Organizing a Design Revolution
"Design Science is the effective application of the principles of science to the conscious design of our total environment in order to make the Earth's finite resources meet the needs of all humanity without disrupting the ecological processes of the planet."
R. Buckminster Fuller
"In a changing world, everyone designs: each individual person and each collective subject, from enterprises to institutions, from communities to cities and regions, must define and enhance a life project."
The goal of design science is to produce so much life support per unit of resources invested as to be able to take care of all human needs in harmony with the natural world.
Until recently the impacts of design science went unnoticed. Today, innovations like permaculture, photovoltaics, offshore wind farms, farmers' markets, ecological design, community-supported agriculture, local currencies, open source manufacturing to name but a few are having widespread and significant impacts on communities, local economies and the natural systems that sustain us.
Organizing is key to developing a civic trimtab strategy designed to change the course of large, powerful socioeconomic systems guided by political and corporate agendas and fueled by their considerable resources.
Civic synergies: Trimtabs in practice
This section will examine examples of initiatives employing the trimtab principle. Some will draw on past experiences while others are current. We will extract lessons and principles from history and use them to monitor, assess and understand efforts in progress.
Trimtabs are systemic game-changers. They take on a variety of forms including artifacts, technologies, policies, programs, even works of art. Trimtabs leverage positive impacts that affect large numbers of people with a proportionately small amount of energy/resource expenditure. They are transparent, strategic, transformative, efficient, replicable and synergetic.
They often emerge in times of crises but can also be the result of anticipatory design.
The following gallery highlights eight examples of civic trimtabs that I have been involved with: New Alchemy Institute; Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI); Massachusetts Farmers' Markets; Berkshares, Inc.; Cuba-U.S. Agroecology Network (CUSAN); CleBar Uggún Tractor Company; U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative (USOWC) and Boston Urban Gardeners.
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