As a Work of Art
Community at a Time
e m p l o y i n g
A Master Planning PROCESS
Earth - if you like the idea or not - is a human
artifact. It will remain a human artifact because
there is no going back - even restoration to
a natural state, if possible, would be a
Humans have been altering the planet for over ten
thousand years - our present activity is not new in this regard. We have, however, in the last few
decades, passed the tipping point. The scope and scale
of human “redesign” of Planet earth is unprecedented. This is, of course “design by default” [link: a future by...] - not intention.
critical questions, then, are what kind of
an artifact are we going to have? And, is is going
to be a live one
or a dead one?
more importantly, how are we going to evolve it?
Or, more accurately, co-evolve with it?
It will be, without question, the sum of all the
taken, or not taken
- along with the response of many other species and
the planet itself - primarily over
the next 25 years.
face one of the greatest opportunities - or disasters
- in the history of our Race.
planning and regulations will not give us the tools
to resolve this crises. As they exist, the rules
in place intended to mitigate the negative impacts
of development do as much harm as good because of
four fundamental reasons: first off, they make many
new ideas illegal and stifle innovation that could
be possitive steps. Second, they provide a place
for people to hide. It is built according to
the zoning ordinances and the building code protects
projects and developers even if they are a disaster.
Third, it biases the the argument towards individuals
and corporations who already have great wealth and
power. In the end they get what the want and they
are the only ones who can withstand a protracted
and costly process. I do not know why businesses
are so anti-regulation, it is the easiest path to
monopoly there is. Since I have never seen a big
business that really wanted a free market
(in their area) you would think they would understand
the help regulation provides them - perhaps they
Capitalist noises along the way. Last, it is totally
impossible to make a regulation intelligent, context
sensitive and adaptable. The process of making regulations
is slower than the change in the circumstances that seem
to give rise to them.
to this the complexity that regulations tend to be
local (this is good) and vary country to country
and region to region within a country, and it becomes
clear that no comprehensive approach to human development
is possible with todays methods and tools. The
entire process of human development is fragmented on
several levels of recursion from city to county to state
to country to international communities with little connection
Master Planning Process [link] is designed to resolve
these problems. The best part of the existing regulation
process, at least how it is typically carried on
on the city level, is that it forces a public debate
on key issues. The resulting ordinance is usually
imperfect but the debate is sometimes healthy and
enlightening. Too often, however, it degenerates
into a bitter argument between narrow interests.
Everybody is for a better environments as long
as it does not restrict their use of their property
and the exercise of their “freedoms.”
that it is possible, using the Internet, to install
a locally responsive, regionally connected and globally
integrated planning process, the question
that come to the forefront is what is the integrating
idea - the global gestalt - that can unite such diversity
into one image of itself? To me, this is the image
of EARTH as a garden and work-of-art.
work of the 21st Century can be humankind
learning how to live and co-evolve with
a planet as we are, at the same time, starting
our migration into space. A big part of this will
be restoration as we repair the scars
of our primitive industrial and agricultural past.
Included in this, of course, is the development
of local community and economy, as well as, an
integrated and supportive global infrastructure.
design of this complexity cannot be planned. It can,
however, be evolved. The integrating armature for
this work is the Internet. It is the proper employment
of this tool that allows the integration of the whole
system with the emergence of all the parts. Integration
does not mean top down or building to
some fixed master plan anymore that the body tells each
cell what to become or what to do. The
difference, however, than this body analogy is that,
in the is
case, the body itself
is also emergent and rapidly evolving.
say that the Earth will become a GARDEN and
a WORK-OF-ART does not picture
an outcome - it is an image that drives a specification.
In the organic tradition, it implies a cooperation
between human systems with intent and natural processes
and evolution. It the political-economic sense, it
implies a period of stability with the basic necessities
of life understood and delivered to all. In the work/lifestyle
sense it implies a major human focus and effort with
ecology projects followed like sports events are
today. It will require the same level of inventiveness
interaction as it took to spoil the Earth in the
first place. It will occupy the attention of a couple
will be those, of course, who will say that we cannot afford to
do this. I will point point out the the GNP does
not care if you are cutting a tree down or planting
one. All it measures is the economic transaction
and the value placed on it. I believe we will evolve
a whole new economic measurement system, however,
even in the old system this can be accounted. It
it all in what the market values. A redwood
forest can be capitalized and accounted the same
way a automobile production plant is today.
the next decade, the status of the Earths ecosystem
and remaining natural assets will become the single
biggest political topic. If this happens, and these
problem are approached as political ones, we are
likely to find ourselves in a mess of enormous proportions.
