Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Daily Pattern

In continuing to present patterns relevant to my interests and overall research goals I came across this pattern today when I was thinking about community memory and peoples capacity to reflect and adapt based upon assessing past decisions and their actual outcomes.

Following in line with "Development as Process,' that asserts the necessity for reflection and adaptation, the pattern "Memory and Responsibility" seemed appropriate for consideration. It also represents a useful introduction into my proposed research here at WSU.

Being in the ES/RP program here much of my interests are on sustainable development that considers a number of factors from the political to the environmental, and the social to the economic, all of which represent dynamic, shifting systems. And it seems that this is perhaps one factor that produces shortcomings in meeting goals.

As someone who sees the potential of patterns as a conceptual model for assisting people to be more affective in describing and design community based solutions, it is my intent to help evolve practices of using patterns in ways that can empower communities to work with this complexity.

However, in considering the vast wealth of information available on these patterns and the shear number of them available for consideration, it is difficult to see how such a huge system could be useable in a truly meaningful way. For instance, where would someone begin, and if time is an issue (like it is for many of us) how could this learning process be minimized to only those patterns relevant to a particular problem? Likewise community stakeholders and development practitioners are often dispersed across geographic boundaries that make regular face-to-face meetings difficult if not impossible. With these concerns in mind it is hoped that we can develop a Community Knowledge System that uses patterns as heuristic models for visually mapping out pattern languages as related to peoples specific needs.

Along with this ability to map out these patterns in ways that support a conceptualization of how various solutions interact and reinforce one another is the goal to support the community memory that Doug mentions and the adaptive capacity that David Mosse talks about in his book. Both of these elements are necessary considerations as people come to perceive the importance of addressing the changes in context that emerge as goals, perceptions and outcomes shift or don't meet expectations.

It seems to me that such a Community Knowledge System could be useful as a tool for reflection that could enable groups to look back upon their pattern maps to help evaluate and perhaps even extend or shift these patterns to form alternative pattern languages as information and realities changes.

Now, this is undoubtedly a complex project but an exciting one for sure and well worth investigating.

To make this happen, I think it would also be interesting to use the current patterns in Liberating Voices! (and perhaps other pattern systems) as a way to design the system in order to help orient the project to address issues of accessibility, open source coding standards so others can build upon the system, and so forth. These are extremely important to me as I have a very hard time with current planning technologies that are centered upon expert usage. Now that is not to say that experts don’t have a part to play in this process, but I think more work could be done if communities had the resources needed to approach some of the problems in intelligent and intuitive ways (which is contrary to many technologies)

Anyway, enough ranting! Along with this system as a piece of software and something I think Doug wanted me to talk about is the use of the xml data. In this way the system could query the pattern database based upon a set of community defined criteria and could in theory provide a related pattern dump. After this, planners could then have a smaller set of patterns from which to draw from and evaluate but perhaps easier to comprehend in their design endeavor.

So there is the idea and a fairly abstract sense. However, over the next few months I hope to have a very refined set of requirements developed and I will be sure to post here. And I would like very much for pattern participants to help me identify useful patterns that could direct something on the design process.
Take look at the patterns on our current DB at “Liberating Voices” and if something strikes you, post a response with the URL.

Anyway, I haven’t been feeling so well the last few days so I’m calling it an evening, but when I start feeling better and have a chance to review this post I might be making some clarifications.

I’m sure this will be revised another 10 times before the project plan is finalized and I will try to post all iterations on here for review and comment. So yes, please tell me your thoughts!

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