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Tuesday, July 26 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Patterns that Connect: Exploring the Potential of Patterns and Pattern Languages in Systemic Interventions towards Realizing Sustainable Futures

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2778 “On each continent and in each nation one can find creative bubbling, a multitude of political initiatives in the direction of economic, social, political, cognitive, educational, ethical or existential regeneration. But everything that must be connected is yet dispersed, fragmented, separated. These initiatives are not aware of each other, no institution enumerates them, and no one is familiar with them. They are nonetheless the breeding stock for the future. It is now a matter of recognizing, aggregating, enlisting them in order to open up transformational paths. These multiple paths, jointly developing, will intermesh to form a new Path which will decompose the path we are following, and which will guide us toward the still invisible and inconceivable metamorphosis.” (Morin, 2011, p34) Working towards more sustainable systems is a critical endeavor of the 21st century requiring collaborative efforts for the broad development of systemic literacy. This paper explores the potential of patterns and pattern languages as tools for systemic change and transdisciplinary collaboration, investigation and design, and outlines the ways they could be further operationalized to develop and leverage collective intelligence and agency towards Curating the Emergence of Thrivability and Realizing Sustainable Futures in Socio-Ecological Systems. Considering patterns and pattern languages, social organization, and systemic change from a variety of perspectives, the author suggests that the concept of pattern has an unfulfilled potential as cognitive technology for meaning-making, mediation, systemic configuration and exchange of knowledge, both within and across domains of human activity. In particular, patterns have properties that could help address the unity versus diversity dilemma while dealing with complex challenges. Rather than giving a complete theoretical review of the field of transdisciplinarity and systemic change, the paper sets key elements of the context and investigates possibilities and directions for future work. Starting with an outline of the nature and dimensions of the complexity challenges the world is faced with from a systemic and cybernetic perspective, the paper explores the versatile properties and functions of patterns and shows how they could help conceive and develop a whole family of tools for systemic focus, interpretation and connectivity. Finally, it presents possibilities of applications of pattern-based approaches in transdisciplinary intervention contexts, using patterns as boundary objects to bring into focus different dimensions of complexity. Keywords: complex systems, patterns, pattern languages, systems literacy, critical systems thinking


Alexander Laszlo

Buenos Aires Institute of Technology (ITBA)

Tuesday July 26, 2016 3:30pm - 4:00pm