PLAST and Pattern Languages

I must start with an BLAST of PRAISE for THE MOST STUPENDOUS proposal I have ever read. The proposal is formal and is being submitted for support, thus I cannot provide access to the text of the proposal at this time. Access to information on PLAST – Pattern Languages for Systemic Transformation can be found in their closed Facebook Group. Request to become a member. At this juncture I have only begun to explore the many aspects of this complex proposal.

PLAST includes some most impressive minds working as a viable team on an extraordinary project.

  •     I cannot be more supportive for the success of your awesome venture.
  •     The forth-coming critique of your proposal document must not be viewed as “criticism”. I will CHEER when you get funded and as you begin to implement your strategies. I am willing to help, fully within the context of your proposal.
  •     I share your GOALS (consequences of achievement of your OBJECTIVES).
  •     View my critique as constructive feedback. My only intent is to IMPROVE the success of your venture.
  •     If my feedback/critique results in any alteration of your tactics, consider this as our mutual participation in collective action. Your actions are yours to implement; to reject my recommendations is full accepted.
  •     Our future is uncertain (an emotionally neutral characterization).
  •     CAUTION:  You and I are still islands/silos trying to liberate ourselves and others from this confinement.  That we are aware of are our confinement, and acting, doesn’t mean we are free.

 DESCRIPTIONS & DEFINITIONS
How dependent on Pattern Languages is PLAST (other than in title)??
Nu languages and nu “systems using languages” will be instrumental in creating PLAST (defined by its objectives and goals) and making it “sustainable”, viable and reesee.
The long itemized lists of PLAST’s objectives and goals are fully congruent with those of UPLIFT and BUS.
PLAST OBJECTIVES: (from their proposal)

  • Provide a platform on which to share knowledge and know-how (in the form of Patterns and Pattern Languages) as “shared social objects”, subject to discussion, deliberation and transformation;
  •  Actively make communities aware of one another’s solutions through a coherent model of meaningful relationships and “systemic patterns”, providing the structure to allow inquiry and analysis through discovery and exploration;
  • Provide multiple entry points, (by problem, by solution, by systemic pattern, by context, by category etc.), and pathways, (guided tours, use before/after, etc.), through the collected solutions and practices;
  • Provide the means to re-contextualise solutions and practices into new domains and communities, and the ability to monitor, track, evaluate, deliberate and discuss the results;                   
  • Support the analysis of the process of transformation (categorizing discussion, deliberation, and transitions to understand tipping points, phase changes, and leverage points), creating the opportunity to design transitional strategies that are systemically assessed;
  • Allow participants to understand the full lifecycle of patterns in practice, from problem identification to pattern application, iterative reuse, maturity, adaptation, refinement and re-evaluation.

PLAST GOALS:  (from their proposal)

  •  Accelerate the circulation of domain-specific knowledge;
  •   Improve the effectiveness of this knowledge and its applications;
  • Bridge ‘isolation’ gaps by connecting and making this knowledge ‘interoperable”;
  • Ultimately, keep knowledge dynamic as a living resource that embeds its on-going creation.

 

  • Variations of “Pattern Languages” will be part of this scheme; but all language-like activity may not fit a definition for a “pattern language”. There may be other types of “info exchanges” between persons/teams and interaction schemes with “digital archives” that will emerge as we continue our migration into the digital realm.
  • Many processes and subsystems, other than nu languages or “Pattern Languages” will be necessary for the success of PLAST to achieve its objectives and goals. For example, training, evaluation, and promotion for nu languages will be as critical as the “nature” of the nu languages.
  • The use of Pattern Languages in PLAST may be committing the “slippery slide” fallacy.  It may create a limiting paradigm in the original Kuhnian sense of the term – practice habits. Doug Hofstadter warns of the “slippery slide”, when one term in a list of category members is elevated to label the list. The exemplar is “he” for “he and she”. Research demonstrates that this type of bias is subconscious and can’t be totally eliminated.  It is better to avoid the slippery slide.

