Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

City Sciences workshop, U. of Toronto

The Cities Centre at the University of Toronto recently hosted a two day workshop on “Finding Connections Towards a Holistic View of City Systems“, as an NSERC Partnership Workshop to bring together academics, industry and government participants.  I was privileged to be invited as one of the 30 attendees to discuss potential future collaborations through a systems approach to urban issues.  The meeting was hosted by professors Steve Easterbrook and Eric J. Miller, and coordinated by Kathryn Grond.

On the first day, we had three speakers set stage for discussion:

Groups broke out for an exercise developing stories using Drivers of Change cards as triggers, and then writing some future headlines of outcomes that might be a result of future research.

On the second day, the morning was dedicated to 12 “Tools Talks” on emerging tools, techniques, data and models for collaborative work.  With a 7-minute target, I raced through a presentation on “Service Systems, Natural Systems: Systems Approaches to Urban Issues“, making relevant many of the ideas introduced at ISSS 2012.

Service Systems, Natural Systems: Systems Approaches to Urban Issues

In addition, I spoke on behalf of Roy Wiseman and Jim Amsden to introduce continuing development of the “The Municipal Reference Model: Government by Design“.  I echoed David Miller’s advice to “partner with the civil service”, as the MRM has a history of grassroots development by municipalities across North America.

The Municipal Reference Model: Understanding the DNA of Government

Government by Design: Techniques for Designing and Managing the Business of Government

Participants generated research questions and ideas during the twelve “Tools Talks”.  In the afternoon, the ideas were reorganized by attendees into clusters for discussion.  I opted for the group interested in “urban metabolism” and “sustainability and resilience”.  An hour of discussion resulted in a preliminary research question of “What are manageable stable states for cities?”, based on the potential for a variety of systems designs — appreciating the new research into ecological regime shifts — and urban allometry.  Colloquially, we thought that an urban area could be 10% too small or 20% too big — i.e. between two more desirable stable states — so that the system might be “caught in the middle” with difficult dysfunctions.  When pressed by other workshop attendees on how the stable states might be measured, our group responded that the research on ecological regime shifts is relatively recent, and definitional questions would have to be part of the preliminary research for an urban context.

The workshop concluded with other groups sharing their preliminary research questions.  The formal summaries of the workshop should be posted on the City Science web site in due time.

 

1 Comment


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

    • daviding: In an ecology of nat June 4, 2020
      In an ecology of nations, > “For the British and Canadians to say no publicly is highly unusual,” given their closeness to the United States, said Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister. P.S. I am a Canadian. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/world/europe/trump-merkel-allies.html
    • daviding: Will this decade be May 27, 2020
      Will this decade be called the "Dark Twenties", in post-pandemic economic sociology? #JohnIbbitson writes: > It took years for Western economies to fully recover from the economic shock of 2008-09. This shock is far worse. How much worse? No one can be sure. [....] > We are entering the Dark Twenties. No one knows when […]
    • daviding: Moderating social me May 27, 2020
      Moderating social media context in an nuanced way may be done with a warning or caution, rather than by deleting the message or banning the individual. #HenryFarrell at #WashingtonPost analyzes fact-checking on POTUS. > Now, Twitter has done just this. Trump’s tweet has not been removed — but it has been placed behind a notice, […]
    • daviding: Our immune systems a May 26, 2020
      Our immune systems are complex, so improving resistance to disease may be puffery, writes #TimothyCaulfield . > I looked at how the phrase “boosting our immune system” is being represented on social media. This concept is everywhere right now: it is being pushed by .... But in reality, the immune system is fantastically complex and can’t be “boosted.” (Even […]
    • daviding: Ventures founded on May 17, 2020
      Ventures founded on growth maximization thinking unicorn might instead turn towards sustainability as camels. > Where Silicon Valley has been chasing unicorns (a colloquial term for startups with billion-dollar valuations), “camel” startups, such as those founded by leading global entrepreneurs, prioritize sustainability and resiliency.> The humble camel adapts to multiple climates, survives without food or […]
  • RSS on IngBrief

    • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
      Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
    • It matters (word use)
      Saying “it doesn’t matter” or “it matters” is a common expression in everyday English. For scholarly work, I want to “keep using that word“, while ensuring it means what I want it to mean. The Oxford English Dictionary (third edition, March 2001) has three entries for “matter”. The first two entries for a noun. The […]
    • Systemic Change, Systematic Change, Systems Change (Reynolds, 2011)
      It's been challenging to find sources that specifically define two-word phrases -- i.e. "systemic change", "systematic change", "systems change" -- as opposed to loosely inferring reductively from one-word definitions in recombination. MartinReynolds @OpenUniversity clarifies uses of the phrases, with a critical eye into motives for choosing a specific label, as well as associated risks and […]
    • Environmental c.f. ecological (Francois, 2004; Allen, Giampietro Little 2003)
      The term "environmental" can be mixed up with "ecological", when the meanings are different. We can look at the encyclopedia definitions (François 2004), and then compare the two in terms of applied science (i.e. engineering with (#TimothyFHAllen @MarioGiampietro and #AmandaMLittle, 2003).
    • Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language: Analysing, Mapping and Classifying the Critical Response | Dawes and Ostwald | 2017
      While many outside of the field of architecture like the #ChristopherAlexander #PatternLanguage approach, it's not so well accepted by his peers. A summary of criticisms by #MichaelJDawes and #MichaelJOstwald @UNSWBuiltEnv is helpful in appreciating when the use of pattern language might be appropriate or not appropriate.
    • Field (system definitions, 2004, plus social)
      Systems thinking should include not only thinking about the system, but also its environment. Using the term "field" as the system of interest plus its influences leaves a lot of the world uncovered. From the multiple definitions in the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics , there is variety of ways of understanding "field".
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2020/05 Moments May 2020
      Life at home is much the same with the pandemic sheltering-in-place directives, touring city streets on bicycle, avoiding the parks on weekends.
    • 2020/04 Moments April 2020
      Living in social isolation in our house with 5 family members, finishing off teaching courses and taking courses.
    • 2020/03 Moments March 2020
      The month started with a hectic coincidence of events as both a teacher and student at two universities, abruptly shifting to low gear with government directives for social distancing.
    • 2020/02 Moments February 2020
      Winter has discouraged enjoying the outside, so more occasions for friend and family inside.
    • 2020/01 Moments January 2020
      Back to school, teaching and learning at 2 universities.
    • 2019/12 Moments December 2019
      First half of December in finishing up course assignments and preparing for exams; second half on 11-day family vacation in Mexico City.
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • Meta

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal