2014/10/17 09:00 Michael Hensel, “Ecologies, Architectures, Nation States and Other Borderline Cases: A Please for A Massive Paradigm Change”, #RSD3

Michael Hensel, second day plenary at #RSD3 Relating Systems Thinking and Design 3, at AHO, Oslo, Norway

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Program is at http://systemic-design.net/rsd3-2014/program/


An attempt to take on systems boundaries issues

  • In order to tackle these conditions, one tests the notion of boundaries, and beyond

Professional work rests on boundaries:  what’s in, what’s out

Design method:  Gigamapping the way out, and the long trajectory of time

Seems to lead to more inclusive

In 2008, German zoologist:  Stable Disequilibria, The Ecology of the Future

  • Critique of nature preservation
  • Dynamic equilibria
  • Today, elephant count and vegetation
  • Habitat fluctuation

Contrast of approach that gives primacy to process, rather than a single moment in town

  • Process means change over time, dynamic equilibria
  • Elephants could disappear
  • Then profound question:  should human intervention be allowed?
  • Hands-off, laissez faire to natural processes?
  • Counter to current human-dominated environment

Could keep some remnants, e.g. zoo

  • Captivity syndrome
  • Are humans safe?

Consider ADHD

  • In medicine, it’s a neuro-psychiatric condition
  • Normally managed with counselling, lifestyle changes
  • Treatment controversial since 1970s:  cost, use of medication in treatment
  • ADHD as a collection of symptoms, not a disease?
  • The misfit, Economist:  related to neurotransmitters in brain, associated with dopamine
  • Why are such receptors still in existence?
  • What constitutes inappropriate behaviour, and the circumstances?
  • ADHD can’t focus unless they receive continuous reward, and shift across projects
  • Hypothesis:  ADHD help hunter-gathers, but city dwelling civilization haven’t allowed genetic catch-up
  • Study of nomads in Kenya shows better nourished have exploratory behaviour, better in migratory behaviour
  • People with ADHD useful in a different evolutionary path
  • Being a misfit may become more important

Human-dominated transformation of environment may outpace humans

For whom are we designing?

Concept of normalism is an outline in architecture

  • Late 1960s architectural theory
  • Banham 1969, The Architecture as a Well-tempered Environment looks at tent, like lunar module
  • Also fire
  • Power-oriented architecture, with quasi-hermetically sealed environments
  • Technology produces environment
  • Material surfaces
  • Technology gave way to the generic, or excessively expression of lifestyle

Before these developments, different

  • Architects should now also include environment? Conflict?

Nation-state: geographic area, political legitimacy

  • Dominant form of world organization
  • Nationalism with fragmentation, where parts of countries want to go it alone
  • Formation of Islam state, arbitrary boundaries lead to conflict, but will redrawing also lead to conflict?

Alternative to nation-state?  World government? Global networks?

  • Nation state as an anachronism?
  • Societies may already be going through transition
  • Temporary situations to historical situations?

Which objectives require more complex approaches to design?

  • Systems thinking suggests not moving lower level designs forward

Any mapping of processes become secondary to intuiting larger

  • Targets are transforming

Systems thinking and design are already intertwined

  • If not, something is amiss

Sketchnoting of Michael Hensel presentation by Patricia Kambitsch at https://www.flickr.com/photos/shagdora/15556508662

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Michael Hensel, AHO