robertogreco + apatternlanguage   24

Local Area Network
"Inspired by grassroots independent publishing, we will collectively build an online publication within our local area network. We will each contribute a page to this publication, exploring what it might mean to reintroduce a sense of locality to our networks. These contributions might take the form of manifestos, essays, proposals, recipes, or personal corners of the net.

Special thanks to Michèle Champagne, Garry Ing, Greg J. Smith

Visit dat://local-area-network.hashbase.io/a-b-z-txt on Beaker.

Schedule

Thursday, August 23

• 10:30–11:00 — Mindy talks about Artist as Networker
• 11:30–12:00 — Jon talks about p2p and time

Friday, August 24

• 09:30–10:00 — Coffee
• 10:30–10:45 — Exercise 1: Browsing
• 10:45–11:00 — Exercise 2: Profiling
• 11:00–12:30 — Exercise 3: Speed Dialoguing
• 12:30–14:00 — Lunch
• 14:00–14:30 — Exercise 3 Recap: Network Circle
• 14:30–15:30 — Group Discussion
• 15:30–16:00 — Tutorial: Dat and Beaker
• 16:00–17:00 — Reading Discussion

Saturday, August 25

• 09:30–10:00 — Coffee
• 10:00–10:15 — Introduce prompt and examples of grassroots publishing
• 10:15–12:15 — Initial brainstorm
• 12:15–12:30 — Introduce statement: A _____ that _____.
• 12:30–14:30 — Lunch
• 14:30–14:45 — Tutorial: Beaker APIs
• 14:45–17:00 — Begin building personal webpages
• 17:00–18:00 — Table crits

Sunday, August 26

• 09:30–10:00 — Coffee
• 10:00–10:30 — Tutorial: CSS to Print
• 10:30–12:30 — Continue building personal webpages
• 12:30–13:30 — Lunch
• 13:30–15:30 — Continue building personal webpages
• 15:30–16:30 — Begin printing
• 16:30–18:00 — Final Presentations

Overview

Day 1

A series of micro-exercises that create a word bank about each participant. As a group, we will discuss the current state of online communities and speculate on the type of content and interactions we would like to see on new networks.

• Exercise 1: Browsing — A public reading of each participant's past 7 browser searches. Collect 7 keywords.
• Exercise 2: Profiling — List 7 keywords of yourself from the perspective of an algorithm.
• Exercise 3: Speed Dialoguing — A 3-minute conversation in pairs, after which a single keyword must be selected. Continue for 1.5 hours until every possible pair has been created.
• Exercise 3 Recap — One person picks a conversation, reads the respective keyword, and briefly describes how it was selected. The corresponding person selects another conversation, and the process repeats until every person has been selected.

◦ Seita - Rory — bone to bone
◦ Rory - Mike — co-sin
◦ Mike - Stephanie — Russian ketchup
◦ Stephanie - Matt — Craigslist Roommates
◦ Matt - Timur — house plant
◦ Timur - Cyrill — Fleur & Manu
◦ Cyrill - Cezar — Santa Claus
◦ Cezar - Davis — Park Slope
◦ Davis - Taulant — textiles
◦ Taulant - Kenton — the nine
◦ Kenton - Omar — Loblaws
◦ Omar - Derrick — The Wire
◦ Derrick - Sam P — mesh network
◦ Sam - Ysabel — Jane the Virgin
◦ Ysabel - Brian H — train commute
◦ Brian H - Sam G — Annie Albers
◦ Sam G - Josh — fern
◦ Josh - Julia — nomadic / travel
◦ Julia - John C — running
◦ John C - Brian S — bedtime
◦ Brian S - Allison Parrish — adjunct (at NYU)
◦ Allison P - Florence — mukbang
◦ Florence - Mubashir — self taught
◦ Mubashir - Javid — Mexican food
◦ Javid - Seita — Japan

[images]
Some notes from Cyrill, Sam P, Tau

Based on all of the harvested keywords, begin to speculate what the tenants of a new online community might be. What are the values? What are the goals? How do we want to be represented? Do we want it public? Do we want it private? Do we want to create something which reflects the individuals, the community, or both?

• Group Discussion
◦ Internet personas and self-representation
◦ Imperfect algorithms
◦ Passive/Active consumption
• Reading Discussion
*For excerpts and files, please visit dat://local-area-network.hashbase.io/a-b-z-txt/readings/ on Beaker.
◦ Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
◦ Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think”
◦ A Pattern Language, “Mosaic of Subcultures”
◦ Ted Nelson, Computer Lib/Dream Machine
◦ Maarten Hajer & Arnold Reijndorp, In Search of a New Public Domain
◦ Kev Bewersdorf, “Reversing the Flow of Internet Expansion”
◦ Laurel Schwulst, “My website is a shifting house next to a river of knowledge. What could yours be?”

Day 2 and 3

Inspired by grassroots independent publishing, we will collectively build an online publication within our local area network. We will each contribute a page to this publication, exploring what it might mean to reintroduce a sense of locality to our networks. These contributions might take the form of manifestos, essays, proposals, recipes, or personal corners of the net.

