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Organization and Lifestyle Design: Characteristics of a nonverbal structural language


Organization and Lifestyle Design
A. Contextual constraints
B. Language
C. Educational and Practical Use

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Paper presented to the Internationale Konferenz Bedingungen des Lebens in der Zukunft und ihre Folgen für die Erziehung (Berlin, November 1978)
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Abstract / Introduction

Existing patterns of organization, whether hierarchical systems or associative networks, are proving inadequate in response to societal problems and as a basis for qualitatively superior lifestyles. This is particularly apparent in the rising problems of unemployment and leisure and the obstacle to design initiatives by those most affected. The problem of producing alternative forms of organizational of activity is complicated by consensus formation in the design process and its status with respect to those who are supposed to benefit. (These contextual constraints are explored in Part A)

A very simple nonverbal structural language can be envisaged as an aid to organization and lifestyle design by those for whom the design is intended. It is based on the use of pieces of stick and string of similar length and has already been used to develop sophisticated tensegrity structures familiar to architects. Such structures -- considered as a binary structural code -- can be used to order and interrelate non-dualistic complementary functions distinguished as essential (by the user) to an organization or a lifestyle. (This is explored in Part B)

The language is user-oriented in that it is how the user group interacts with and interprets the structural elements which is significant for the viability of the resulting organized whole. It is the instructive questions raised by the language which lead the users on to improved designs. It is probable that the language can be used in association with an understanding of traditional symbol systems. As such it is also likely to prove of value in non-western cultures (specially with problems of unemployment) as an aid to the development process. (The educational and practical considerations are explored in Part C)

Since the language is a nonverbal one, which is understood, to the extent possible, through manipulation of its elements, the presence of the remaining pages is really inconsistent with the philosophy behind the language and with the increasing recognition of the limited practical value of papers such as this. It is not however acceptable academic practice in the social sciences to present or demonstrate 3-dimensional models when illustrations are inadequate. The following parts are therefore an unsatisfactory compromise.

References and Notes are given.

As are Additional items for inclusion in second draft.

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