Adaptive Management

and the design process, learning from errors.


How do we create a well designed, aesthetically pleasing and functionally effective community on a budget?


"…if we knew enough to link design reliably to result."

Step 1

Make a list of 10 important features of a "good," well designed community based on McHarg's criteria and the Sym Van der Ryn examples.

Features Social Value Ecological Value (service) Physical Value

Step 2

Knowing what is valued must be supported by evidence from more than one source.

Make a list of examples for the values you have identified that have support from several authors.

Evidence Lee, Kai McHarg, Ian Van der Ryn Siry, Joseph
Physical functions        
Ecological services        
Social necessities        



Step 3

Identify the criteria you are using to select examples of featurese that contribute to a "good community" as you moved from your list in step one to the author's arguments in step two.


Describe that criteria you are using to determine the most valued features in a functional and fair community (Kai Lee's aim).

For example:

K. Lee argues that "managing large ecosystems should rely not merely on science, but on civic science; it should be irreducibly public in the way responsibilities are exercised, intrinsically technical, and open to learning from errors and profiting from successes.” And he advises us that "This book is accordingly not social science but social engineering —or would be, if we knew enough to link design reliably to result."

p. xii.



Step 4


Write an essay to xplain what Lee means with examples from Van der Ryn, Siry and McHarg, in light of your own identified values -- based on evidence-- in Step two.

Your paper --draft-- should be six to seven (7-9) pages (typed 12 point Times New Roman) with notes and an abstract to share with other members of the class.

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Last Updated on 11/15/2004.

By Joseph Siry

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