Design, emergence, and human scale

by aepxc

The system operating at a particular scale can be either legible or illegible to humans. A system is legible to a person if that person can create a consistently useful mind map of it (ignoring some details, ‘black-boxing’ others). A system needs to be legible if it is to be optimised, designed, or managed. Systems that are not legible are emergent (and must be preserved as such – optimising an illegible system is impossible since one cannot make consistent predictions about it). As such, human intervention is reserved for those scales at which systems are legible. Frames and flourishes are often legible. Substance and texture are often emergent.