inkwell.vue.139 : Steven Johnson - Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
permalink #51 of 60: Steven Johnson (stevenjohnson) Thu 21 Feb 02 09:32
    
As far as stress and the Well goes, perhaps we could transport the
Well community to a remote island in the south pacific for a month, and
see what leadership strategies emerged... :)

Howard, I did read, and enjoyed, Nonzero -- in a way, there are some
interesting overlaps between Wright's book and Emergence. (I talk a bit
about his "global brain" theory and the net in one of the chapters.) 

I'm not sure my new urbanism observations were all that interesting,
which may be one reason I didn't expand on them in the book. I thought
it was relevant  because there's a risk with this book that it will be
interpreted as an anti-planning argument, since there's so much
emphasis on bottom-up structures and systems. But there is such a thing
as planned bottom-up behavior -- i.e., you construct an environment in
which bottom-up organization can flourish. Designing a game like
SimCity or Black and White is one example of this. (This is one of the
things that I talked about in the Wired piece.) The new urbanism is
another. On some level, if you're going to be building new settlements,
you're going to have to do some kind of planning. So the idea is to
plan environments that encourage the kind of sidewalk-centric
self-organization that Jacobs celebrated. Even if those sidewalks are
being built outside of dense urban centers. 

That element of the new urbanism -- it's relationship to the public,
pedestrian space of the street -- is pretty fascinating, and
encouraging, I think. It's too bad that so much of the popular debate
over it has focused on the architectural homogeneity/consistency that
the New Urbanists have advocated in many of their projects and
writings... 

By the way, I'm having two wisdom teeth removed in about an hour, so I
may be silent for a day or so. Or I may be posting Percodan-addled
nonsensical prose poems in this thread. If it's the latter, I hope
everyone will at least notice the difference... 
  
inkwell.vue.139 : Steven Johnson - Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
permalink #52 of 60: Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 21 Feb 02 10:17
    
E-mail from Bill Seitz:

While most of Christopher Alexander's site requires paid membership, he
does have a section on Town Planning which discovers lots of things,
including New Urbanism.

http://www.patternlanguage.com/townplanning/townplanning.htm

Aside: Steven, what are you up to these days, in terms of online
activities/organizations? 
  
inkwell.vue.139 : Steven Johnson - Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
permalink #53 of 60: Howard Rheingold (hlr) Thu 21 Feb 02 10:31
    
Oops. Sorry, Steven. I did actually read your book when it first came out. 
  
inkwell.vue.139 : Steven Johnson - Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
permalink #54 of 60: Derek M. Powazek (dmpowazek) Fri 22 Feb 02 12:31
    
Hey gang! Well, today is officially the last day of our interview with
Steven Johnson. I'd like to take a moment to thank Steven for his
participation, as well as all of you for your excellent questions and
comments. This was fun!

This topic will remain open, so if anyone wants to continue, feel
free. And, Steven, your Percodan-addled prose is always welcome!

Thanks again, everyone.
  
inkwell.vue.139 : Steven Johnson - Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
permalink #55 of 60: David Gans (tnf) Fri 22 Feb 02 14:27
    

Thanks so much for being here, Steven and Derek!  And yes, please feel free
to continue the discussion.
  
inkwell.vue.139 : Steven Johnson - Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
permalink #56 of 60: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 22 Feb 02 16:37
    
Right, and see what emerges...!
  
inkwell.vue.139 : Steven Johnson - Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
permalink #57 of 60: democracy being a left thing, anyway (ludlow) Fri 22 Feb 02 17:15
    
Very interesting thread.  I hope you guys stay it it for a while.
  
inkwell.vue.139 : Steven Johnson - Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
permalink #58 of 60: Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 23 Feb 02 00:03
    

Thanks Steven and Derek!
  
inkwell.vue.139 : Steven Johnson - Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
permalink #59 of 60: Steven Johnson (stevenjohnson) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:44
    
Hey, that went by so quickly. Very fun -- and now that I'm recovered
(mostly) from my wisdom tooth extraction, I'm happy to stay around
longer and keep talking...

In answer to Bill's question about what I'm doing these days -- I'm
mostly enjoying being a full-time writer for the first time in my life,
which has been a total blast. (I'm also a new dad, so that takes up
quite a bit of time as well.) As far as online projects go, I've been
teaching at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program -- mostly the
software and city material from the book -- and thinking about setting
up some kind of personal blog-like site. I'm still hoping that FEED
will be revived in some fashion, and I spend a lot of time visiting
Plastic.com, though I'm not formally involved with them in any way now.
I've had a few conversations here and there with folks about getting
more involved with some sort of online venture, but I'm really not
eager to get a real day job right now -- I'm liking the writer/dad life
too much for that...
  
inkwell.vue.139 : Steven Johnson - Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
permalink #60 of 60: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 25 Feb 02 20:17
    
Steven, check out this piece if you haven't already seen it:
http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/jenkins0302.asp

It's by Henry Jenkins... he's feeling pretty good about weblogs:

"It may seem strange to imagine the blogging community as a force that will 
shape the information environment almost as powerfully as corporate media. 
We learn in the history books about Samuel Morse’s invention of the 
telegraph but not about the thousands of operators who shaped the 
circulation of messages, about Thomas Paine’s Common Sense but less about 
the “committees of correspondence” through which citizens copied and 
redistributed letters across the colonies, about the publication of Harriet 
Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist blockbuster Uncle Tom’s Cabin but not about 
the teenagers who used toy printing presses to publish nationally 
circulated newsletters debating the pros and cons of slavery. In practice, 
the evolution of most media has been shaped through the interactions 
between the distributed power of grass-roots participatory media and the 
concentrated power of corporate/governmental media."
  



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