• Some references
*For all references, please visit dat://local-area-network.hashbase.io/a-b-z-txt/references/ on Beaker.
◦ Whole Earth Catalog
◦ New Woman's Survival Guide
◦ Dome Books 1 & 2
◦ Autoprogettazione
◦ Computer Lib/Dream Machine
◦ Inflato Cookbook
◦ How to Build Your Own Living Structures
• Statement: A _____ that _____.
◦ A proposal for good gossip (Mike)
◦ A text that strengthens from collective readership (Brian H)
◦ An algorithm that gives you 9 friends (Cezar)
◦ A manifesto that overcrowds until reaching illegibility (Seita)
◦ A website that keeps you warm (Davis)
◦ A drawing scripture decoded for its disciples (Derrick)
◦ A local guide to hypnosis (Julia)
◦ A series of short stories with multiple outcomes (Javid)
◦ A manual to close down the street (John C)
◦ An example of a structured format that collects items for sharing (Kenton)
◦ A speculative source of value (Omar)
◦ An interface to fill the peer-to-peer web with procedurally-generated nonsense (Allison)
◦ A flag to rule (Cyrill)
◦ A tutorial for creating a dark aesthetic (Rory)
◦ A narrative that encourages people to unfollow others (Florence)
◦ A text that shows the value of collective, unified thought (Josh)
◦ A space to give more than I receive (Sam G)
◦ A reading experience for slow life (Matthew)
◦ A set of directions that takes you on a blind date (Stephanie)
◦ An acknowledgment of the context in which the internet operates and this space exists (Mubashir)
◦ A service that maps connected peers (Sam P)
◦ A dedicated day for tidying your network presence (Tau)
◦ An interface that promotes continuous real life interactions (Timur)
◦ A page that reconsiders “local area network” through neighbourhood civic infrastructures (Brian S)

Some Projects

[images]

View all projects on Beaker Browser at
dat://local-area-network.hashbase.io/a-b-z-txt .

[images]

Steph, A website for a blind date
dat://d4d4cf7526a7bea710f18eb9797c6cb3e3354d59041d711a2d630222eb144644/

[images]

Brian H, A text that strengthens from collective readership
dat://ffb9a22300a2c76a43c4e5b204b66d6f28edbda0fdad8cabd0d24ddaa79687f9/
Download A-B-Z-Times.ttf

[images]

Mubashir, An acknowledgment of the context in which the internet operates and this space exists
dat://837cf6bca44d16229dd6bc4681f52c82bae4f05f2c672f284efb632cfc83b932/

[images]

Sam P, A service that maps connected peers
dat://e5225908fe650662e6f709c579cb35cefdab2cabcc06d8ebd80c2a3bc351b9be/

[images]

Florence, A narrative that encourages people to unfollow others
dat://8bd0ba7d8dcdbc110fb89cd4528ad191ec4bb3a4e6d8a373fc2173d0b6c2aa98/

Documentation

[images]

Photos by Garry Ing"
mindyseu  jürglehni  jongacnik  p2p  p2pweb  beakerbrowser  dat  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage  janejacobs  vannevarbush  tednelson  maartenhajer  arnoldreijndorp  kevbewersdorf  laurelschwulst  2018  local  grassroots  publishing  p2ppublishing  web  webdev  webdesign  garrying  michèkechampagne  gregsmith  wholeearthcatalog  manifestos  survivalguide 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Laurel Schwulst, "Blogging in Motion" - YouTube
"This video was originally published as part of peer-to-peer-web.com's NYC lecture series on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at the at the School for Poetic Computation.

It has been posted here for ease of access.

You can find many other great talks on the site:
https://peer-to-peer-web.com

And specifically more from the NYC series:
https://peer-to-peer-web.com/nyc "

[See also:
https://www.are.na/laurel-schwulst/blogging-in-motion ]
laurelschwulst  2019  decentralization  p2p  web  webdesign  blogging  movement  travel  listening  attention  self-reflection  howwewrite  writing  walking  nyc  beakerbrowser  creativity  pokemon  pokemonmoon  online  offline  internet  decentralizedweb  dat  p2ppublishing  p2pweb  distributed  webdev  stillness  infooverload  ubiquitous  computing  internetofthings  casygollan  calm  calmtechnology  zoominginandout  electricity  technology  copying  slow  small  johnseelybrown  markweiser  xeroxparc  sharing  oulipo  constraints  reflection  play  ritual  artleisure  leisurearts  leisure  blogs  trains  kylemock  correspondence  caseygollan  apatternlanguage  intimacy  dweb 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Learning Gardens
[See also: https://www.are.na/blog/case%20study/2016/11/16/learning-gardens.html
https://www.are.na/edouard-u/learning-gardens ]

"Learning Gardens is a meta-organization to support grassroots non-institutional learning, exploration, and community-building.

At its simplest, this means we want to help you start and run your own learning group.

At its best, we hope you and your friends achieve nirvana."



"Our Mission

It's difficult to carve out time for focused study. We support learning groups in any discipline to overcome this inertia and build their own lessons, community, and learning styles.
If we succeed in our mission, participating groups should feel empowered and free of institutional shackles.

Community-based learning — free, with friends, using public resources — is simply a more sustainable and distributed form of learning for the 21st century. Peer-oriented and interest-driven study often fosters the best learning anyway.

Learning Gardens is an internet-native organization. As such, we seek to embrace transparency, decentralization, and multiple access points."



"Joining

Joining us largely means joining our slack. Say hello!

If you own or participate in your own learning group, we additionally encourage you to message us for further information.

Organization

We try to use tools that are free, open, and relatively transparent.

Slack to communicate and chat.
Github and Google Drive to build public learning resources.

You're welcome to join and assemble with us on Are.na, which we use to find and collect research materials. In a way, Learning Gardens was born from this network.

