Statment of Purpose; The Pattern Language Project
Public Sphere Project
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A Pattern Language for Living Communication

Statement of Purpose

Today's systems of communication and information are not adequate for many of humanity's needs. We believe that there are new information and communication systems -- built upon new vocabulary, institutions, media forms, policies and ways of thinking -- that can help bring about a world that is more equitable, sustainable and, even, more interesting and fun.

Access to media production and distribution is tightly controlled by corporate owners. Media "consumers" have access to what media "producers" allow them to see: products that are often degrading, trivializing, homogenizing and jingoistic. At the same time, many of the barriers to an equitable and effective communication and information environment are of our own making. People need to become increasingly involved in the development of new media, new policies, new technologies, new institutions, and new ways of thinking to create a communication and information environment that truly meets human needs. We need a collaborative enterprise that goes past the barriers and helps to create a new public language.

The authors of the pattern language project represent a larger community of educators, researchers, artists, activists and many others from over 20 countries who, for the past three years, have been working collaboratively towards that new language. We have embarked on an ambitious journey to identify information and communication patterns that can inspire -- and enable -- people to create new media systems and other modes of communication that will enrich civic intelligence. We believe that this vision when put into use can help create a communication environment in which individual people will lead liberated, safer and richer lives.

Our vision, however, is primarily addressed towards society as a whole: We are trying to identify the patterns of information and communication that will help us marshal collective creative, intellectual, and moral principles to develop information and communication systems that support humankind's deepest values. It is our belief and hope that new systems -- and new ways of thinking -- can help technologists, teachers, activists, decision makers, and others to more effectively address the social and environmental problems that threaten our existence and the existence of nature.

To organize and catalog our complex findings in a meaningful way we are adopting the 'pattern language' framework from architect Christopher Alexander and his colleagues. The patterns that we are developing all relate to the development of information and communication systems that support people, civil society, social progress and community economic development. These systems are often more likely to be human-centered, democratic, equitable and inclusive than systems that have been developed by governments or by the private sector. We will make these findings available to a wide audience in both printed and in electronic forms.

Please note that this is a collaborative project and there are many ways in which you can participate.

Dated: June 23, 2004
Developed by the Pattern Language Community