Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Turnbull on Sustainable Urban Communities

Shann Turnbull (Macquarie University - Asia Pacific Research Institute) has posted A Framework for Designing Sustainable Urban Communities on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

The objectives of the paper are to show how the sustainability of urban settlements can be improved by treating as a variable the design of: (a) property rights to realty, corporations and currencies and: (b) their communication and control governance architecture. System science provides the basis for showing that the governance of complexity is improved by increasing the richness and variety of communication and control channels. The new variables introduced also provide a way to integrate the design of the built environment into the design of its governance architecture. The scope of orthodox economic analysis is extended to include the value of assets and liabilities to provide additional feedback signals. This more holistic economic framework increases the richness of the "semiotic" channel of social communication and control that complements those based on senses, words and prices. The analysis reveals self-reinforcing feed forward and feedback channels between the use and maintenance of the built environment and its governance architecture not available in less holistic design frameworks. This identifies the need for urban planners to extend their discipline to become governance architects and how the knowledge of system scientists can be applied to improve the design of capitalism. The analysis indicates how a design paradigm that does not accept the nature of property rights as a given, but a design variable, can enhance the ability towns or suburbs to become self-financing, self-governing political units. It also shows how capitalism can be made more efficient, equitable, responsive and democratic.

Ben Barros

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