SSB Lecture, Aug. 31, 2010

Sites, Systems and Buildings, Bill Sherman

Seasons / Sun
Key is tilt of the axis of the earth relative to its rotation
Changes angle of incidence of the sun, alters intensity of sun’s rays
Solar intensity of polar regions is far less than at the equator
Charlottesville’s latitude: 38
In the summertime, sun is going to be 47.5 degrees higher than in wintertime
Summer: 76.5
Winter: 29
Stereographic projection: in plan.
Summer night phenomenon sun never sets

Meadows, Thinking in Systems
Growing understanding of the way the world works that has not infiltrated institutions, the way we make decisions and do things. But it will happen.

Understand the behavior of the world as a complex organism; not predictable.
Can begin to build models that start to predict scenarios. Very small changes in input can cause significant changes in outcome.

When we start looking at the world through the lens of systems behavior we are thinking of the world very differently than with “linear” methods.

Emergence: explains complex patterns and behavior (i.e. how school’s of fish, flocks of bird operate as a unit)
Order traditionally top-down. But no hierarchy, no conductor, no leader. Organization comes from the bottom up, following their own set of rules. Follow the other guy, don’t get too close, don’t get too far.

Only way to really begin to understand how actions lead to consequences that make a difference we must think of nature and structure of system and recognize its inherent complexity.

Weather: self organizing systems take uplift of warm, moist air, redistribute.
Cities: High degree of resilience built in. Start to see cities break down and die when complexity, networks break down
Stock market: Have been watching systems go out of control and crash. Cycle out of scope of control.
Life: Whether emergence gets at questions of how evolution works, how first forms of life evolved

Thinking in Systems, Key Concepts
Function or purpose: If there is no reason for that system, many have to do with self-preservation, it does not qualify as a system

Self-organization: Capacity for self-organization
Resilience: When system is pushed it has capacity to react to that disturbance and maintain itself
Non-linearity: There is not necessarily a one-to-one response, cause and effect in a system

Stock flow: inflow and outflow.
inflow –> stock –> outflow

Thinking about system like a bathtub: drain in, drain out.
One critical piece of equation: often pieces built in the system called feedback loops. Simplest one is your bank account. Have an interest rate that is being returned and coming back. Introduces idea of non-linearity.

Two feedback loops: some are stabilizing, some are not. I.e., keep drinking coffee to stabilize energy level. Eventually will not work, need complement to coffee.

Systems diagrams (try not to think in nouns)
Maintaining personal hygiene –
Sleeping – anxiety, fatigue
Creative process
Doing laundry
Body temperature regulation
Owning a vehicle – economic framework
Student population

[AZIMUTH: the direction of a celestial object from the observer, expressed as the angular distance from the north or south point of the horizon to the point at which a vertical circle passing through the object intersects the horizon. In plan, orientation to North, South, East, West.]

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