Regulation and government will fail us here. The
variety of the problem and its possible solutions
far outstrips the variety inherent in the political
task is to bring the market in line with
natural values and not wait to start accounting only
at the beginning of human effort. Dolan pointed this
out decades ago in his book TANSTASAFL.
dichotomy between natural economics and human economics
drives the whole UpSideDown
economics [link] process.
Economics which is a great human tool has become
the paradigm that rules our
lives. We worship human economics as if it were the
purpose of life not a tool for conducting
life. We value individual wealth and spoil commonwealth -
which we do not measure. Some say our condition stems
from the fact that we place an economic value on
everything, it can be just as credibly said our problem
is that we do not. What is the economic value
of air? At over a dollar a bottle, what is the economic
value of a clean mountain stream. Does it have to
be in the bottle to have value?
Earth as a garden and work of art implies a massive
shift in attitude by billions of people. This will
not take place all at once or even in one place.
The process will be one community at a time making
demonstrations that show better short and long
term results than the now-in-place approaches. While
possible to do this at any one or two or a few places
before, it has not been possible to do this at
the maturing of the Internet and World Wide Web.
Now, the necessary integration tool is in hand. It
will take the appropriate use of this tool to facilitate
the sum of thousands of efforts to emerge (and
feedback) a result too complex to plan.
first projects have to be strong enough to pioneer
the process without the level of infrastructure and
support that will be possible when larger portions
of the system are in place. They should be carefully
chosen. It will be better not to organize these by
political borders but by bio-regions and human and
animal corridors [link]. Also, seven levels of recursion will
be necessary to migrate from any neighborhood to
a planet. How these levels are formed into clusters
is a design decision that will prove significant
to the outcome. If a neutral, nonpolitical approach
is employed, credibility will build slowly as each
project produces real value. Results will determine
success not mandate.
An attempt to control the process and promote fast
growth for short term gain (as we are doing now)
will be seductive but fatal. The process has to be
of time, the work environment has to be neutral and
the people of each segment have to be engaged in
the kind of environment they want while at the same
time being actively involved in the scales (clusters)
above and below them.
process will not work without the Gaia
Project [link] being intact. Without trained Speakers for
Gaia, there will be no one to represent the Earths
perspective and presence - therefore no effective
collaboration between human economics and Earth ecology.
are many tools becoming available that will provide
the capability for people to see
and model [link] the consequences of our existing growth
patterns. These tools coupled with the proper collaborative
processes may turn the tide (to use an apt phase).
The question is if we will use them in time.
our economic Paradigm
our economic Habits [link]
a Foundation to
integrate projects and perform research [link]
for Humanity [link]
our Concept [link] of
the next 25 years
Gaia into the Process [link]
to Build New
Kinds [link] of
Reasonable Habitats [link]
Centers [link] that
can work large
Planetary Architecture [link]
Larger [link] than
other words, we need an AGENDA [link] and
a new generation of solutions. These are mine; they
are far from complete.
They make a start. And start we must [link: a future by...].
basic conceptual barrier that has to be overcome
is the philosophy of utilitarianism; the idea that
anything and everything can be justified on its alleged
basic short term economic benefit. If this were a
assumption, then war would be both morally justified
and practical - it is neither. One thing is for sure,
if we can afford the present global levels of war-preparedness
and actual war-fighting, we can afford to restore
the Earth and make it a Garden and a sustainable
human, animal, plant economy - is this really difficult
to do? I think not; it is a matter of what we decide to
many tools exist to facilitate this effort. It is
now possible, for the first time, to see the Earth
as a system. Wind World from NASA is one such tool
to do this [link]. Goggle Earth another. Combine this with GIS information and tools like SketchUp and a support technology can be assembled that will allow unprecedented local-to-global modeling capability.
1971, when I conceived “KC Strip” [link] part
of the Kansas City Master Plan project and first
there have existed many practical reasons for not
pursuing this kind of approach. These excuses do
today. And, in this time, a generation has passed.
The conditions that existed then - which were clear
enough - and now reaching a critical state. If we
wait much loner to start a process of Planetary Architecture
[link], many destructive patterns will be established
that will be socially difficult and financially
punitive to alter. In the best case scenario, it
will take a decade to put into practice a system
such as I propose. As of now (2005), we are in 2015
to really begin. Of course, local projects can and
will be in place before this time. This is how
the system will grow and evolve. There is a critical
mass necessary before the process can begin to effect
the outcome on a global scale. This is what will
take the time. To delay responding and then to react
and rush the process of implementation will be a
great mistake. A system such as this is built on
practice, experience and earned trust. Even with
good tools and proper environment and good facilitation,
this takes time.
July 27, 2000
voice of this document:
INSIGHT POLICY PROGRAM
July 27, 2000
January 9, 2005
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this document is about 30% finished)
Taylor 2000, 2001, 2003
Statement and Policy