In my analysis PLAST is so far beyond PL, that PL may become an anchor to limit PLAST.

Quotes on PLAST:  (from their proposal)

  • The purpose of PLAST (Pattern Languages for Systemic Transformation) is to produce an open knowledge repository of sustainability and social innovation practices, leveraging pattern languages to make knowledge accessible, reusable across domains and actionable, turning knowledge into shared and accessible “know-how”.
  • PLAST will make explicit and examine the relationships among systemic patterns, the focus of its theoretical foundation research, and the design  patterns revealed and generated in community-based research, which will be built into the platform design.
  • PLAST seeks to tool the praxis and evolution of collective sense-making and action towards sustainable design within a knowledge ecosystem that includes diverse logics of understanding and engagement, each with its own languages and cognitive preferences. It recognizes that this diversity is not only inevitable, and desirable for its own sake:  it understands plurality of outlook and action as vital for addressing complex sustainability issues. However, it also recognizes that not all outlooks and actions are equally true, valid, morally sound, or effective.
  • PLAST (therefore) adopts an hermeneutic approach to observation/representation, interpretation, design and action. An hermeneutic approach seeks to understand rather than explain. It acknowledges the situated nature of all interpretations and therefore accepts and values a plurality of perspectives on and  points of entry into a topic.
  •  The platform (PLAST) will structurally support a systemic, pluralistic view of challenges, conditions and solutions, and support operationalisations that embed observation, orientation, monitoring and discussion in  pathways to action. It draws upon the direct engagement of diverse communities of practice in assembling its elements via collaborative processes that will embed systemic cross-domain connections in its framework in a way that makes them accessible to users. This allows the transfer of practices across contexts and maintains active flows of knowledge, reinforcing and modulating relationships, directly affecting awareness, engagement and action. The result will be a genuine knowledge commons:  a dynamic set of openly accessible knowledge and associated practices that support the activities of user communities, who in the course of their use collaboratively maintain and develop both its content and its technical features, bringing about systemic change in practice.

Quotes on PATTERN LANGUAGES  (from their proposal)

  • Pattern languages as systematically organized collections of all patterns relevant to a particular domain
  • As dynamic entities that support on-going exploration of generative possibilities, patterns and pattern languages are not fixed but constantly reinvented through use in practical contexts, leaving space for interpretation and discovery of new  patterns and relationships and emergence of co-created solutions.
  •  By making visible previously covert processes and the tacit knowledge that underlies them, a  pattern language provides a common vocabulary for design, bringing communication on designing into existence and opening up new channels of communication and understanding.
  • Alexander defines a pattern as a three part construct.  First comes the ‘context’, the conditions under which the pattern holds. Next is a ‘system of forces’. In many ways it is natural to think of this as the ‘problem’ or ‘goal’. The third part is the ‘solution’; a configuration that balances the system of forces or solves the problems presented.
  •  This definition reinforces the distinction between the “system as a whole” – a holistic description of a concrete phenomenon in relation to its emergent properties – described by design patterns – and the “generative system”, or set of organic processes out of which any  phenomenon emerges, described by systemic By making use of patterns and pattern languages as media of interpretation, PLAST will seek to reconcile difference with interconnection, inclusiveness with discernment, and so help activate collective awareness to its fullest potential, not reduce it to its lowest common denominator.

Author: nuet

01/24/1935. BS-physics RPI 1956; MS-physics UofChicago 1958; PhD-physics Yale 1965; PhD-Edu Psy Uof MInnesota 1970. Auroral Research Byrd Station, Antarctica 11/1960-02/1962. MINNEMAST curriculum dev 1964-68. Woodstock. faculty Pima Community College, Tucson 1974-1997. Transdisciplinary scientist, philosopher, educator, futurist, activist. PC user since 1982. "Wife". daughter, 2 grandsons. 5 dogs & 7 cats. Lacks mental imagery in all sensory domains.

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