pattern language

Pattern Language and Communications


My interest in the term pattern language lies in its original manifestation as the way Christopher Alexander and others conceptualized human settlements from the most intimate aspects of the home to the entire inhabited earth, or ecumenopolis, as C. A. Doxiadis described it.

I am vitally concerned that the Obama infrastructure project help reclaim and transform private and public space, with attention to the incredible fund of ideas in Alexander’s practical description of the nested patterns of human habitation and commerce. I would hate to see billions spent to replicate the matrix for a society that is, as now, borderline disfunctional.

I believe Barack Obama is an integral thinker and that is my basic hope for something of what Robert Pirsig called quality in what comes out of our response to the current economic meltdown.

Now, to the impetus for this post. I have been casually following a pattern language spinoff which seeks to understand communications in a pattern language way. The following quote describing the project’s aims — Liberating Voices– is illustrative:

It is a holistic call to arms for social change based on a revolution in grassroots information and communication. It takes the form of a pattern language that contains 136 patterns. Each pattern is a template for research as well as social critique and action. And each pattern is linked to other patterns into a single coherent whole. We (myself and 85 co-authors) have tried to show that the struggle for liberatory information and communication systems is absolutely critical.

Computer folk have also taken Alexander’s work as a model for their own efforts.

The need for an integral approach is brought home when you consider that a human community might well be enhanced by having the basics of living within walking distance, by having some Jane Jacobs-like amenities at hand, by planning on a scale that would enable ecological features to be cost effective, and so forth.

I am a bit mystified about how this translates into comunication, but I plan to learn a bit.

The source for the quote above and other thoughts on communications and pattern language is here.

And here is a link to some of my pattern language pages.

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