Structuring the Pattern Language - Levels and variables to consider
Preliminary Ideas
Christopher Alexander's fifteen fundamental properties of wholeness - Source.

The key points presented at the Workshop of the Ostrom Workshop:

Our Perspective

  • Strategic
  • Dynamic
  • Systemic
  • Trans-disciplinary
  • Agency & action based
  • Practical
  • Evolutionary

The questions we endeavour to address

  • What are the forces & powers preventing the health and thrivability of the system?
  • The commons beyond CPR? What are they, what is their systemic role?
  • How do various movements and change agents relate to the commons and engage into action and change?
  • How can we help leverage capacity and agency across the board?
  • How can we help awareness of inter-actions and consequences?
  • How can we foster understanding of diversity and complementrarity of action?
  • How can we ‘join forces’, unite in diversity without losing focus?
  • What can be learned and shared from the experience on the field? What can help change agents and communities on the ground? What tools can we produce?
  • How can we embed the sustainability and thrivability of the system in the models and solutions we build?
  • How can the ‘sustainability’ of sustainability and social change initiatives be assessed and vetted?
  • How can we design for ongoing monitoring of outcomes and readjustment of models and practices?
  • What heuristics, inquiry system need to be developed -ex: limits and inflection points?
  • How can we link theory and practice?

The pattern language envisioned is multi-variable multi-layered design ecosystem, constructed around the notion of 'social objects' as "centers" or nodes of embodiment of commons logic and 'connective tissue' that bring various cohesive elements together in a descriptive rather than prescriptive approach. The language would comprise (to be further refined after further work on underpinning elements):

  • A set of underlying design principles, the underlying logic, or 'grammar' including the dynamics and generative processes and feedback loops (emergent from natural forces at play or intended) which have an effect on flows, stocks (accumulation) and their distribution. This is the 'code' level that will enable the commons to be protected, nurtured, grown 'by design' and preserved against over-exploitation, abuse, or enclosure, as well as the anti-patterns and mechanisms to identify as corrupt, and to stay away from.These are independent from action logics and narratives.
  • The heuristics, inquiry processes that will help combine complementary patterns to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct new solutions. This would include principles of pharmacology (Stiegler), taking into account notions of limits and optima beyond which a remedy becomes toxic (when a pattern becomes an anti-pattern), and enable self-regulation of pattern application such as described below, as well as provisions to avoid co-optation of a pattern.
  • The derived building blocks, or 'vocabulary', that will help change agents in each cluster of engagement logic compose solutions and find pathways relevant to their context (which may at this granular level be prescriptive as this is where the praxis and effectiveness lies) and create the narratives, or expressions of these underlying principles in forms and narratives or realities they can relate to, and that will appropriately help operate change 'locally', with all the diversity and meshing generated across clusters.
  • The ways of connecting the elements above to existing practical applications, the connections between these elements, and their relationship with cultural aspects and forms of sense making and engagement which would enable their easy discovery and retrieval, making databases of solutions 'actionable' – an 'orientation system', and which would also enable to navigate between domains.
  • The protocols for 'conversation' within and between narratives or 'local languages', for mutual understanding in multi-stakeholder groups, discovery of each other's logics and operating modes, and dealing with conflicting interests, trade-offs, etc… in participatory processes.
  • A framework for communication and communication charter or series of blueprints for artists, communicators, change agents to adapt and spread out via media, art, SOLE and Peer Learning accelerators, enabling self and peer discovery journeys.
  • The tools and technologies that would make visualization, contextualization, matching, navigation, learning easier, that would enable people to embark on self- or group-discovery or learning journeys, navigate from the place they are at toward new possibilities starting with those that would seam the most 'natural' or effortless to them, and help change agents do their job more effectively...

The slides below show how Donella Meadow's framework can be used to go through the various types of levers or systemic intervention points. Observing what is going on on the ground, an operating in a reverse way to design for desired effects and outcomes.

An Open Source Pattern Language (re)generative of Commons »An Open Source Pattern Language (re)generative of Commons
Theoretical and methodological background »Theoretical and methodological background
Structuring the Pattern Language - Levels and variables to consider
Elements of inquiry »Elements of inquiry
Paradigm & Worldviews »Paradigm & Worldviews
Pharmacology - How the 'quality' of change changes in time. »Pharmacology - How the 'quality' of change changes in time.
Variables that influence agency in structure formation »Variables that influence agency in structure formation
Mechanism Independence »Mechanism Independence
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