Broadcast 7/6/2019 at 10:06 PM EDT (7 Listens, 5 Downloads, 2780 Itunes)
The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast
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Kelvin Campbell Massive Small, Part 2 Kelvin Campbell has written an incredible resource, his book, Massive Small, that is changing the world. He explores how we need to shift to more bottom-up, ...
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Kelvin Campbell is a collaborative urbanist and writer. He is the chair of Smart Urbanism and the Massive Small Collective. A Former visiting professor in urban design at the University of Westminster and chairman of the Urban Design Group, Campbell is now honorary professor at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London,
Notes from the Interview
Starter conditions for changeorganic, bottom-up
Growth is a natural process. You just need to irrigate it, make sure it gets sunlight
Peter Senge, from MIT, says urban planners need to think more like biologists than mechanics..
Rob: Talk about structured organic
There are two ways of looking at it. We tend to go to the end state. A command and control system that focuses on an end state"
Rob: What's the alternative to an end-state focus?
Complexity is highly dependent upon its starter conditions, he uses example of the butterfly effect. It moves its wings and downstream a hurricane forms.
Complexity and emergence are so dependent upon starter conditions and the medium in which it starts.
The top down way is the command and control approach which focuses on end state. The Bottom-up way is to create initial conditions that allow emergence of whatever possibilities may occur. Hence, organic. You plant the seed, not the tree.
Technology gives us ability to monitor and give rapid and continuous feedback.
Rob: This open ended approach could drive top-down leadersmost leaderscrazy. How do you help leaders to trust this emergent conditions approach?
Robert Kaplan did a report at Harvard Business school saying that 80% of all plans fail. So, the majority of top-down plans fail dismally. Peter Senge has another one, Most strategic initiatives driven from the top fail at the outset. So there's a recognition that this kind of top down approach is not delivering the kind outcomes that a politician wants anyway.
Rob: You refer to grids a lot
Most cities are composed of many grids.
The grid is the starting point of order. And if you can create regular order, it's the first pre-condition for emergence. It's like the honey comb, the six sided hexagonal structure into which the bee can put its honey. It's creating an order within which it can start doing things.
The same thing applies to developing cities. You create the order within which richness and variety can happen.
Your preconditions are constantly evolving. The more regularity
Rob: So, what you are saying is that bottom-up can work great with some minimal rigid restrictions.
KC: And you manage those restrictions
And if someone does something unpredictable, then you embrace that unpredictability. If someone's created a better solution let's learn from that and incorporate that. It's a bit like the beta version of a computer version. There's always improvements.
Rob: I often use the quote by R. Buckminster Fuller, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
KC: I used it to. You don't try to buck against the system. You show that there's a better way to replace your older way.
KC cites Picasso: Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.
Understand the contraints in which you can be creative. Simple rules give you a springboard for innovation.
Rob: talk about simple vs complex rules
Simple rules must be understandable and they are, generally, negotiated.
Use scenario stories
What about a collective hero vs a single top down herp
KC: council of elders or the senate governing
On politics. I want to create the massive small partythe idea that you can collectively get people to come together with a common vision.
We need a bottom-up swell of people saying that we need a different way of doing it. We need to liberate ourselves.
Government is a negative force in most parts of the world now.
The "precariat" it's the precarious economy.
The demographics are working against the idea of top down anyway.
Giantism is the first sin of failure
The role of government is to make sure that nothing gets to bigwe want a thousand bakers. At the bottom level it creates stability in the system.
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