We also use Notion and Dropbox internally."



"Our lovely learning groups:

Mondays [http://mondays.nyc/ ]
Mondays is a casual discussion group for creative thinkers from all disciplines. Its simple aim is to encourage knowledge-sharing and self-learning by providing a space for the commingling of ideas, for reflective conversations that might otherwise not be had.

Pixel Lab [http://morgane.com/pixel-lab ]
A community of indie game devs and weird web artists — we're here to learn from each other and provide feedback and support for our digital side projects.

Emulating Intelligence [https://github.com/learning-gardens/_emulating_intelligence ]
EI is a learning group organized around the design, implementation, and implications of artificial intelligence as it is increasingly deployed throughout our lives. We'll weave together the theoretical, the practical, and the social aspects of the field and link it up to current events, anxieties, and discussions. To tie it all together, we'll experiment with tools for integrating AI into our own processes and practices.

Cybernetics Club [https://github.com/learning-gardens/cybernetics-club ]
Cybernetics Club is a learning group organized around the legacy of cybernetics and all the fields it has touched. What is the relevance of cybernetics today? Can it provide us the tools to make sense of the world today? Better yet, can it give us a direction for improving things?

Pedagogy Play Lab [http://ryancan.build/pedagogy-play-lab/ ]
A reading club about play, pedagogy, and learning meeting biweekly starting soon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

[http://millennialfocusgroup.info/ ]
monthly irl discussion. 4 reading, collaborating, presenting, critiquing, and hanging vaguely identity-oriented, creatively-inclined, internet-aware, structurally-experimental networked thinking <<<>>> intersectional thinking

Utopia School [http://www.utopiaschool.org/ ]
Utopia School is an ongoing project that shares information about both failed and successful utopian projects and work towards new ones. For us, utopias are those spaces and initiatives that re-imagine the world in some crucial way. The school engages and connects people through urgent conversations, with the goal of exploring, archiving and distributing collective knowledge throughout this multi-city project.

A Pattern Language [https://github.com/learning-gardens/pattern_language ]
Biweekly reading group on A Pattern Language, attempting to reinterpret the book for the current-day."

[See also: "Getting Started with Learning Gardens: An introduction of sorts"
http://learning-gardens.co/2016/08/13/getting_started.html

"Hi, welcome to this place.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering where to start! Try sifting through some links on our site, especially our resources, Github Organization, and Google Drive.

If you’re tired of reading docs and this website in general, we’d highly recommend you join our lively community in real time chat. We’re using Slack for this. It’s great.

When you enter the chat, you’ll be dumped in a channel called #_landing_pad. This channel is muted by default so that any channels you join feel fully voluntary.

We’ve recently started a system where we append any ”Learning Gardens”-related channels with an underscore (_), so it’s easy to tell which channels are meta (e.g. #_help), and which are related to actual learning groups (e.g. #cybernetics).

Everything is up for revision." ]
education  learninggardens  learningnetworks  networks  slack  aldgdp  artschools  learning  howwlearn  sfsh  self-directed  self-directedlearning  empowerment  unschooling  deschooling  decentralization  transparency  accessibility  bookclubs  readinggroups  utopiaschool  apatternlanguage  christopheralexander  pedagogy  pedagogyplaylab  cyberneticsclub  emulatingintelligence  pixellab  games  gaming  videogames  mondays  creativity  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  ai  artificialintelligence  distributed  online  web  socialmedia  édouardurcades  artschool 
december 2016 by robertogreco
intimacy gradients - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"Pay attention to the links here: Tim Maly pointed me to this 2004 post by Christopher Allen that draws on the famous 1977 architectural treatise A Pattern Language to talk about online life.

Got all that?

The key concept is intimacy gradients. In a well-known passage from A Pattern Language the authors write,
The street cafe provides a unique setting, special to cities: a place where people can sit lazily, legitimately, be on view, and watch the world go by... Encourage local cafes to spring up in each neighborhood. Make them intimate places, with several rooms, open to a busy path, where people can sit with coffee or a drink and watch the world go by. Build the front of the cafe so that a set of tables stretch out of the cafe, right into the street.

That's the passage as quoted in the book's Wikipedia page. But if you actually look at that section of the book, you'll see that the authors place a great deal of emphasis on the need for the ideal street café to create intimacy as well as public openness. Few people want always to "be on view"; some people almost never do. Therefore,

In addition to the terrace which is open to the street, the cafe contains several other spaces: with games, fire, soft chairs, newspapers.... This allows a variety of people to start using it, according to slightly different social styles.

And "When these conditions are present" — all of these conditions, the full appropriate range of intimacy gradients — "and the cafe takes hold, it offers something unique to the lives of the people who use it: it offers a setting for discussions of great spirit — talks, two-bit lectures, half-public, half-private learning, exchange of thought."

Twitter actually has a pretty highly developed set of intimacy gradients: public and private accounts, replies that will be seen automatically only by the person you’re replying to and people who are connected to both of you, direct messages, and so on. Where it fails is in the provision of “intimate places”: smaller rooms where friends can talk without being interrupted. It gives you the absolute privacy of one-to-one conversations (DMs) and it gives you all that comes with “being on view” at a table that extends “right into the street,” where anyone who happens to go by can listen in or make comments; but, for public accounts anyway, not much in between.

