If we could only see the landscapes and our cities and towns as multifunctional systems rather than machines of single function silos, we could achieve so much. Low impact design. Soft systems. Rebuild landscape function. Agroecological.
But we were taught that the land is a factory producing units, and *single production unit* and *economy of scale* is how you think in a factory, while *synergy* and *multiple* function is how you think in a system.
Changing that dominant mindset goes deep into policy, tertiary education, research. But that is our challenge, and yes, there is huge potential.
I’ve used this diagram often when talking about land use. But it is so much more than that. The connections between and among things, patches, processes, dollars, functions of soil, stock, trees, wetlands, water and thought – many not quantifiable, even definable in any consistent way because they shift, and sometimes die, and sometimes create something new – like life or consciousness – out of something that wasn’t a part of any part. It’s why I like murmurations of starlings as an allegory on life – shapes come into being … and then dissolve into nothing but air. You cannot understand it all by reductionism. You have to see things as both whole and parts – Arthur Koestler’s holons.
I’ve used it to try to show a land defined by functions and processes contingent on time and place, changing with the breeze and the season (verbs of relationships) far more…
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