Transition Whatcom

Rob Hopkins has started a new series on his blog, asking for collaboration in working on the next edition of the Transition Handbook.

He's now using the Pattern Language, explained here, and in more detail in the 2010 Transition Network conference booklet.

He wrote recently, "Most days, I will post a draft version of a pattern I have been working on.  They won’t necessarily be in a chronological order, but randomly
chosen from throughout the patterns.  Please have a read, and then post
as comments (not here but at the link provided) suggestions for
alternative photos, anecdotes, case studies, projects, stories, images,
links, whatever you can offer from the experience of your involvement
with Transition, anything you feel should be reflected in that pattern. 
It is these that will bring the book to life."

Since TW's Kate Clark wrote in asking for still more explanation on patterns, they're now being called Ingredients.

Since then he's already touched on several important topics (Patterns/Ingredients):
Measurement 
Project Support Concept (look for my comment)
Awareness Raising
Does Your Transition Initiative Have (or even Want) An Office?
Arts and Creativity
Visioning
Forming Working Groups
Local Food Initiatives
Street By Street Behavior Change
The Great Reskilling
Running Successful Meetings
The Role of Storytelling
Understanding Scale
Energy Descent Action Plans (See also a s Review of the Totnes EDAP)
'Transition Towers': Having An Office or Not?
Forming A Core Team
Momentum

Transition Endorsements

Pausing for Reflection

Oral Histories

Short Film About Transition Universities

Standing Up to Speak

Communicating with the Media

Celebrating Failure (and Success!)

Practical Manifestations

Respectful Communication

Thinking Like a Designer

Becoming the Media

Emotional Support/Avoiding Burnout

How Others See Us / How We Communicate

Ensuring Land Access

Strategies for Plugging the Leaks

Form Networks of Transition Initiatives

Transition Cakes

Social Enterprise /Entrepreneurship


Tags: Handbook, Hopkins, Rob, Transition

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David
I have read the pattern language description over and over and I still don't understand it. Is there another way to describe it? Can you describe it in one sentence? In part, I have to admit, the phrase "pattern language" makes me want to go do something else- its...absolutely meaningless. Is there a pattern, like you say one word then another then the first twice, then the second twice and the first once again? Help me! (said in a squeaky, wavery voice like a tiny spider with a human head, caught in a web).
Kate
Nature's Language can be understood by pattern rhythms that creation expresses through.

Web structure is one pattern. Veins on a leaf another pattern....Notice how the veins on a leaf are the same type of fluid distribution pattern as streams & rivers in a watershed.
Dandelion seeds have an effective dispersal pattern for spreading the information in the seeds.
Spiral in a seashell is another pattern of growth.

We can design our communities and homes by modeling them effectively along the patterns of nature.

Example: Circles are a very strong powerful pattern.
Having our group meetings in circles rather than the grid pattern ( the grid being effective for controlling many by a few ).creates a strong sense of connection among each person when we sit in circle.

Link on some pictures of patterns:
http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=pattern+nature&rlz=1W1...

Thanks for posting this discussion David, I'll take a look at some of the links another time.
Kate, I'm probably not the best person to answer your question. I haven't read the Christopher Alexander book this is based on, and Hopkins' posts are my first introduction. However, we did learn about patterns in nature in my Permaculture course (with some of the concepts Heather conveys in her reply - nicely said Heather).

A one sentence description. Paraphrasing Hopkins quote of Alexander: Finding solutions to problems "in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.”

For me, the important thing is the content of Rob's writing with great suggestions on how to operate our Transition Initiatives, not the form (of pattern language). How do we measure and track our accomplishments? How do we do effective awareness raising, have productive meetings, properly support projects, etc.? And that he's asking for input from people doing the work all over the world is even better.

I'm still quite fond of The 12 Steps of Transition. It's great to have a clear set of guidelines that can then be applied loosely (and non-linearly) locally. I think having those 12 steps helped us in TW to get up and going quickly and gave us a sense of purpose.
Thanks David and Heather- I have asked Rob the same question and will let you know if I get a reply! I understand that duplicating the patterns in nature in human goings on makes sense- but am not sure how this is being duplicated in the language. A circle for example, great for meetings- but a circular language? (except for the every popular circular argument, guaranteed to make one want to go weave baskets at the funny farm).

I agree about Rob's writing, and generally find it extremely helpful. I go to the handbook often.
The pattern is described as a "thing" and so becomes the abstract. Then the thing is applied to multiple scenarioes.

Huh? I must be dense because that makes absolutely no sense to me. And I have studied Kant. :-)
A one sentence description. Paraphrasing Hopkins quote of Alexander: Finding solutions to problems "in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.”

David- I read that too...but fail to see anything about language and communication, and the use of a pattern in such. I think of a pattern as a repetition that can be duplicated. So pattern language would seem to mean communicating in a pattern of some sort of repetition that can be recognized and duplicated.
Hi all- Rob Hopkins responded to my email this morning, and said he will address my question on the Transition Network website in the next few days. I look forward to reading his response and will share it here!
Kate,

Rob has posted a new blog entry answering your question! "Throwing Some Light on the Patterns."
I think Walter's last post is also very helpful in answering the question, and I shared Walter's comments as a reply on Rob's blog.

The important thing to me is that, whatever you want to call it, I am finding the current series of posts to be conveying extremely helpful information for making Transition Initiatives a success!

I'm going to start linking to the Transition Network posting of these patterns, as that is where the comments are being recorded. The latest one is another helpful on...
Forming Working Groups
Jerry McManus has posted in the Comments of Rob's blog the following explanation of Pattern Language, and Rob endorsed these comments as more clear than his own:

"Patterns can best be understood as proven solutions to common problems.

It might help to think of “pattern” as just another word for “we’ve seen this problem before”.

Naturally, it follows that the more people who solve the same problem the more likely it is that they will arrive at roughly the same good solutions.

Not identical solutions by any means, everyone’s situation is different, but solutions that have enough in common that you start to see, well, patterns.

And, what do you know, look at all of those really smart and creative people out there that are doing a really amazing job of solving many of the same transition problems. Every day, all over the world.

Now here’s the beauty part, if you can find a way to capture that knowledge and experience then you might have something REALLY useful to people who are just as likely to hit the same problems that everyone else did.

Useful not because you are presenting it in the form of a recipe to be followed blindly, but presented in the more general form of “when you have a problem like this, then use a solution like this”.

This allows people the freedom to adapt that solution to their particular situation, using whatever resources are available to them."
I encourage people to concentrate on the CONTENT of these posts, and not to worry about the “pattern” aspect.

Latest Entries:
A Discussion About 'Ways of Knowing' in Transition (balancing Inner and Outer work)
Local Food Initiatives
So many new posts by Rob in this series, I haven't been keeping up!

Some of the new posts are as follows. I'll post more later. Links to each of these have been added to the top note above.

Local Food Initiatives
Street By Street Behavior Change
The Great Reskilling
Running Successful Meetings
The Role of Storytelling
Understanding Scale
Energy Descent Action Plans (See also a Review of the Totnes EDAP)
'Transition Towers': Having An Office or Not?
Forming A Core Team
Momentum

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