And you know, if you’re using a public Twitter account, you can’t really complain about this. If you tweet something hoping that your friends will notice and respond, that’s fine; but you’re not in a small room with just your friends, you’re in a vast public space — you’re in the street. And when you stand in the street and make a statement through a megaphone, you can’t reasonably be offended if total strangers have something so say in reply. If you want to speak only to your friends, you need to invite them into a more intimate space.

And as far as I can tell, that’s what private Twitter accounts provide: a place to talk just with friends, where you can’t be overheard.

Now, private accounts tend to work against the grain of Twitter as self-promotion, Twitter as self-branding, Twitter as “being on view.” And if we had to choose, many of us might forego community for presentation. But we don’t have to choose: it’s possible to do both, to have a private and a public presence. For some that will be too much to manage; for others, perhaps for many others, that could be where Twitter is headed.

Okay, I’m done talking about Twitter. Coming up in the next week: book reports."
alanjacobs  2014  intimacygradients  apatternlanguage  christopheralexander  cities  twitter  society  sociology  internet  culture  architecture  space  public  private  privacy 
april 2016 by robertogreco
From AI to IA: How AI and architecture created interactivity - YouTube
"The architecture of digital systems isn't just a metaphor. It developed out of a 50-year collaborative relationship between architects and designers, on one side, and technologists in AI, cybernetics, and computer science, on the other. In this talk at the O'Reilly Design Conference in 2016, Molly Steenson traces that history of interaction, tying it to contemporary lessons aimed at designing for a complex world."
mollysteenson  2016  ai  artificialintelligence  douglasenglebart  symbiosis  augmentation  christopheralexander  nicholasnegroponte  richardsaulwurman  architecture  physical  digital  mitmedialab  history  mitarchitecturemachinegroup  technology  compsci  computerscience  cybernetics  interaction  structures  computing  design  complexity  frederickbrooks  computers  interactivity  activity  metaphor  marvinminsky  heuristics  problemsolving  kent  wardcunningham  gangoffour  objectorientedprogramming  apatternlanguage  wikis  agilesoftwaredevelopment  software  patterns  users  digitalspace  interactiondesign  terrywinograd  xeroxparc  petermccolough  medialab 
february 2016 by robertogreco
The Last of the Monsters with Iron Teeth | Carcinisation
"In all species, the play of the young is practice for the essential survival tasks of the adults. Human children play at many things, but the most important is the play of culture. Out of sight of adults, children learn and practice the rhymes, rituals, and institutions of their own culture, distinct from that of adults.

The Western child today is mostly kept inside his own home, associating with other children only in highly structured, adult-supervised settings such as school and sports teams. It was not always so. Throughout history, bands of children gathered and roamed city streets and countrysides, forming their own societies each with its own customs, legal rules and procedures, parodies, politics, beliefs, and art. With their rhymes, songs, and symbols, they created and elaborated the meaning of their local landscape and culture, practicing for the adult work of the same nature. We are left with only remnants and echoes of a once-magnificent network of children’s cultures, capable of impressive feats of coordination.

Iona and Peter Opie conducted an immense study of the children’s cultures of the British Isles. The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (1959) is comparable in richness to Walter Evans-Wenz’ The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries (1911) on the fairy faiths, or to Alan Lomax’ collections of American and European folk music.

These children of the recent past observed what the Opies call a “code of oral legislation” – cultural institutions for testing truthfulness, swearing affirmation, making bets and bargains, and determining the ownership of property – the adult legal code in miniature. These codes universally included a subject absent from adult law, however – that of asking for respite, what we recognize as “calling time out,” and what today’s children reportedly call “pause,” a usage imported from video games.

They had call-and-response shibboleths and rhymes about Mickey Mouse and Shirley Temple, but they also performed the rites of a calendar full of ancient meaning. In the northern countryside, they wore oak apples or oak leaves in their buttonholes on May 29 to commemorate the escape of Charles II – on pain of being whipped with nettles by other children. In the south, however, the children spent October preparing bonfires and making elaborate “guys” – effigies for burning on Guy Fawkes Day.

These children’s cultures recognized the existence of terrible monsters, and they were able to organize against these threats. In 1954, “hundreds of children in the Gorbals district of Glasgow were reported to have stormed a local cemetery, hunting for a ‘vampire with iron teeth.’ According to press reports at the time, they said that the vampire had ‘killed and eaten two wee boys.'” (Sandy Hobbs and David Cornwell, “Hunting the Monster with Iron Teeth,” in Perspectives on Contemporary Legend Vol. III, 1988). This incident was one of at least eight “hunts,” documented in newspaper articles and interviews, from the 1930s and continuing until the 1980s. Hundreds, or in one case thousands, of children participated in monster hunts that often lasted several nights – militias called up not just against the vampire with iron teeth, but also against such characters as Springheeled Jack, an unnamed banshee, and ghosts known as the “White Lady” and the “Grey Lady.” Adults in 1954 blamed horror movies and horror comics for the vampire hunt (much as video games would be blamed today), but Hobbs and Cornwell trace the children’s adversary back much further. Nineteenth-century parents (and perhaps generations before them) had threatened their misbehaving children with the fearsome Kinderschreck known as “Jenny wi’ the airn teeth,” and her characteristic dentition is displayed by ancient bogeymen from Yorkshire (Tom Dockin) to Russia (Baba Yaga).

In order to develop and express their culture and achieve such feats of coordination, children require time and space apart from adult supervision. In the West today, outside of tiny pockets, this independence is almost exclusively the prerogative of poor children surrounded by crumbling cultures that lack the will to monitor and protect them. Groups of these children still attempt organization and armed resistance (Act Two, “Your Name Written On Me”) to protect themselves from ubiquitous violence when adults refuse to do so.

