convivial, situated, local, and sensible methodologies and examples for creating and using space in technology (digital or physical)
Convivial tools are those which give each person who uses them the greatest opportunity to enrich the environment with the fruits of his or her vision. Industrial tools deny this possibility to those who use them and they allow their designers to determine the meaning and expectations of others.
Tools foster conviviality to the extent to which they can be easily used, by anybody, as often or as seldom as desired, for the accomplishment of a purpose chosen by the user. The use of such tools by one person does not restrain another from using them equally. They do not require previous certification of the user.
It is probable that even in an overwhelmingly convivial world some communities would choose greater affluence at the cost of some restrictions on creativity.
We've always had a tension between enterprise design practices and a "small pieces, loosely joined" way of making software, to use David Weinberger's felicitous phrase. The advantages to the latter are in part described in Worse is Better and The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Situated software is in the small pieces category, with the following additional characteristic -- it is designed for use by a specific social group, rather than for a generic set of "users". This will carry some obvious downsides, including tying the developers of such applications to community support roles, and shortening the useful lifespan of the software made in this way.
Situated software isn't a technological strategy so much as an attitude about closeness of fit between software and its group of users, and a refusal to embrace scale, generality or completeness as unqualified virtues. Seen in this light, the obsession with personalization of Web School software is an apology for the obvious truth -- most web applications are impersonal by design, as they are built for a generic user. Now, though, I think we're starting to see a new software niche, where communities get form-fit tools for very particular needs, tools that fail most previous test of design quality or success, but which nevertheless function well, because they are so well situated in the community that uses them.
The wheel's hub holds thirty spokes
Utility depends on the hole through the hub.
The potter's clay forms a vessel.
It is the space within that serves.
A house is built with solid walls
The nothingness of window and door alone renders it usable,
That which exists may be transformed
What is non-existent has boundless uses.
In other words, multiple individuals—acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest—will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource, even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen. Ostrom believes that the “tragedy” in such situations isn’t inevitable, as Hardin thought. Instead, if the herders decide to cooperate with one another, monitoring each other’s use of the land and enforcing rules for managing it, they can avoid the tragedy
“Dull, inert cities, it is true, do contain the seeds of their own destruction and little else. But lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough to carry over for problems and needs outside themselves.
“There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.”
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
“There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.”
"When early Swedish settlers in what is now Delaware decided to build, they had at their disposal trees and axes. The material was a round tree trunk, the tool an axe, and the process a simple kerf cut into the log. The inevitable result of this combination of tools, materials, and process is a log cabin.
From the log cabin in the Delaware Valley of 1680 to Paolo Soleri's desert home in twentieth-century Arizona is no jump at all. Soleri's house is as much the inevitable result of tools, materials, and processes as is the log cabin. The peculiar viscosity of the desert sand where Soleri built his home made his unique method possible..." "Soleri's creative use of tools, materials, and processes was a tour deforce that gave us a radically new building method."
Q: “Does the creation of Design admit constraint?”
A: “Design depends largely on constraints.”
Q: “What constraints?”
A: “The sum of all constraints. Here is one of the few effective keys to the Design problem: the ability of the Designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible; his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints. Constraints of price, of size, of strength, of balance, of surface, of time, and so forth. Each problem has its own peculiar list.”
Q: “Does Design obey laws?”
A: “Aren’t constraints enough?”
"...because the map in their mind was made for easy sea navigation. The accuracy of the sea came at the cost of the land. When I realized that, a little light went off in my head: a map’s biases do service to one need, but distort everything else. Meaning, they misinform and confuse those with different needs."
"the map is not the territory, so a bad map doesn’t necessarily mean bad territory. Our saving grace is that one territory—in this case, the internet, technology—can have more than one map. We can make maps that distort less, or at least accurately represent our goals for all of this technology."
It’s much more of a quietly seen unseen, a refreshing surprise that awakens the person who had thought of looking for something obviously special in design by instead reconfirming what we already hold important and so perhaps letting us break free of our current design paradigm straitjacket. When I’m true to my feelings, I really “get” Super Normal.