Section 7


---> Weaving together

Polytopia

Inhabit does not occur in a vacuum, in isolation or retreat. It is not an upstart renegade or lone hero story.

We think and speak of a particular project as if it's an isolated thing. In reality its part of a fabric, inseparable from peers. We don't look at a blanket as a "bunch of strings" or a garden as a set of plants. Shift awareness to the whole. Place yourself in the wider web. Design from the whole system view. Express that identity, receive feedback.

Each new center of activity comes into being with a pre-existing web of connections and relationships. This is probably the most important and fruitful/precious garden you will tend. The emphasis on cultivating quality connections and the flows or exchanges that come with these can not be overstated. This is the real magic (and myth-story) of Inhabit as a system-shifting phenomenon. At the highest level, it is a network, a web or mesh of initiatives that connect in varying ways.

Connection is not hard-wired or prescribed, but largely emergent, resulting from proximity and affinity between agents and initiatives. Proximity in more sense than just geographic. In a web-enabled world, two people across the world may be consistently closer than two down the street. Maps are one way to start to visualize and organize the relational landscape around a specific land-based initiative. There are several ways to slice that info. Some to consider: asset mapping, project mapping, story mapping, culture mapping, ecosystem mapping.

Dedicated platforms and protocol for communication and exchange serve several functions in a network like this, but so do ad hoc chanels and fora and the wider public discourse including of course social media. The language of inhabit serves an important role in helping to tie things together across these varied spaces and formats. The ability to design and spread more effective tools and spaces for knowledge sharing and other types of interaction is key. Current digital communications tech provides the opportunity for a range of customized applications such as alternative currencies, secure messaging, and direct democracy.

In order to maintain coherence across a broad landscape of initiatives in different contexts (including language and other cultural or political barriers) smart design and use of common protocol is essential. A network doesn't mean that everything is connected directly to everything else, but that signals can propagate from one side to the other with a minimum of disruption, distortion, or delay. These kinds of functions at this kind of scale is relatively new and untested, and we have a unique set of objectives in mind for it. Let's create an environment of experimentation and innovation, learning as we go and developing solutions to meet the challenge. A lot of folks are already working on related problems in different contexts. Distributed info tech is exciting space to watch and play.

jump to >>> [Network Culture](section_4.html#network-culture

As much as portable, globe-spanning info tech offers to us individually and collectively, in big and little ways, it's certainly not the be all end all of relationship building and ongoing collaboration in the realm of regenerative culture craft here. Everyone has different styles and preferences for interaction and daily operation; different skill sets and capabilities - including access to or ethical stance on the various hardware involved. The essence of community and personal relationship continues to center in direct physical contact and communion, and that's not to be forgotten or belittled.

Recall all the different layers and flavors of relationship we're addressing here. This section highlights the higher or outer layers of tribe, ecosystem, and network. These have been the least effectively developed and maintained in efforts thus far to organize global transition.

What are some of the direct advantages to network organizing and engagement? Consider a few:

  • Reach - placing yourself in a position to connect with large numbers of peers and public for e.g. crowdfunding or
  • Visibility - adding your presence and story to the field of awareness and momentum of change
  • Opportunity - enhanced economic positioning
  • Entertainment - yep, it can be pretty fun and gratifying to share your thoughts/exp and get a taste of others
  • Resilience - increasing your ability to avert or respond to disruption and hardship; boosting your 'immune' system

There are lots of ingredients to a functional network, and lots of ways to set it up and use it. We're not going for a singular solution here, but rather the principle of accommodation and interoperability. Help to make people feel comfortable engaging in the ways that they like and are able, and help to make the different spaces and tools and data sets maximally compatible.

The open source and more recent open data movements have striven for and demonstrated these aims admirably. Lots to emulate. In particular, the adoption of a functional vocabulary (in the technical sense of linked open data) could prove quite valuable: a reference typology of the various moving pieces and processes involved across the landscape of inhabit.

Here's a first pass at some possible elements, roles, and attributes of the whole:

https://metamaps.cc/maps/2402

With intelligent communication infrastructure, inhabiting becomes a scaffold for systemic action research - a vast distributed laboratory for regenerative lifestyle design science. It's also a giant classroom or learning environment, where everyone is in some way engaged with learning, doing, and sharing aspects of a beautiful and complex picture of ecosocial change. And maybe best of all, it has the potential to become a massively multichannel 24/7 feed stream of the best reality TV money can't buy!

Can we have our network, and Meetup too? A couple of significant trends to ride combine the quality of in-person encounter with the potential for wider networking and exchange: one is large gatherings, events, celebration, and so-called festival culture; another is the rise of nomadic travel and work experiences, digital nomadism, and volunteer exchanges like WWOOF.

Clearly there's a tie in between the virtual and physical contact, they can be complementary. Let's keep the big picture view, and get to work on some regenerative transportation networks to enhance the physical flow without taxing the environment!

jump back to >>> Emerging Trends

Think a little outside the box here...this is all exciting new territory ripe with possibility for evocative shared experiences at unprecedented scope and scale. Networks are powerful, and hard to control. Let's design, build, and use them wisely.

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