Outside of pockets of extreme deprivation, children’s society is severely restricted by our practice of placing children under the equivalent of house arrest. In only three generations, children in the British Isles as well as the United States have lost their freedom to roam, their independently explorable territories shrinking from hundreds of acres to the dimensions of each child’s own back yard. This is not an accusation toward parents; their decisions reflect their judgments about their children’s safety in the world. Specifically, parents judge that there is no community beyond their doors that they can rely on to keep their children safe. Christopher Alexander’s Pattern 57: Children in the City (A Pattern Language) states that “If children are not able to explore the whole of the adult world around them, they cannot become adults. But modern cities are so dangerous that children cannot be allowed to explore them freely.” Unfortunately, this has become the case not just in large cities, but in small towns and even rural areas.

As a result, children’s society has less and less to do with the land around them – land which, anyway, they are unlikely to occupy when they become adults in our hypermobile society. Children’s society exists on the internet if at all, with raids in video games and chat rooms replacing geographically colocated monster hunts. (This is increasingly the case with adult society as well, which also lacks architectural and geographic support.) It should be noted that the internet is not the cause of these problems. Rather, the internet is the precarious reservation onto which culture has been driven, bleak and uncanny, inhuman in scale. And even the internet is increasingly monitored and reshaped by the same malignant tiling system that drove culture here in the first place. What will happen to culture when even this frontier is closed?

The failure of adult culture, both its physical architecture and its social institutions, has impoverished children’s culture. And in return, children no longer avidly train, in their play, to take over the burden of preserving and remaking adult culture. Somewhere a child alone in his room, wearing headphones, is fighting Jenny wi the airn teeth, a computer-controlled enemy in a video game. But perhaps at least it is a multiplayer game, and he has his fellows with him."
children  freedom  2014  unschooling  parenting  learning  autonomy  childhood  1959  ionaopie  peteropie  trust  culture  feer  chrisalexander  apatternlanguage  deprivation  society  housearrest  howwelearn  education  thechildinthecity  canon  internet  online  web  videogames  games  gaming  geography  place  frontier  safety  lindabarry  decentralization  schools 
october 2014 by robertogreco
The Lives of Children, by George Dennison
[See also Christopher Alexander (referencing Dennison and Paul Goodman's mini-schools): http://web.archive.org/web/20080206191750/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl085.htm ]

"It is worth mentioning here that, with two exceptions, the parents of the children at First Street were not libertarians. They thought that they believed in compulsion, and rewards and punishments, and formal discipline, and report cards, and homework, and elaborate school facilities. They looked rather askance at our noisy classrooms and informal relations. If they persisted in sending us their children, it was not because they agreed with our methods, but because they were desperate. As the months went by, however, and the children who had been truants now attended eagerly, and those who had been failing now began to learn, the parents drew their own conclusions. By the end of the first year there was a high morale among them, and great devotion to the school.

We had no administrators. We were small and didn't need them. The parents found that, after all, they approved of this. They themselves could judge the competence of the teachers, and so could their children - by the specific act of learning. The parents' past experience of administrators bad been uniformly upsetting - and the proof, of course, was in the pudding: the children were happier and were learning. As for the children, they never missed them.

We did not give report cards. We knew each child, knew his capacities and his problems, and the vagaries of his growth. This knowledge could not be recorded on little cards. The parents found - again - that they approved of this. It diminished the blind anxieties of life, for grades had never meant much to them anyway except some dim sense of problem, or some dim reassurance that things were all right. When they wanted to know how their children were doing they simply asked the teachers.

We didn't give tests, at least not of the competitive kind. It was important to be aware of what the children knew, but more important to be aware of how each child knew what he knew. We could learn nothing about Maxine by testing Eléna. And so there was no comparative testing at all. The children never missed those invidious comparisons, and the teachers were spared the absurdity of ranking dozens of personalities on one uniform scale.

Our housing was modest. Ile children came to school in play-torn clothes. Their families were poor. A torn dress, torn pants, frequent cleanings - there were expenses they could not afford. Yet how can children play without getting dirty? Our uncleanliness standard was just right. It looked awful and suited everyone.

We treated the children with consideration and justice. I don't mean that we never got angry and never yelled at them (nor they at us). I mean that we took seriously the pride of life that belongs to the young - even to the very young. We did not coerce them in violation of their proper independence. Parents and children both found that they approved very much of this.

Now I would like to describe the school, or more correctly, the children and teachers. I shall try to bring out in detail three important things:

1) That the proper concern of a primary school is not education in a narrow sense, and still less preparation for later life, but the present lives of the children - a point made repeatedly by John Dewey. and very poorly understood by many of his followers.

2) That when the conventional routines of a school we abolished (the military discipline, the schedules, the punishments and rewards, the standardization), what arises is neither a vacuum nor chaos, but rather a new order, based first on relationships between adults and children, and children and their peers, but based ultimately on such truths of the human condition as these: that the mind does not function separately from the emotions, but thought partakes of feeling and feeling of thought, that there is no such thing as knowledge per se, knowledge in a vacuum, but rather all knowledge is possessed and must be expressed by individuals; that the human voices preserved in books belong to the real features of the world, and that children are so powerfully attracted to this world that the very motion of their curiosity comes through to us as a form of love; that an active moral life cannot be evolved except where people are free to express their feelings and act upon the insights of conscience.

