offices are, and the meeting rooms and labs ripple out from this crossroads - at first concentrated in small buildings along pedestrian streets and then gradually becoming more dispersed and mixed with the town."
christopheralexander  learning  education  schools  schooldesign  schooling  lcproject  deschooling  reform  change  alternative  design  networks  apatternlanguage  decentralization 
july 2007 by robertogreco
85 Shopfront Schools [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: ]

"Around the age of 6 or 7, children develop a great need to learn by doing, to make their mark on a community outside the home. If the setting is right, these needs lead children directly to basic skills and habits of learning."

"Instead of building large public schools for children 7 to 12, set up tiny independent schools, one school at a time. Keep the school small, so that its overheads are low and a teacher-student ratio of 1:10 can be maintained. Locate it in the public part of the community, with a shopfront and three or four rooms."
christopheralexander  schools  schooldesign  reform  change  lcproject  learning  organizations  community  urban  design  teaching  children  networks  apatternlanguage  studioclassroom  unschooling  deschooling  openstudioproject  paulgoodman  georgedennison  decentralization  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco
86 Children's Home [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: ]

"The task of looking - after little children is a much deeper and more fundamental social issue than the phrases "babysitting" and "child care" suggest."

"In every neighborhood, build a children's home - a second home for children - a large rambling house or workplace - a place where children can stay for an hour or two, or for a week. At least one of the people who run it must live on the premises; it must be open 24 hours a day; open to children of all ages; and it must be clear, from the way that it is run, that it is a second family for the children - not just a place where baby-sitting is available."
children  parenting  teaching  schools  childcare  learning  homes  lcproject  society  relationships  christopheralexander  patterns  design  apatternlanguage  unschooling  deschooling  decentralization  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco
57 Children In The City [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: ]

"If children are not able to explore the whole of the adult world round about them, they cannot become adults. But modern cities are so dangerous that children cannot be allowed to explore them freely."

"As part of the network of bike paths, develop one system of paths that is extra safe---entirely separate from automobiles, with lights and bridges at the crossings, with homes and shops along it, so that there are always many eyes on the path. Let this path go through every neighborhood, so that children can get onto it without crossing a main road. And run the path all through the city, down pedestrian streets, through workshops, assembly plants, warehouses, interchanges, print houses, bakeries, all the interesting "invisible" life of a town - so that the children can roam freely on their bikes and trikes."
children  cities  safety  learning  adolescence  exploration  adulthood  design  urban  bikes  life  lcproject  christopheralexander  architecture  society  thechildinthecity  apatternlanguage  unschooling  deschooling  decentralization  schools  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco
18 Network Of Learning [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: ]

"In a society which emphasizes teaching, children and students - and adults - become passive and unable to think or act for themselves. Creative, active individuals can only grow up in a society which emphasizes learning instead of teaching."

"Instead of the lock-step of compulsory schooling in a fixed place, work in piecemeal ways to decentralize the process of learning and enrich it through contact with many places and people all over the city: workshops, teachers at home or walking through the city, professionals willing to take on the young as helpers, older children teaching younger children, museums, youth groups traveling, scholarly seminars, industrial workshops, old people, and so on. Conceive of all these situations as forming the backbone of the learning process; survey all these situations, describe them, and publish them as the city's "curriculum"; then let students, children, their families and neighborhoods weave together for themselves the situations that comprise their "school" paying as they go with standard vouchers, raised by community tax. Build new educational facilities in a way which extends and enriches this network."
deschooling  education  history  learning  networks  lcproject  books  christopheralexander  ivanillich  architecture  compulsory  compulsoryschooling  apatternlanguage  unschooling  decentralization  schools 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Pattern language - Wikipedia
"A pattern language is a method of describing good design practices within a field of expertise. The term was coined by architect Christopher Alexander and popularized by his book A Pattern Language. Advocates of this design approach claim that ordinary people can use it to successfully solve very large, complex design problems.

Like all languages, a pattern language has vocabulary, syntax, and grammar—but a pattern language applies to some complex activity other than communication. In pattern languages for design, the parts break down in this way:

• The language description—the vocabulary—is a collection of named, described solutions to problems in a field of interest. These are called "design patterns." So, for example, the language for architecture describes items like: settlements, buildings, rooms, windows, latches, etc.

• Each solution includes "syntax," a description that shows where the solution fits in a larger, more comprehensive or more abstract design. This automatically links the solution into a web of other needed solutions. For example, rooms have ways to get light, and ways to get people in and out.

• The solution includes "grammar" that describes how the solution solves a problem or produces a benefit. So, if the benefit is unneeded, the solution is not used. Perhaps that part of the design can be left empty to save money or other resources; if people do not need to wait to enter a room, a simple doorway can replace a waiting room.

• In the language description, grammar and syntax cross index (often with a literal alphabetic index of pattern names) to other named solutions, so the designer can quickly think from one solution to related, needed solutions, and document them in a logical way. In Alexander's book, the patterns are in decreasing order by size, with a separate alphabetic index.

• The web of relationships in the index of the language provides many paths through the design process.

This simplifies the design work, because designers can start the process from any part of the problem they understand, and work toward the unknown parts. At the same time, if the pattern language has worked well for many projects, there is reason to believe that even a designer who does not completely understand the design problem at first will complete the design process, and the result will be usable. For example, skiers coming inside must shed snow and store equipment. The messy snow and boot cleaners should stay outside. The equipment needs care, so the racks should be inside. etc."
architecture  design  development  education  grammar  language  linguistics  patterns  reading  reference  process  lcproject  theory  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage 
july 2007 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:

to read