Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Restarting my pattern mapping project...

So at the end of last summer I postponed my pattern mapping project. However, now that the summer is back I'm trying to jump start this project again. One of the big problems I got from my PhD committee was the lack of theory contained with my original proposal.

Well, as I have moved along in my program I have identified some theory. The two primary theories I'm drawing from is Douglas Schuler's civic intelligence and Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action. The other theory (perhaps hypothesis) is that development and planning is a complex on-going adaptive process, there is no end to the process, but a continuous becoming, representing the shared understandings, value, and interests of the community.

With these ideas in mind, the software and methods project is aimed at increasing a group or community's civic intelligence through collaborative visualization of patterns for conceptualizing community problems and potential initiatives for addressing those problems. This system will follow in line with concept maps with the addition of semantic linkages that help to clarify the relationship between community issues, and/or patterns.

In addition to the visualization aspect of the software, there is an added dimension that emphasizes process-monitoring and the evolution of problem/solution conceptualization over the life-span of a community directed initiative. This requires an ongoing process of informational feedback for adaptive planning and action. This will require a versioning system for pattern maps, annotation of maps and patterns, as well as system for attaching case examples, problems with implementation, and scoring pattern relevance. Along with these pieces, there is probable need for integration with a mapping system that will allow for placing patterns (or any proposed solution) within a geographic or spatial context.

Unfortunately, there are very few tools out there that support community use of patterns for planning and collective problem-solving. Furthermore, the number of patterns for community development and planning are large enough to make use of patterns cumbersome... This is especially apparent when considering the shortcomings with pattern retrieval, and understanding how patterns are linked to support one another. Additionally, it is probable that not all relevant patterns have been articulated across the various pattern langauges that exist, this means that users may need to amend the pattern language and add their own pieces in order to fit with their specific context. In other situations, a community may need to articulate an alternate pattern language and this system should support this development. This will hopefully support the evolution and refinement of our current pattern languages, as well as spawn new ones.

As a recap of the project, here are some old posts.Now, these posts don't represent everything I have written on this subject, but these I think are some of the most important elements, and reiterate the focus on: visualization, semantic links, deliberation around pattern maps, annotation and case-reports, geographic information, versioning, and the ability to search patterns, update or add patterns, and rate patterns... Now, a lot of this has been carried out by the work of those on the patternlanguagenetwork.org, but not all. One of the things that I'm doing slightly different is the addition of geographic information, semantic cognitive mapping, versus mind-mapping, and the ability to describe a problem space as a network of reinforcing problems that generate a "wicked-problem" space, through the process of problematization we can then begin searching patterns that correspond to the various issues defined by the group, as well creating new ones. For a more detailed description of the problem space concept check out the Methodology/Analysis section of my thesis research.


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Anonymous said...

As a complementary point of view, here is a reference using the idea of tracing networks in order to rebuild a political project that would be more suited to our complex and entangled world : http://yannickrumpala.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/knowledge-and-praxis-of-networks-as-a-political-project/