3) That running a primary school - provided it be small - is an extremely simple thing. It goes without saying that the teachers must be competent (which does not necessarily mean passing courses in a teacher's college). Given this sine qua non, there is nothing mysterious. The present quagmire of public education is entirely the result of unworkable centralization and the lust for control that permeates every bureaucratic institution."



"For the twenty-three children there were three full-time teachers, one part-time (myself), and several others who came at scheduled periods for singing, dancing, and music.

Public school teachers, with their 30 to 1 ratios, will be aware that we have entered the realm of sheer luxury. One of the things that will bear repeating, however, is that this luxury was purchased at a cost per child a good bit lower than that of the public system, for the similarity of operating costs does not reflect the huge capital investment of the public schools or the great difference in the quality of service. Not that our families paid tuition (hardly anyone did); I mean simply that our money was not drained away by vast administrative costs, bookkeeping, elaborate buildings, maintenance, enforcement personnel, and vandalism (to say nothing of the costs hidden in those institutions which in a larger sense must be seen as adjuncts to the schools: houses of correction, prisons, narcotic wards, and welfare).

Our teacher/pupil ratio varied according to need. Gloria handled up to eleven children, ages five to eight. At least half of her children were just starting school, and were beautifully "motivated," as the educationists say. Motivated, of course, means eager, alive, curious, responsive, trusting, persistent; and it is not as good a word as any of these. They were capable of forming relationships and of pursuing real interests. Every child who came to us after several years in the public schools came with problems.

Susan Goodman, who taught the next group, ages eight to ten, usually had six or seven in her room. Two of these were difficult and required a great deal of attention. They got the attention, and they were the two (Maxine and Eléna) who of all the children in the school made the most spectacular progress academically. In a year and a half, Eléna, who was ten, went from first-grade work to advanced fourth; and let me hasten to say that Susan, like the other teachers, followed Rousseau's old policy of losing time. ("The most useful rule of education is this: do not save time, but lose it.") Eléna's lessons were very brief and were often skipped.

The remaining children, boys to the age of thirteen, had come to us in serious trouble of one kind or another. Several carried knives, all had been truants, José could not read, Willard was scheduled for a 600 school, Stanley was a vandal and thief and was on his way to Youth House. They were characterized, one and all, by an anxiety that amounted to desperation. It became clear to us very quickly to what an extent they had been formed by abuse and neglect. Family life was a factor for several, but all had had disastrous experiences in school, and with authorities outside of school, and with the racism of our society as a whole, and with poverty and the routine violence of violent streets. They were destined for environments of maximum control-prison in one form or another. How they fared in our setting of freedom may be interesting.

Some pupils, as Dr. Elliott Shapiro points out (Nat Hentoff's Our Children Are Dying is about Elliott Shapiro and the children of Harlem), require a one-to-one relationship. I worked with José on just that basis. At other times I took the boys in a group, or Mabel Chrystie (now Dennison) did, or they were divided between the two of us.

Even in so routine a matter as forming groups, the advantages of smallness are evident. We all knew the children fairly well and were able to match teacher with child. Gloria had had a great deal of experience with younger children, Mabel with specialized tutoring in the city system and with problem children in a free school setting. I had worked with severely disturbed children; and Susan Goodman, who had never taught before, came from a family of teachers and naturally asked for the children predisposed to studies.

Yet the final composition of the groups reflected the contributions of the children themselves. They, too, had a hand. And here is an excellent example of the kind of sructuring that arises when the wishes of the children are respected. Two of our most difficult pupils, Maxine and Vicente, actually placed themselves; and the truth is that we teachers could not have improved upon their solutions. ..."
georgedennison  small  tinyschools  minischools  paulgoodman  education  openstudioproject  learning  children  lcproject  1969  groupsize  classsize  teaching  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Webstock '12: Erin Kissane - Little Big Systems on Vimeo
"It's really easy to understand the lure of small, artisanal projects that we can polish to a satin finish: they offer a sense of craftsmanship, a human scale for our work, and the chance to get something really *right*. But larger projects and bigger systems can often feel soulless and unsatisfying, even when we're excited by the causes and ideas behind them. So is there a way to work on an ambitious scale without losing the purpose and handcraftedness that makes more intimate gigs so much fun? (Hint: yes.)

Via the craft of content strategy and its intertwinglements with design and code, this talk follows the connections between making small-scale, handcrafted artifacts and designing big, juicy systems (editorial and otherwise) that encourage both liveliness and excellence."
publishing  apprenticeships  masters  craftsman'stime  time  slow  small  scale  handcrafted  artifacts  systems  systemsthinking  apatternlanguage  christopheralexander  design  contentstrategy  content  2012  webstock  webstock12  erinkissane  humanscale  craft  craftsmanship  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
The Radical Technology of Christopher Alexander | Metropolis POV | Metropolis Magazine
"Adaptive design — a pre-requisite of evolutionary success — is highly dependent upon initial conditions, existing structures, surroundings, and human needs, just as it’s dependent on similar factors in natural systems. The same adaptive design algorithm will result in drastically different end products according to the larger-scale influences and conditions on the ground. Design is adaptive only when it is done in steps, and each step accepts feedback from the existing structure. In fact, an isolated (self-contained) design method can never be adaptive. This has important implications for the future direction of sustainable design.

