Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Urban Planning" is NOT Cultural Planning - Which Deserves A Far Richer Toolkit If We Are To Steer Our Cultural Growth More Productively

London street growth from 1786 to 2010.

From a study of physical infrastructure growth patterns.

This is an interesting map, of course, yet it misses the more important question of Cultural Planning, not just Urban Planning.

To steer our own, zooming growth of both population and citizen capabilities, it would sure be nice to have some visual maps of Cultural Organization. Not physical infrastructure maps, but maps of all the emerging inter-dependencies between all of our truly novel, emerging inventions.

Such "regulatory" maps or "Interactomes" are everywhere in the life sciences, but seem, perversely, to be largely banned from most policy and political practices (except where they are misused). With better, and more widely distributed Cultural Organization maps, our MiddleClass electorate might be less confused, distracted, divided and conquered by their own bevy of cultural parasites.

An interactome, with genes represented by text in boxes and interactions noted by lines between the genes.
We certainly need many more maps of Cultural Infrastructure, as a visual assessment tool.


Street growth & other changes in physical infrastructure represent the incidental noise broadcast by a growing culture, and do not map the inner infrastructure of the culture itself - at all.

In the 1830's, de Tocqueville supposedly noted with surprise - during his American travels - that US towns everywhere averaged ~6 civic organizations that literally everyone belonged to one or the other of (Farming networks weren't far behind, with their granges, co-ops, fellowships and various church-based and other initiatives). Participation in multiple such organizations served to bind the affinity & coordination, of communities, and both preserve and grow the agility and maneuverability of American populations.

European populations of the day had long since gotten used to remote, aristocrat "authorities" doing their thinking for them. Early American populations had to think for themselves, and thrived because of it. Not any more?

Many citizens have a vague sense that much of our Cultural Infrastructure declines as physical infrastructure grows - yet we lack visual feedback tools such as maps, to graphically convey that degradation of inter-dependency management so that we're more easily motivated to develop needed checks & balances. Without rapid, pervasive feedback and assessment methods, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage a culture that is both growing and diversifying rapidly.

As self-governance methods tends towards leaner, more brittle & less distributed "Central Planning," it is our quality of distributed decision-making that declines. In the process, the very nature of lean, Central Planning defeats it's avowed purpose, and steadily degrades the maneuverability of a democracy, and the agility of electorates.

We need culture maps and other assessment tools, to monitor and manage Cultural Infrastructure, not just physical infrastructure.

Surely some fledgling examples already exist? Are there any Cultural Infrastructure maps, similar to the street maps and bio-regulatory maps above?

Has anyone already visualized our Cultural Interactome? Or has that been banned by the Koch Brothers?