Tugbiyele "Mysterious Management of Urban Systems"
Posted by: daviding
Date: June 20, 2004 02:59PM
I'm responding to this paper on my laptop computer, on a high-speed Internet connection in Toronto. Tomorrow, I may be adding additional comments from a work site in New Jersey where I am consulting, or possibly from my hotel room -- both of which have high speed Internet connections. This may not be the norm of how all people work, but it isn't all that difficult to achieve, at a reasonable cost (or "free" when covered by employers), for the motivated knowledge worker.
I think that you've raised an interesting question, as to role that architects might play. With my co-author, Ian Simmonds, we propose simultaneous thinking about three mediating spaces -- physical, social and informatic -- so we're already on board. There is, however, a challenge in the training/background of professionals working across these worlds. Building architects work with materials considerably different from social architects -- and I feel comfortable using the idea of "social architecture" based on research by Howard Perlmutter -- that are different from information (technology) architects.
I'll let you speak to the quality of business architects, but I have to say that over the past 25 years, I've noted a decline in the quality of information technology professionals. (I've had conversations with industry association executives about this). As an example, structured programming and systems analysis were key ideas (at least in the 1970s). Today, rapid application development means that documentation goes by the wayside, and developers jump directly from customer conversations directly to coding, without writing things down. Sure, there are a few movements in the other direction (e.g. extreme programming), but the gulf between information and information technology seems to be increasing. (I note that there used to Information SYSTEMS professionals; now they only want to be held accountable for Information TECHNOLOGY).
Maybe the issue isn't in urban systems -- those people are clustered together pretty tightly, so their physical / social / informatic spaces are shared to greater extent -- but instead in suburban and rural systems. These people may have greater physical distance from each other, but information technologies have different features in space and time. (I won't make a judgement on social distances in urban and suburban/rural places).