In natural systems, even though this system-generating “technology” is largely self-organizing, it works extraordinarily well — it’s resilient, it’s functional, it does all kinds of amazing things."
christopheralexander  apatternlanguage  planning  architecture  urbanism  design  lcproject  patterns  adaptivedesign  2011  resilience  culture  sustainability  functionality  unschooling  deschooling  systems  systemsthinking  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Not in isolation / from a working library
"Wise words about making things from A Pattern Language, page xiii:

"This is a fundamental view of the world. It says that when you build a thing, you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it."

I love the use of the word “repair” here. It presumes that—while things are not perfect—neither are they forlorn."
meaning  making  connectedness  creating  apatternlanguage  christopheralexander  glvo  repair  repairing  isolation  longhere  bignow  relationships  context  nature  make  lcproject  decentralization  schools  education  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
P.O.S.Z.U. » Learning from A Pattern Language
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20100701115028/http://www.poszu.com/2010/06/22/learning-from-a-pattern-language/ ]

"In short, the educational system so radically decentralized becomes congruent with the urban structure itself. People of all walks of life come forth, and offer a class in the things they know and love: professionals and workgroups offer apprenticeships in their offices and workshops, old people offer to teach whatever their life work and interest has been, specialists offer tutoring in their special subjects. Living and learning are the same. It is not hard to imagine that eventually every third or fourth household with have at least one person in it who is offering a class or training of some kind.”"

[via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/1198788931 ]
christopheralexander  apatternlanguage  education  learning  urban  urbanism  schools  decentralization  apprenticeships  deschooling  unschooling  tcsnmy  openstudio  life  glvo  sharing  openschools  teaching  lcproject  1977  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco
The enduring influence of architect Christopher Alexander, author of A Pattern Language. - By Witold Rybczynski - Slate Magazine
"Alexander's ideas have taken root in unexpected places. His early books, especially Notes on the Synthesis of Form and A Pattern Language, influenced computer scientists, who found useful parallels between building design and software design. The New Urbanism movement also owes him a debt...Curiously, the one place that Alexander, a lifelong professor, has had the least influence is in academia. The theories that are taught in architecture schools today are of a different sort, and in the belief that the field of architecture should be grounded in intellectual speculation, rather than pragmatic observation, students are more likely to be assigned French post-structuralist texts than A Pattern Language. Which is a shame."
christopheralexander  apatternlanguage  art  architecture  books  urban  sustainability  development  planning  programming  building  design  designpatterns  witoldrybczynski 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Second order design and play in A Pattern Language (Leapfroglog)
"In social software, in playful spaces, the large scale patterns cannot be designed directly, but you must be able to describe them accurately, and know how they connect to smaller scale patterns that you can design and build directly."
play  design  via:migurski  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage  architecture  social  socialnetworks  socialsoftware 
march 2008 by robertogreco
157 Home Workshop [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20080206191755/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl157.htm ]

"As the decentralization of work becomes more and more effective, the workshop in the home grows and grows in importance."



"Make a place in the home, where substantial work can be done; not just a hobby, but a job. Change the zoning laws to encourage modest, quiet work operations to locate in neighborhoods. Give the workshop perhaps a few hundred square feet; and locate it so it can be seen from the street and the owner can hang out a shingle."
christopheralexander  design  change  homes  housing  work  hobbies  learning  society  urban  lcproject  glvo  apatternlanguage  unschooling  deschooling  studios  studioclassroom  decentralization  schools  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco
84 Teenage Society [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20080206192616/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl084.htm ]

"Teenage is the time of passage between childhood and adulthood. In traditional societies, this passage is accompanied by rites which suit the psychological demands of the transition. But in modern society the "high school" fails entirely to provide this passage."



"Replace the "high school" with an institution which is actually a model of adult society, in which the students take on most of the responsibility for learning and social life, with clearly defined roles and forms of discipline. Provide adult guidance, both for the learning, and the social structure of the society; but keep them as far as feasible, in the hands of the students."
christopheralexander  architecture  design  schools  education  learning  highschool  teens  adulthood  maturity  reform  schooldesign  schooling  deschooling  chnage  policy  lcproject  apatternlanguage  unschooling  studioclassroom  openstudioproject  decentralization 
july 2007 by robertogreco
83 Master And Apprentices [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20080206192611/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl083.htm ]

"The fundamental learning situation is one in which a person learns by helping someone who really knows what he is doing."



"Arrange the work in every workgroup, industry, and office, in such a way that work and learning go forward hand in hand. Treat every piece of work as an opportunity for learning. To this end, organize work around a tradition of masters and apprentices: and support this form of social organization with a division of the workspace into spatial clusters - one for each master and his apprentices where they can work and meet together."
christopheralexander  learning  change  deschooling  apprenticeships  work  reform  schools  lcproject  networks  social  society  apatternlanguage  unschooling  mentoring  mentors  decentralization  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco
43 University As Marketplace [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20080206191631/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl043.htm ]

"Concentrated, cloistered universities, with closed admission policies and rigid procedures which dictate who may teach a course, kill opportunities for learning."



"Establish the university as a marketplace of higher education. As a social conception this means that the university is open to people of all ages, on a full-time, part-time, or course by course basis. Anyone can offer a class. Anyone can take a class. Physically, the university marketplace has a central crossroads where its main buildings and offices are, and the meeting rooms and labs ripple out from this crossroads - at first concentrated in small buildings along pedestrian streets and then gradually becoming more dispersed and mixed with the town."
christopheralexander  learning  education  schools  schooldesign  schooling  lcproject  deschooling  reform  change  alternative  design  networks  apatternlanguage  decentralization 
july 2007 by robertogreco
85 Shopfront Schools [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20080206191750/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl085.htm ]

"Around the age of 6 or 7, children develop a great need to learn by doing, to make their mark on a community outside the home. If the setting is right, these needs lead children directly to basic skills and habits of learning."



