Monday, September 3, 2007

Today's Pattern...

Today's, pattern is an extension of what I have been thinking about quite extensively over the past few days. In fact, it represents the crux of what I'm envisioning with regards to this web-based pattern language design framework. It really comes down to the facilitation of this "Collective Decision Making: Harmony of Five Voices" pattern written by Valerie Brown. Based upon the varying locations of potential participants particularly among groups working to address regional, national or international issues the usage of a system that represents one more way to facilitate this process is a potential step in a direction towards fully allowing for this pattern and other patterns to be fully realized and applied within the real world.

In the sense of aiding in this collaborative process of sustainable design that includes many voices and opens up space for reflection, assessment and adaptation (as feedback emerges from the decisions we as communities and societies as a whole make), I see this pattern as being a fundamental component and driving aim of this project

So in thinking up requirements for this pattern mapping application and knowledge system I recognize not only the need to be able to visually map these patterns in ways that form coherent wholes as related to the identified design problems (at hand and that interface with the larger process of sustainable transformation taking place at larger and smaller scales), but there is a greater need to enable people to use this system as a way to track decisions. With this in mind this system will need to be able to document and retain the information used in defining the design problem, but also the maps that are generated from these mapping exercises.

Also in considering the number of voices involved in design and all the interests involved it is obvious to me that there must be a mechanism for asynchronous activity to take place that will allow multiple users to aide in the design process, rather than be dependent upon the expertise or dominant voice of one person. This is often the case in GIS based applications.

The use of multiple voices also means that the system will need to have a UI simple enough for people with varying degrees of technical knowledge to be able to effectively use the system.

Perhaps, this means heavy documentation and strict adherence to clarity in the preparation of materials relevant to the use of the system. Trainings, workshops and so forth may also be principle parts of the design and implementation of the system.

The other idea is the ability of this application to be standalone in the sense that communities and organizations should be able to easily download and install on their servers, or of course they can use the community space application that PSP would in theory provide to the public.

This brings up the idea of using the xml dump that Doug has been talking about. This way an application downloaded and served off of a PSP server could in theory query the pattern repository and hopefully generate a list of patterns relevant to the requirements defined by the design participants.

Extending these ideas further there is the perceived need of maintaining community memory among system users. It is potentially relevant that everyone have a chance to learn from mistakes and successes of those using the patterns. This means being able to see the various approaches communities have taken to contextualize individual patterns, what if any changes were made as well as suggestions these communities might make for revision based upon their experience.

With this capability in mind, it is my hope to enable an adaptive and organic system cognizant of the changing nature of community experience and needs and reflects the adaptation of the social, economic and environmental systems that groups are working in.

However, with all these ideas towards adaptive capacity and community memory the fundamental drive of this system is for people to effectively engage in a collaborative and collective process for good decision-making.

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