"Instead of building large public schools for children 7 to 12, set up tiny independent schools, one school at a time. Keep the school small, so that its overheads are low and a teacher-student ratio of 1:10 can be maintained. Locate it in the public part of the community, with a shopfront and three or four rooms."
christopheralexander  schools  schooldesign  reform  change  lcproject  learning  organizations  community  urban  design  teaching  children  networks  apatternlanguage  studioclassroom  unschooling  deschooling  openstudioproject  paulgoodman  georgedennison  decentralization  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco
86 Children's Home [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20080206191755/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl086.htm ]

"The task of looking - after little children is a much deeper and more fundamental social issue than the phrases "babysitting" and "child care" suggest."



"In every neighborhood, build a children's home - a second home for children - a large rambling house or workplace - a place where children can stay for an hour or two, or for a week. At least one of the people who run it must live on the premises; it must be open 24 hours a day; open to children of all ages; and it must be clear, from the way that it is run, that it is a second family for the children - not just a place where baby-sitting is available."
children  parenting  teaching  schools  childcare  learning  homes  lcproject  society  relationships  christopheralexander  patterns  design  apatternlanguage  unschooling  deschooling  decentralization  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco
57 Children In The City [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20080206191654/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl057.htm ]

"If children are not able to explore the whole of the adult world round about them, they cannot become adults. But modern cities are so dangerous that children cannot be allowed to explore them freely."



"As part of the network of bike paths, develop one system of paths that is extra safe---entirely separate from automobiles, with lights and bridges at the crossings, with homes and shops along it, so that there are always many eyes on the path. Let this path go through every neighborhood, so that children can get onto it without crossing a main road. And run the path all through the city, down pedestrian streets, through workshops, assembly plants, warehouses, interchanges, print houses, bakeries, all the interesting "invisible" life of a town - so that the children can roam freely on their bikes and trikes."
children  cities  safety  learning  adolescence  exploration  adulthood  design  urban  bikes  life  lcproject  christopheralexander  architecture  society  thechildinthecity  apatternlanguage  unschooling  deschooling  decentralization  schools  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco
18 Network Of Learning [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20080206192450/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl018.htm ]

"In a society which emphasizes teaching, children and students - and adults - become passive and unable to think or act for themselves. Creative, active individuals can only grow up in a society which emphasizes learning instead of teaching."



"Instead of the lock-step of compulsory schooling in a fixed place, work in piecemeal ways to decentralize the process of learning and enrich it through contact with many places and people all over the city: workshops, teachers at home or walking through the city, professionals willing to take on the young as helpers, older children teaching younger children, museums, youth groups traveling, scholarly seminars, industrial workshops, old people, and so on. Conceive of all these situations as forming the backbone of the learning process; survey all these situations, describe them, and publish them as the city's "curriculum"; then let students, children, their families and neighborhoods weave together for themselves the situations that comprise their "school" paying as they go with standard vouchers, raised by community tax. Build new educational facilities in a way which extends and enriches this network."
deschooling  education  history  learning  networks  lcproject  books  christopheralexander  ivanillich  architecture  compulsory  compulsoryschooling  apatternlanguage  unschooling  decentralization  schools 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Pattern language - Wikipedia
"A pattern language is a method of describing good design practices within a field of expertise. The term was coined by architect Christopher Alexander and popularized by his book A Pattern Language. Advocates of this design approach claim that ordinary people can use it to successfully solve very large, complex design problems.

Like all languages, a pattern language has vocabulary, syntax, and grammar—but a pattern language applies to some complex activity other than communication. In pattern languages for design, the parts break down in this way:

• The language description—the vocabulary—is a collection of named, described solutions to problems in a field of interest. These are called "design patterns." So, for example, the language for architecture describes items like: settlements, buildings, rooms, windows, latches, etc.

• Each solution includes "syntax," a description that shows where the solution fits in a larger, more comprehensive or more abstract design. This automatically links the solution into a web of other needed solutions. For example, rooms have ways to get light, and ways to get people in and out.

• The solution includes "grammar" that describes how the solution solves a problem or produces a benefit. So, if the benefit is unneeded, the solution is not used. Perhaps that part of the design can be left empty to save money or other resources; if people do not need to wait to enter a room, a simple doorway can replace a waiting room.

• In the language description, grammar and syntax cross index (often with a literal alphabetic index of pattern names) to other named solutions, so the designer can quickly think from one solution to related, needed solutions, and document them in a logical way. In Alexander's book, the patterns are in decreasing order by size, with a separate alphabetic index.

• The web of relationships in the index of the language provides many paths through the design process.

This simplifies the design work, because designers can start the process from any part of the problem they understand, and work toward the unknown parts. At the same time, if the pattern language has worked well for many projects, there is reason to believe that even a designer who does not completely understand the design problem at first will complete the design process, and the result will be usable. For example, skiers coming inside must shed snow and store equipment. The messy snow and boot cleaners should stay outside. The equipment needs care, so the racks should be inside. etc."
architecture  design  development  education  grammar  language  linguistics  patterns  reading  reference  process  lcproject  theory  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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